Consumer Directed Respite (CDR) Reimbursement Vouchering Model
The number of individuals facing financial challenges yet needing respite services in the Capital region is so great that Catholic Charities Caregiver Support Services, in cooperation with the NYS Office for the Aging, has led an initiative to “stretch” the funds available through the issuance of respite vouchers. The Consumer Directed Respite (CDR) Reimbursement Vouchering Model provides flexibility and saves costs for caregivers by allowing them to choose a respite provider that is already known by the caregiving family. It is designed to augment traditional respite services and not replace it. Eligible caregivers are those who may be family members or friends caring for someone 60 years of age or older with a cognitive impairment or who needs assistance with two or more “activities of daily living”. The caregiver assumes full responsibility for selecting, training, supervising and discharging the respite care provider. Along with support groups, counseling, mentorships, information and referral, assistance is provided by CCSSS to caregivers for respite expenses through financial stipends. The caregiver pays the respite care provider directly and the CDR Reimbursement Vouchering Model defrays the fiscal burden to the caregiver up to the designated amount. This has enabled caregivers and family members not eligible for Medicaid to overcome barriers of access, geographic location, and cost while increasing the availability of persons able to provide respite care.
The New York State Office for the Aging recently received a Community Living Program grant to enhance the functions of NY Connects: Choice for Long Term Care. This grant allows NYSOFA to build upon the Consumer Directed service model created through the Nursing Home Diversion and Modernization Program. These efforts are designed to reach individuals at high risk of nursing home placement as well as spending down all their income and assets to the Medicaid level. The goal of the program is to help those individuals maintain their independence and remain in the community.
The New York State Caregiver Survey similarly reflected a need for strategies to relieve the financial as well as emotional stresses associated with caregiving. Conducted in 2008, the survey indicated that caregivers bear “…immense burdens resulting from the intensive care needed by many care receivers.” Caregivers consistently report emotional strain, lack of time for oneself, and physical stress with serious health consequences that is now considered a public health concern. Investments in respite services not only help caregivers and their loved ones, but also ease the burden on our health and long term care systems.
In addition, Section 307 of the State Plan for the Older Americans Act addresses the special needs of older individuals residing in rural areas. There are those among this group who have difficulty accessing traditional forms of respite care.
Funds from respite vouchers must only be used for the reimbursement of respite services. In addition, caregivers (the “consumer”) are not allowed to use their CDR voucher for the following:
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