Long-Term Services and Supports Programs


Valerie’s Story

Valerie was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 23. Within a year she lost the ability to walk, and shortly after that Valerie entered a nursing home. A nursing home can be a difficult place for a young person. While Valerie got excellent care and made friends with the nurses and social workers there, she felt limited by where she lived and didn’t get to see her friends and family much. Valerie couldn’t eat what she wanted unless she ordered food from the outside and she had to wake up early every morning for her medications.

Transition Services

Valerie decided to see how she could move from the nursing home back to the community. A social worker at the nursing home told her to look into Transition Services, which could help her find a home and get the long-term services and supports she would need to stay in the community. Transition Services could also help her sign up for a waiver program so she could get Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).

Valerie’s social worker told her that she would likely be able to get Transition Services. Valerie was already enrolled in Health First Colorado (Medicaid), which was the first step. She was also over 18 years old and residing in a nursing home, which counted as a “qualified institution.”

Valerie asked if she qualified for one of the waiver programs. The social worker recommended that she apply for the Elderly, Blind, & Disabled Waiver (EBD) because it best fit her situation and type of disability. The social worker connected Valerie with her closest Single Entry Point Agency, where she was able to apply for the EBD Waiver. Staff at the Single Entry Point asked Valerie a series of questions and started signing her up for the waiver program. Soon, they were also helping her look for housing.

Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

Valerie found a nice home with the help of the Single Entry Point Agency staff. The EBD Waiver includes Home Accessibility Modifications, so she installed a ramp and door opener to her new place. She is now happy in her new home and is working with a social worker to make the best use of her waiver and the services it gives her.

She is also excited about the Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) that will help her keep living in the community. She gets medical benefits through Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and qualifies for more than a dozen services through the EBD Waiver. Those services include personal care attendants, non-medical transportation, peer mentorship, and life skills training. Valerie has a Case Manager who helps make sure she has the services and supports she needs to remain independent and healthy. The life skills training is especially useful, since this is her first time living on her own while using a wheelchair and daily personal assistance.

Valerie has a team of personal care attendants to help her with daily activities, like dressing, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. Valerie also has a doctor and nurse who visit her on a regular basis. Valerie gets help with transportation to and from her rheumatologist, who is the only doctor she must travel to see. She is also able to use non-medical transportation for shopping and her weekly support group. More importantly, Valerie sees her friends and family more often, and that makes her happier.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

Now that she is settled in her own home, Valerie is thinking about getting a job. Work would give her more income, a renewed sense of purpose, and the ability to meet new people and make new friends. Valerie plans to visit her local Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) office, which provides services such as vocational counseling, training, and help finding and applying for jobs. Valerie also feels comfortable knowing that the non-medical transportation can help her get to and from work. Valerie was worried that earning money could make her lose Health First Colorado (Medicaid), until her social worker told her that she could earn more money using the Health First Colorado Buy-In Program For Working Adults With Disabilities (Medicaid Adult Buy-In) and keep both her EBD Waiver and Health First Colorado (Medicaid) coverage.

Valerie’s life has changed a lot since she decided to move out of the nursing home. Instead of limitations, Valerie sees her life as full of possibilities and potential.

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