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Laws Create Barriers For Families On Medicaid Waitlist

Federal laws that keep medical records private cause a barrier to advocacy organization that want to reach out to families on the Medicaid waitlist.

Medicaid Rally on Capitol Hill

Photo: David Sachs-SEIU International (Flickr)

Advocacy groups are calling on Indiana legislatures to allow them access to Medicaid waiver waitlists, so they can reach out to families in need of medical support.

Developmental disability advocates want more flexibility to reach out to Hoosiers on the waitlist for Medicaid waivers, which allow people to receive money for long-term care without being admitted into nursing facilities.

There are more than 20,000 Indiana families currently on the waitlist for Medicaid waivers. Family and Social Services Administration spokesperson Neal Moore says the state is limited in what it can do to help these families.

“There are parameters within which we have to operate, by statute, by policy, by any number of factors, that don’t necessarily provide as much room in them as one might wish they did,” he says.

One example is HIPPA, the medical information privacy law. John Dickerson, the Executive Director of the advocacy and support organization Arc of Indiana, says his group cannot reach out to people on the waiting list because HIPPA prevents them from accessing that information.

“So one of the things we’re going to look for is, how can we have a check off box when they sign up on the waiting list, ‘I’d like information about what’s going on in my community,’” Dickerson says.

Dickerson says a box requesting additional information will enable the Arc to connect people on the waitlist to support systems that do not rely on Medicaid dollars, allowing the state to use its resources where it is most necessary.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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