Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson last month announced a plan to address the services waiting list for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over 3,200 people are currently waiting to receive services that would enable them to live independently in their own communities. Some have been waiting for decades.
Under the Governor’s plan, existing state revenue would be made available to fund 200 more slots on the waiting list, adding to the 1,200 slots previously added by the Hutchinson administration. The second part of the plan is to seek $36.7 million from the Arkansas Legislature to fund slots that would address the waiting list by June 2025.
This is potentially encouraging news for all of the individuals and families who have been waiting a long time for services, but questions still remain. Is the Governor’s plan sustainable? Are the services there as people start to come off the waiting list? Are there enough direct support professionals to meet the need? And what about those individuals not currently on the list who will need services going forward?
On this episode, we discuss the Medicaid waiver waiting list: What it is, how we got here, where we’re going, and how we can best address the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a way that will allow them the opportunity to live independently in their communities.
Guests include Christian Adcock, DRA Voting Rights and Public Policy Specialist; Jane Browning, DRA board member and parent of an adult child on the waiting list; and Syard Evans, CEO of the Arkansas Support Network and President of the Arkansas Waiver Association.
Speak Up Arkansas airs every third Wednesday of the month at 5:00 p.m. on KABF 88.3 FM and via livestream at kabf.org. Missed it live? No problem! You can listen to the audio on our website at disabilityrightsar.org/speak-up-arkansas and view the video on our YouTube channel.
To find out who represents you in the Arkansas Senate and the Arkansas House of Representatives, visit the website for the Arkansas General Assembly at http://arkleg.state.ar.us. There you’ll find links to find your representative/senator using your home address (so they’ll know which legislative district you live in).
Arkansas Support Network provides support and services to individuals with disabilities and their families. We are a licensed disabilities service provider for all of Arkansas, with offices in Springdale, Fort Smith, Camden, and Jonesboro. We work with a wide range of government agencies and departments, nonprofit organizations, health care facilities, education agencies, local schools, foundations, businesses, and individuals to provide the most effective and least restrictive supports for people with disabilities in environments they and their families choose for themselves. ASN’s web address is http://www.supports.org