Archive for Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Disabled Kansans stuck on wait lists

August 17, 2010


Disability scores lagging in school district

The Lawrence school district is falling behind federal standards for students with disabilities passing reading and math tests. District leaders are looking for ways to raise the scores. Enlarge video

— Thousands of Kansans with disabilities remain on waiting lists for crucial services because of unprecedented budget cuts during the past couple of years, officials said Monday.

“There are better ways to balance the budget than cutting social services that are essential to the health and well-being of Kansans with disabilities,” said Shannon Jones, director of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas.

Jones said 70 Kansans have died while on waiting lists for services for so-called Medicaid “waiver” programs, which are designed to help people with severe disabilities remain in their homes and communities instead of moving to a nursing home.

After a historic drop in state revenues, the Legislature approved a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax that went into effect July 1.

But prior to that, social service programs were slashed significantly to help balance the budget. That included a 10 percent cut in Medicaid funding through July.

Currently, 2,444 Kansans with significant developmental disabilities are on a waiting list to receive home- and community-based services; 1,047 are receiving some services but are in line for additional services.

And 2,286 people with significant physical disabilities are on a waiting list.

“We are pushing the problem down on the family when you get right down to it,” said Don Jordan, Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services secretary.

In addition to the people on the waiting lists, SRS has eliminated some previously provided services, such as dental care and temporary respite care, Jordan told the House-Senate Home and Community-Based Services Oversight Committee.

Committee Chairman state Rep. Bob Bethell, R-Alden, said he was concerned that the elimination of dental care could lead to more serious problems.

“If we cut those, it seems to me we would be putting people into more expensive hospitalizations,” Bethell said.

Programs designed to help the elderly have been hit hard, too, according to the Kansas Area Agencies on Aging Association.

About 400 low-income frail and elderly Kansans will be forced to wait for services under current budget projections, according to the association.

In addition, dental care, sleep cycle supports and assistive technology have all been eliminated in this program.

“There is simply no question that, given the magnitude of budget reductions, access to health care and in-home services in our state have been impaired, resulting in Kansas seniors receiving care in more expensive settings or not receiving care at all,” according to the association.


ljreader 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, low income, frail and elderly Kansans- 8% of all US births are to illegal alien parents- from prenatal care to birthing, and subsequent medical care till the age of ????- That's a lot of dough we have to come up with. You lose.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 4 months ago

I am dead set against illegal immigration, but before I go spouting off...i check my facts.

The GAO has shown that illegal immigrants add slightly more to the tax base than they take out. I prefer to fight illegal immigration with facts, not scare tactics. I wish you would to because you take legitimacy away from the real issue by false sound bites and hysterical rhetoric.

fan4kufootball 7 years, 4 months ago

Where are the families of these needy people. That is a what family is supposed to be all about - helping each other out. We need to stop relying on the government to take care of us. All the tax we pay into these social programs is at least 50% used up in the administration of by the government. If we could start taking care of our family and friends on a local level we would be a lot better off.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 4 months ago

Insurance often excludes the disabled and without government assistance, medical care would cost families more than they earn in many cases.

But keep living your fantasy world and blaming the families of the disabled for your woes.

Meanwhile, corporate welfare outspends personal welfare 5-1.

But I realize you would rather fight the disabled than Wallstreet.

What a brave brave person.

GardenOfEden 7 years, 4 months ago

200 million dollars every day to take care of business in Afghanistan. I guess the disabled just don't have the lobbying power of Corporate war.

BigDog 7 years, 4 months ago

fan4kufootball - I agree that families should provide care when they can .... AND they do .... families provide over 85% of all caregiving in this country. We have seniors in our state who have outlived spouses and often if they have children, the children are living in another part of Kansas or in another state.

There are many situations also where, if familiy lives in town, 85 year old mother needs help with bathing and other activities because 65 year old daughter cannot lift mother. Or mother needs more care than they can provide and still hold down their full-time job.

seriouscat 7 years, 4 months ago

This is terrible terrible news and my heart breaks for the families who are dealing with caring for disabled loved ones with no help and support. It takes a saint to take care of someone who needs a lot of help day in and day out and most people just aren't saints!

