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Regressing Instead of Progressing: Medicaid Waiver Cuts

The Governor of Virginia has made his budget proposal and it’s not looking good for those receiving home and community-based waiver funding. Instead of the state moving forwards with de-institionalization, it’s going backwards. The cause of the cuts is not surprisingly the weakened economy.

The home and community-based waiver is the lifeline to services that many of the people supported by community service boards receive. Without the waiver, programs like day support, employment services, residential services, and mental health services are difficult to pay for and receive services. Many people are still waiting for approval for Medicaid waiver. Some people have been waiting for years.

The Governor of Virginia, Governor McDonnell, has purposed more than $270 million in reductions to home and community-based waiver services. Originally there was a freeze on 1,000 new Intellectually Disabled Waivers and 134 new Developmentally Disabled Waivers. The plan was to release the Waivers after January 1st. However, the new purposed budget eliminates the new waivers. In addition, there is a purposed freeze on Waiver enrollments for existing ID, DD, EDCD, DS, and Alzheimer’s Waivers. Waiver reimbursement rates could be decreased by 5%. Reduction of 2/3 of the respite services for all home and community-based service waivers is also a possibility. Medicaid podiatry and optometry services for adults are slated for elimination. A reduction in incontinence supplies as well as occupational, physical, and speech therapies for adults have also been suggested by the new budget proposal.

New funding has been purposed in the amount of $107 million by Governor McDonnell for segregated, state institutions. A state institution in Chesapeake that had been slated for closure may receive $23 million in renovation funds to stay open. A 100 year old state institution in Lynchburg could receive $24 million to renovate and update the facility. In addition, $60 million would used for new operating funds for state institutions.

So what’s wrong with this picture? The state would be moving backwards and all that has been worked for would be lost. Lives that have improved would be shattered. Dreams that are being lived will be broken. Unemployment rates would rise with the closing of jobs because of services no longer needed.

It’s not too late to make a difference and stop this from happening. Write your personal story and send it with a picture to your Delegate, Senator, or to the Governor himself. Share your story of success with the local news or newspaper. Spread the news to friends and family and encourage them to write to their elected officials. Contact your local community services board for more information or for ways that you can help fight the purposed budget changes.

For questions or help relating to the purposed budget cuts, contact the Arc of Virginia at 1-804-649-8481 ext. 101 or visit their website at http://www.arcofva.org/.

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