I think we can blame this on Governor Sanford too, can't we?
Families lose bid to save disabled services
State disabilities agency say programs will be restored if funds become available
By Liv Osby • HEALTH WRITER • June 6, 2009
I assume all the Republicans have enough money to hire private-duty nurses and attendants? If not, won't this impact the lives of some who voted Republican, particularly in the rural areas?
The state Department of Disabilities and Special Needs Commission voted unanimously Friday to go ahead with cuts to in-home services for mentally disabled clients, but to restore them if funding becomes available.
The commission has until June 25 to submit a proposal for the program to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said department spokeswoman Lois Park Mole. Medicaid funds part of the program.
The decision was made over the pleas of family members and caregivers to maintain the in-home services program at a meeting in Columbia Thursday. The program serves about 5,700 disabled people.
Those services include adult companions, respite care, diapers and liquid nutrition. And family members said they are the only way many of them can keep a job and that their loved ones would wind up in more expensive institutions without them.
Faced with losing $74 million – including $41 million in state funds – the department was forced to cut costs, said Mole.
Mole said commissioners decided to submit the proposal as is by the deadline, and then review expenditures and make amendments if additional funds become available. If the proposal is not submitted in time, she said, funding for the whole program is at risk.
“Because of the state budget problems, the money was there, and then it was not there,” she said of the delay in developing a proposal. “The problem was not knowing about the availability of funding.”
Columbia lawyer Patricia Harrison, who attended Friday's commission meeting, said the decision to submit amendments later, putting some families at risk of losing services, was “nonsensical.” She added that the commission failed to do an analysis of what cutting in-home services will wind up costing the state in the long run.
“This will be devastating to many of these families,” she said.
Mole said some services will be limited, some replaced and some eliminated, and that the cuts were designed to have the least amount of impact on clients.
“No one wants to have their services cut, and that's understandable,” she said.
If nothing changes, Mole said the cuts could take effect as early as Oct. 1.
We need to get the word out and let everyone know who is responsible.