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Missouri disability services plan stalled on basis of funding

Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Nixon proposed an initiative that would help approximately 970 or more Missouri residents with developmental disabilities. The individuals in this group of residents all qualify for Medicaid and are on a 1,400-person waitlist for in-home services.

These in-home services not only provide individuals with the care they need, but they help them avoid institutionalization by providing their caretakers with the resources necessary to continue in their role.

A percentage of the caretakers for individuals with a developmental disability are family members that would do anything to help, but they can still become overwhelmed or stressed. The costs associated with providing the necessary level of care can put some individuals in financial strain, even forcing family members to quit their jobs in order to provide the time necessary to care for their loved one.

Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee’s Summit, agreed with Gov. Nixon’s plan. “Individuals with disabilities should receive the first portions of government funding, the highest priority,” he said.

Not everyone agrees, and it appears that those on the waiting list will be forced to wait just a bit longer.

As with any other government initiative, approval for the plan itself isn’t the only part of the process. Money needs to be set aside for these publicly funded services, and that requires a vote too. The Missouri House health and social services funding panel refused to include the $24 million request in its recent budget recommendations.

The issue isn’t dead, said the panel’s chairman, Rep. Sue Allen. Discussions will continue, but they’ll include a decision over whether or not to add the request in the budget for the next fiscal year.

Source: The Washington Times, “Mo. targets developmentally disabled wait list,” Chris Blank, Feb. 8, 2014KZIM-KSIM, “Mo House panel ignores disability wait list plan,” Feb. 25, 2014

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