On Tuesday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that her cabinet intended to rebuild a program which helped people with developmental disabilities. Also, she said they would put an end to the hold-up that a number of families from New Mexico had to undergo in order to get the help.
The objective is to get rid of the accumulation of patients. Namely, there have been circa 5,000 people on the waiting list, which is planned to be reduced in a period of six years. Patients today need to wait for approximately 13 years to get the help of the Developmental Disabilities Waiver program.
Michelle Lujan Grisham, who took the office in 2019, hasn’t provided the estimation of the cost for the project. Some elements will need the approval of the state legislative body or the federal government.
Grisham, who was a state secretary for health, has said in a statement that the waiting lists that are this big aren’t allowable and that they are a sign that the state leadership hasn’t paid enough attention to them in recent years.
The government analysts have predicted that it is going to cost nearly $131 million annually in order to give the services to 4,000 people if they are scratched off from the waiting list. They have also suggested taking measures to control the costs, having in mind that certain states are economical when offering similar services.
Additionally, Lujan Grisham has defined a procedure of several steps for the creation of levels of services modified to each individual’s need.
Elizabeth Thomson, a Representative from Albuquerque, has noted that these modifications are rational. Namely, her son needs non-stop care, but her son’s budget for these services may be identical to someone else’s who is capable of driving and keeping a job. She has indicated that there are individuals who receive more services than they actually need and people who don’t receive the services that are essential to them. Also, she added that she was optimistic that the state’s incomes were steady enough to pay for the cost of removing people off of the waiting list.
Gov. Lujan Grisham has announced that her plan consists of:
- Ensuring additional aid to people who are still on the waiting list. The state budget for 2019 consists of nearly $1.5 million, which are meant for designing and offering the services to people who are on the waiting list.
- Contacting individuals who are on the waiting list and registered in Medicaid in 2019 to make sure that they are maximizing the benefits that they can receive through Medicaid.
- Initiating a new program next year to offer support and some number of services to anyone who is on the waiting list. Kathy Kunkel, who is a health secretary, said that the state was going to seek help from the public for setting up the program.
- More widely redesigning the program for developmental disabilities in order to create levels and move people off the waiting list in the period of six years.
This waiver program in New Mexico is going to help people with developmental disabilities, for example, people with autism. This program will offer them therapy, assistance in finding a job, and other services that will give them the opportunity to be active members of their communities. Approximately 5,000 individuals are registered in waiver services.
The program has a word “waiver” in the title because the federal government has waived the need to use nursing homes or other institutions in order to provide services. Unfortunately, those long waiting periods have been causing troubles for years.
Legislative analysts have made known that costs per individual are increasing, and the number of individuals who are diagnosed with autism and Down syndrome is on the rise as well.