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Dealing with a Crisis Situation

December 28, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

When a family who has a loved one with a developmental disability is in a crisis, the last person they think to turn to for help is their Medicaid Service Coordinator. Sure, the MSC can help individuals with developmental disabilities obtain and maintain supports and services, and monitor the individual’s overall well-being, but how are they able to help a family in a time of crisis?


Many individuals and their advocates who receive Medicaid Service Coordination are surprised to find out just how valuable of a resource their MSC can be during unexpected, and often daunting, difficult situations. The role of the MSC goes far beyond helping with services and supports. QSAC’s MSC department takes great pride in ensuring that the family, as a whole, has their needs met. We believe that if there is a crisis situation involving a family member, such as facing eviction or illness, this will have a significant impact on the individual that we support in MSC. Therefore, when we find out that a family is in the midst of a crisis, we work closely with that family in order to problem solve, and move forward with more effective options for the future.


There are a number of crisis situations that an MSC is able to assist a family in dealing with. When a family is facing eviction, or is having trouble paying their rent, we are able to utilize resources that assist the family in finding appropriate housing options, using government assistance programs such as a “One Shot Deal”, and finding agencies that may be able to assist financially. We work closely with the family to ensure that there will not be further issues going forward. Although we are able to help with temporary fixes to the problem, we also are able to help in finding a permanent solution for the long-term. This includes working on increasing benefits, such as SSI or Food Stamps, to make sure that the family avoids a similar situation in the future, and can live comfortably. We are also able to help find clothes, or even food, when families may be struggling to afford these necessities.


Sometimes, a family member becomes ill, or even passes away. In the event of an emergency such as this, where the family member may need extra support in caring for their loved one, the MSC is able to work on finding people to help care for the individual with the developmental disability, or even places to go (should the family need to go away to see an ill family member for an extended amount of time, for example). We are also able to help obtain emergency funding for these sudden illness and death situations.


The aforementioned crisis situations may have a great impact on the individual with the developmental disability. They may demonstrate new maladaptive behaviors, and have difficulty coping with the emotions that come from these stressful situations. In MSC, we are able to help obtain additional behavioral supports, that will help the individual manage their behavioral needs more effectively. In addition, we are also able to help obtain counseling, such as grief, sexuality, or even family counseling.


In times of crisis, it is important to keep in mind that your Medicaid Service Coordinator is there to help guide you through difficult circumstances. We are able to utilize a number of resources and supports to assist individuals with developmental disabilities and their families when they are in need. If you or your loved one has an MSC, please keep in mind that we are always here to help, and we will always work with you to ensure your needs are met.





Sara Giangiobbe, MAT serves as a Medicaid Service Coordination Supervisor in QSAC’s MSC Department. She has been serving in a multitude of roles with QSAC since 2004. In addition to her professional role in the field of autism and developmental disabilities, she has a younger brother who is diagnosed with autism. She is a proud sibling and professional, and is also a regular contributor to onQ, QSAC’s blog.


QSAC is a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services.

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.