I googled 'Kansans disability volunteer' to see if I could find any way to help, but mostly what came up was opportunities for disabled people to volunteer. Can the editors maybe find some contacts for people who want to help the families?

Paul R Getto 7 years, 4 months ago

This is what smaller government looks like. Get used to it. 90%+ of Kansas government is education at all levels and these kinds of services to the sick, the old and the disabled.

hispath1 7 years, 4 months ago

I served in the military for over 20 years and I don't qualify for free dental care. I am now unable to work at age 62 due to medical conditions and I don,t get free anything. I am not against helping others in need but to expect the help of goverment for everything is just somehow wrong.

thinkagain 7 years, 4 months ago

Do you receive any Social Security benefits, additional disability or Medicare?

thelonious 7 years, 4 months ago

"Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me."

Where did I hear that?

IndusRiver 7 years, 4 months ago

Well our mother and both fathers have died. Then our oldest brother died. One aunt has that Alzheimer's now. Then her oldest daughter's two children are sickly; she stays tied down with them while her husband works. We have a wealthy sister but she's so thoughtless that we don't even care to acknowledge her. We just don't care about all that. A couple of Aunts do what they can. We usually don't ask for anything in our family, but we are historically just hard-luck people. It is what it is. Well, there's me and my homeless brother now, and he's over 1,000 miles away. So I put in for housing in the state where he is because it's what I can do. And I'm trying to save his life. I'm trying to save my own. And yeah, I'm leaning on the government for help. But all we've given in our all our time here is well beyond plenty, and we still pay back what we use; we still pay all the bills, but we don't starve ourselves to do it. There's something really wrong with this country when its citizens can't find a job, can't pay the rent, and can't govern itself. What that tells me is that the light on our continent is blowing out, and we'd better be gettin' ready for our own (European) Dark Ages.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna do all I can to retrieve my brother from the streets of America.

IndusRiver 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, low income, frail and elderly Kansans- 8% of all US births are to illegal alien parents- from prenatal care to birthing, and subsequent medical care till the age of ????- That's a lot of dough we have to come up with. You lose.

We should lead by example! How about if WE get out of everybody else's country. Start with a really bold initiative: End the illegal, economy-breaking, get-nothing-done wars and get on home, huh?

The whole world has been putting up with our "illegal immigration" for decades so let's show 'em what big boys and girls we are and do what's right.

IndusRiver 7 years, 4 months ago

Take a look at all the layers...SRS has a department of everything and a deputy assistant secretary for all of them...redundancy appears to be a key to something...

If the government wants to help the poor, bypass these hierarchies, find out where the poor live, what their names are, and write a check to them directly.

denak 7 years, 4 months ago

My parents are visually impaired as is my son. I don't think people have any idea just how much assistive technology costs. There are a l ot of families that help their disabeled relatives but some of these things, things people need to live normal or even half way normal lives with dignity, would be costs prohibitive without state's help.

A Braille Reader for example costs anywhere from 3,500 dollars minimum to 15,000 dollars.

How many families have 15 thousand dollars lying around?

Wheelchairs, those that are made for paralyzed individuls, run close to 4,000 dollars.

Oxygen costs around 1100 dollars per pound.

A CPAP costs around 1,500 dollars. This is a machine that helps people breathe and yet, the state just elimanated it. When did breathing become optional or something only for the rich???? Sleep apnea is a debilitating illness that is easily managed by a CPAP and yet, now, the state isn't going to help an individual get one. It is short sighted.

Without assistive technology, many people, who may be able to go to school or work, will not be able to, which means less tax dollars.

And there are simply many people who are too sick or frail and whose families either don't care or who are dead or who are unable to help, these individuals are human beings and they deserve to be treated wtih dignity and respect.


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