Tennessee people with disabilities helped with COVID relief funds

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – TennCare and the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities on Tuesday announced a plan to invest up to $ 400 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The funds – made available through the American Rescue Plan – will provide home and community services to seniors and people with disabilities in Tennessee, enabling them to live safely in their homes, support family caregivers and live their life as independently as possible. within their communities.

“With this historic investment, Tennesseans with disabilities will have greater opportunities to live independently, participate in the workforce and reach their full potential,” said Governor Bill Lee. “I hope this enhanced support will highlight the important services caregivers provide and are changing the lives of Tennessee residents across our state.”

TennCare’s federally approved plan – developed in partnership with the Ministry of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – is based on input from many stakeholders and focuses on two main goals. The first aims to increase access to home and community services for those in need, while the second will aim to strengthen the front-line workforce that provides services to people enrolled in home and community programs. community.

“This injection of funding represents the largest investment in home and community services in the history of the state,” said Stephen Smith, director of TennCare. “This is an opportunity made possible by the TennCare III demonstration approved in January of this year, since the availability of shared savings and additional federal funding through the waiver will help ensure continued state support for these investments.” important after federal funding expires. “

This plan achieves two priorities established by Governor Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means the plan provides services to 2,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, eliminating the waiting list for the TennCare Employment and Community First CHOICES program by more than half. It also translates into investments in recruitment training and retention of frontline support staff to better serve Tennessians with disabilities.

“Serving more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their goals of employment, community engagement and independence has been a top priority for DIDD and TennCare since day one,” said Brad Turner, Commissioner of DIDD.. “This is an investment that will change lives, bring relief to family caregivers and direct support staff, and strengthen our vision of helping people live the lives they envision for themselves.”

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