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State of Indiana Launches Expedited Eligibility for Structured Family Caregiving Amid COVID Crisis

The COVID-19 public health crisis has driven care back to the home. As such, Indiana state officials have recognized the need to expand access to services and supports for individuals caring for a family member or friend at home.

To meet the needs of increasing numbers of individuals taking on new caregiving responsibilities, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Aging (FSSA-DOA) has launched the Expedited Eligibility Pilot for Medicaid Waiver-based services and supports, which increases access and accelerates the approval process for programs like Structured Family Caregiving (SFC). Administered by Caregiver Homes of Indiana, SFC is a coaching and support program for individuals that are currently caring for a family member or friend at home that also includes a financial stipend.

The pilot quickens the enrollment waiting period to approximately 10 days, down from an average of 30-60 days. The expedited time frame means an expansion of the availability for these services when the demand for them is greatest. 

"The COVID-19 crisis has been, and continues to be, a challenge for Indiana families," says Sarah Renner, Director, Division of Aging at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). "The FSSA provides access to many programs and long-term services and supports – and we wanted to ensure that Indiana families were aware of these offerings, especially knowing that circumstances for many families where an older adult requires care have changed. Equally important, we needed programs like Structured Family Caregiving available to more residents, and to do so, quickly."

SFC supports family caregivers with coaching from trained nurses and care managers, a daily stipend to help cover the costs of care, and a secure messaging app, Vela, to communicate instantly with the care team when help is needed. With these sources of practical, emotional, and financial support at their disposal, caregivers enrolled in Caregiver Homes SFC program report feeling more confident in their ability to care for their loved ones at home. Program data has shown that accidents and hospital visits are significantly reduced as a result of this program.

"The SFC program supports a range of differing circumstances," says Lisa Bennett, Regional Director of Community Partnerships at Caregiver Homes of Indiana. "A husband caring for his wife with dementia, for example, or a parent caring for an adult child with a traumatic brain injury, or even a friend caring for another friend battling ALS. The thread that unites them all is that they want to remain at home, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic."

AARP of Indiana joined the effort by hosting an informational "town hall" teleconference on Dec. 16. Tower and Bennett, as well as a local family enrolled in the SFC program, participated on the call, and listeners were able to dial in and ask questions. Recorded audio from the live event can be accessed via AARP Indiana's Facebook page.

About the Indiana Division of Aging

The Division of Aging is committed to helping Hoosiers find the information and resources they need. Our goal is to put knowledge in Hoosiers' hands so they can make better decisions, not only for themselves but also for their loved ones. We strive to foster networks that provide information, access and long-term care options that enhance choice, autonomy and quality of life for Hoosiers.

About Caregiver Homes from Seniorlink

Caregiver Homes from Seniorlink is a tech-enabled health services company focused on keeping care in the home, where family caregivers play a pivotal role. Our solutions combine collaboration technology through our proprietary app, Vela; evidence-based clinical protocols; and the human touch of dedicated care teams working in partnership with family caregivers. Seniorlink's solutions lead to improved outcomes, cost savings, and improved consumer engagement and satisfaction for health plans and providers. For more information, please visit https://info.seniorlink.com/indianacares4you

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