People First Petition

PEOPLE FIRST: A PETITION TO THE 25th LEGISLATURE OF HAWAII AND THE HONORABLE GOVERNOR LINDA LINGLE TO ENSURE FUNDING FOR THE DD/MR MEDICAID WAIVER PROGRAM FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES AND MENTAL RETARDATION FOR FISCAL YEARS 2009-2011. Background: The Departments of Human Services and Health collaborate to administer and implement this program which maximizes Federal Medicaid reimbursement. The Developmental Disabilities/Mental Retardation (DD/MR) Program provides individuals with developmental disabilities/mental retardation supports and services that will enable them to live as independently as possible in the least restrictive environment. Services include: Adult Day Health Personal Assistance / Habilitation Respite CHORE Habilitation - Supported Employment Skilled Nursing Training and Consultation Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) Non-Medical Transportation Specialized Medical Equipment and Supplies Environmental Accessibility Adaptations (EAA) Residential Habilitation Emergency Shelter, Respite, & Outreach Vehicular Modifications Effective February 1, 2009, the Department of Health implemented a budget reduction plan to reduce at minimum 15% of the services that each individual is receiving. Although only five of the services mentioned above were targeted for cuts, the actual budget reduction for most individuals receiving these services ranged from 15% to nearly 70%. This reduction has raised many health and safety concerns for the most intellectually and physically vulnerable populations in our State. Basic health and safety protections are being compromised with little to no assistance being provided from the State to ensure people are safe despite the service reductions. Furthermore, the private agencies providing these services are faced with additional financial hardships in this already economically challenging time. We are thankful for the support of Senate Bill 1679 which allows an allocation of the State's emergency funds to some services for the DD/MR Programs; however, while the pending economic stimulus package will bring relief to Hawaii's Medicaid program, it is still uncertain that the DD/MR waiver program will receive an allocation allowing previous service levels to be restored or even continue. It is vital that the voices and impact stories of people with developmental disabilities who have suffered service reductions be heard. The day-to-day reality of the impact of government's decisions on this vulnerable population must not go unheard. This petition requests that the Governor and Legislature hold a public hearing to discuss these matters with the objective being to provide the necessary funding to restore the service reductions suffered by people with developmental disabilities. PETITION: To the Honorable Governor Linda Lingle and the 25th Legislature of Hawaii: We, the undersigned, call on the Office of the Governor and the 25th Legislature of Hawaii to consider the restoration of services to the DD/MR Program with an allocation from the Federal Economic Stimulus Package. We strongly urge that individuals with developmental disabilities and mental retardation be heard in this matter. In the spirit of Aloha within our islands, we must put our people first! I SIGN IN SUPPORT OF THIS PETITION

Sponsor

The Hawaii Waiver Providers Association for the DD/MR Community www.hwpa.net

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