If any interested persons missed the opportunity this morning for notice and comment on the proposed changes to First Steps' provision of services, please note that an additional notice and comment session will be held on Monday, February 15, 2010 at 3:00 p.m., at the Indiana Government Center South (IGCS) Auditorium, 402 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes per person, and a written copy of comments is requested.
Since the publication of my earlier article, I have been made aware that First Steps has changed their billing procedures over the last year. Since the billing changes, First Steps recipients have not received bills on a regular basis. Frequently, they receive a bill summing up charges that have been due for several months and sometimes the information that is found on these bills is not even correct. As a result of uneven and incorrect billing, it is very easy for a recipient to be more than 60 past due on copays without knowing it.
This additional information increases my belief that there must be a better way for the State of Indiana to recoup their losses than to cut off services to disabled children. Surely a lien on tax refunds, an automatic paycheck deduction or some other method would be more appropriate.
The ARC of Indiana has released a statement strongly opposing the proposed revisions, noting that "First Steps services are services that have been determined necessary by an employee of the state for the child for the child to make progress in his or her development. If infants and toddlers do not receive these critical services in their early, developmental stages of life, they will likely fall further behind their peers in their development." ARC of Indiana Statement.
Please note that if you are unable to make the meeting, written comments will be accepted now through February 22, 2010 (postmark or email date), and should include your name, title, address, specific concerns, and recommended actions.
Send comments to:
First Steps Early Intervention System, Bureau of Child Development Services
402 W. Washington St., Room W-364, MS-51
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Attn: FS Cost Participation
OR email to: firstname.lastname@example.org