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Every year for over a decade, I have been part of the Delaware LIFE Conference. Unlike pre-pandemic, the
this year was entirely virtual. The LIFE abbreviation refers to legislation, independence, family and education. It was held over 3 days in September instead of 1 in January. The length of this conference is why I did not publish a blog post last week. This year’s LIFE Conference dates were September 15, 21 and 22. Session recordings are not available to the public or attendees who did not request them as a disability accommodation. This fact was reiterated at every session which I attended. However,
LIFE Conference presentation materials
are available online for anyone to access. I plan to write one, and possibly two, additional blog posts about the 2021 Delaware LIFE Conference. I have included presentation material links with my summaries so that readers can learn more about the topics of most interest to them. In this blog post, I will summarize some of what I learned on day 1 of the conference.
Presentation: Keynote Address
This year’s Delaware LIFE Conference began with a keynote address.
presentation: “Disability Policy: How Your Advocacy Can Make a Difference”.
The keynote was a conversation between a government relations firm representative in Washington D.C. and a representative of the Georgia Developmental Disabilities Council. Home and community-based services help people live in their home and participate in the community. The goal is inclusion, self-sufficiency and independence. Systems change is ongoing. It is important to engage people with disabilities at the beginning of policy discussions and throughout policy change process. Self-direction is important. The presenter from Georgia stated he succeeded academically and now lives in his own apartment. When personal stories are shared during advocacy, those stories should have a purpose. A presentation later that day focused on healthcare rights.
Presentation: Healthcare Civil Rights
The healthcare presentation occurred in the afternoon of same day.
presentation: “Healthcare and Civil Rights”.
One of the presenters said that discrimination against people with disabilities should not be permitted by any health facility or program receiving federal funding. The Office of Civil Rights under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance stating long COVID can be considered a disability. People with disabilities tend to be discriminated against in becoming eligible for organ transplants. Delaware is one of the first states with legislation prohibiting organ transplant discrimination. An advocate from Georgia stated that home and community-based services are very important. They have enabled him to thrive and be independent. I will now focus on a presentation about waivers affecting some Medicaid recipients with disabilities.
Presentation: Waivers for Medicaid Recipients
I cannot benefit directly from information which I learned during this presentation because I do not have a qualifying disability. However, I attended this session to educate myself about the topic.
presentation: “Lifespan Waiver vs LTSS”.
An eligible individual with disability can be enrolled in either long-term supports or Lifespan Waiver, but not both at the same time. A Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver means that Medicaid rules are waived so that HCBS can be provided. This enables Medicaid matching to double monetary amounts. Anyone eligible for Delaware Developmental Disability Services receives individualized lifespan support. To qualify for a Lifespan waiver, the person must be eligible for DDDS, meet financial requirements and need lifespan services. People who qualify for Medicaid as a worker with disabilities can earn between 250% and 275% of the federal poverty level. The resource limit for Medicaid eligibility is $2000. Long-term care support services are through Delaware Medicaid and Medicare Services. An applicant must be enrolled in a managed care organization. Bottom line: I learned a lot on Day 1, and the conference was only getting started.
Question for readers
Of the presentations discussed above, which caught your interest and why? I will return next week with another article about the 2021 Delaware Life Conference.