17 July 2009

Medicaid Waiver Program Still Drawing Legislative Fire

As The Associated Press reports, "legislative leaders remain critical of the state’s handling of a program meant to keep people with developmental disabilities in their own homes."

The Charleston Gazette and The Register-Herald of Beckley also covered Thursday's quizzing of state health officials by lawmakers meeting for their monthly interim study session.

"Health and Human Resources say it takes time to calculate how many waiver slots it needs," AP reported. "But lawmakers allege a return of the waiting lists that have spurred lawsuits and a 2000 federal ruling against the program"

"I submit we're going to have people die waiting for a slot to open up," said House Majority Leader Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, as quoted in The Gazette. "They're going to be given a choice to either stay at home and die, or go into a nursing home."

The Charleston newspaper also quoted House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White, D-Mingo, who "said legislators were also concerned that some DHHR case managers are erroneously telling constituents that the waivers are not available because the Legislature failed to fund the program."

"If somebody out there is telling people that, they need to stop," White said.

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