GA Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) Explained

Learn about the Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) that enables Medicaid members with physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries to receive essential services for independent living in their homes or communities instead of nursing homes or hospitals.
Published on
August 25, 2023
Written by
Katie Wilkinson
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
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The GA Independent Care Waiver Program is available in:

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The Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) offers indispensable services to a limited number of adult Medicaid members in Georgia with physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. Functioning under a Home- and Community-Based Waiver granted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ICWP empowers individuals to live independently in their homes or communities, bypassing institutional care settings.

Overview of The Independent Care Waiver Program

The Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) is a vital component of the healthcare system, designed to provide essential services and support for adult Medicaid members with physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

The program's primary objective is to enable eligible individuals to remain independent and remain in their homes or communities rather than confined to nursing homes or hospitals. By doing so, ICWP promotes a person-centered approach to care, empowering participants to lead fulfilling lives while receiving necessary services and support tailored to their unique needs.

ICWP seeks to alleviate the financial and emotional burden on families by offering services that assist with daily living activities, access to medical care, and other crucial supports. Additionally, it aims to enhance the quality of life for those with physical disabilities and TBIs, fostering their inclusion and integration within their local communities.

Eligibility Requirements for The Independent Care Waiver Program

The Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) supports eligible Medicaid members aged 21 to 64 with severe physical disabilities or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) who meet specific criteria. To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate the following:

  1. Capability to Manage Services: Individuals with severe TBI do not need to meet this criterion. However, for other physical disabilities, applicants should be capable of managing their services.
  2. Severe Physical Impairment and/or TBI: The applicant must have a physical impairment that neccessitates assistance with activities from another individual.
  3. Absence of Primary Mental Disorder: The individual should not have a primary diagnosis of a mental disorder, such as mental retardation or mental illness.
  4. Medically Stable but at Risk: The applicant should be medically stable but at risk of being placed in a hospital or nursing facility if community-based support services are unavailable.
  5. Safe Placement in Home or Community Setting: The individual must be deemed safe to reside in a home or community environment.

ICWP also offers an alternative to individuals considering a nursing home or institutional care, providing home and community-based services that align with Georgia's Medicaid waiver program. To qualify for the waiver program, individuals must meet Medicaid payment criteria in an institution and satisfy the other specified criteria outlined above. Eligible applicants are given the choice between community-based services and institutional care, provided that the cost of community services does not exceed that of institutional care.

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Services and Supports

The Independent Care Waiver Program provides a comprehensive range of services that foster independence and enable participants to live in their homes or communities rather than in institutional care settings.

The services and supports offered under ICWP include:

  1. Case Management: Participants are provided with dedicated case managers who work closely with them and their families to develop a personalized care plan.
  2. Personal Support: Assistance is offered for daily living activities that may be challenging due to physical disabilities or TBI.
  3. Adult Day Health: Participants can access supervised health services, therapeutic activities, and social interactions in a daycare setting.
  4. Home-Care Services: In-home assistance supports individuals with their daily living tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation.
  5. Emergency Response: Systems are in place to ensure timely assistance in emergencies.
  6. Respite Care: Temporary relief is offered to family caregivers, giving them a break from their caregiving responsibilities.
  7. Specialized Medical Equipment and Supplies: Necessary medical equipment and supplies are provided to address specific healthcare needs.
  8. Counseling and Home Modification: Counseling services offer emotional support and guidance. Additionally, home modifications may be made to accommodate the care recipient's disability or injury.

For those who qualify, the program also offers Alternative Living Services (ALS) in a residential setting.

Participants, their families, case managers, and providers collaborate to establish a comprehensive care plan. This plan assesses the individual's current situation, strengths, needs, goals, required services, available providers, and projected budget. The plan's approval is contingent on funds from the DCH Division of Medical Assistance Plans, ensuring the necessary support is provided to enhance the participants' quality of life and independence.

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Earn up to $20/hr for the care you give.
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Compensation for Family Caregivers

One of the services offered by this program is personal support services, which include assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, etc. The ICWP allows participants to self-direct their personal support services and hire their care providers, including relatives or friends. However, restrictions exist on who can be employed as a care provider. For example, spouses, parents of minor children, legal guardians, and persons with power of attorney cannot be hired as care providers.

A Note from Givers

Family members deserve recognition for their invaluable support in caregiving. The Independent Care Waiver Program (ICWP) empowers adults with physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries to live independently, and caregivers play a crucial role in this process. If you are a caregiver, take the next step by filling out this form to determine if you are eligible for compensation.

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