Home New mexico state New Mexico seeks to end waitlist for disability services

New Mexico seeks to end waitlist for disability services

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SANTA FE, NM (AP) – Officials in state health and human services departments await federal approval to tap into a flow of temporary funding to help end a 13-year wait facing families in New Mexico seeking developmental services.

Officials this week told a panel of lawmakers about their plans to take about 4,100 people off the waiting list and integrate them into services over the next two years.

Government funding of around $ 75 million per year would ultimately be required, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Dr David Scrase, who also heads the health and social services departments, called it a rare opportunity for alignment between federal funding and a critical state goal.


“We have made progress over the past two years to provide more than 700 people with the services they need,” Scrase said in a statement. “These dollars will allow us to provide services to thousands more.”

Long waits have plagued the state’s developmental disabilities exemption program for years. In the Albuquerque area, those taken off the wait list have generally been monitoring the availability of funds since 2008.

Participants can receive therapy, employment assistance and other services aimed at enabling them to be active members of the community. This is called a waiver program because the federal government has waived the requirement to use a nursing home or other institutional setting to provide the services.

Under the plan outlined at a meeting of the Legislative Committee on Health and Social Services, the state would initially rely on federal funding to pay for the services of each person on the waiting list. . Then state funding would be used from about four years to maintain the program.

“We believe we have a plan to move our state forward and tackle this problem,” said Jason Cornwell, director of the Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Supports division.

New Mexico is seeking approval from the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use available funds for home and community services.

Robert Kegel, whose son receives waiver services, testified that lawmakers should take immediate action on a variety of fronts to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

“We have denied people the care to which they are absolutely entitled,” he said.

Senate Majority Whip Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, said New Mexico’s strong financial situation made it an appropriate time to end the wait list.

Strong revenue growth is forecast for the coming year, and federal coronavirus relief funds have flooded the state.

“We have to come up with a plan – a plan that really works,” Lopez said.


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