Topeka Advocates for people with developmental disabilities on Monday called for increased funding for services, and rejection of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal to keep funding at the same level for the next two years.
About 5,000 people with developmental disabilities are on a waiting list for services that can be received at home or in the community.
The governor has proposed funding the program at $327.6 million for each of the next two fiscal years.
“When you are talking about a program that has been chronically under-funded for years, they are making no effort to address that crisis situation,” said Tim Wood, manager of the End the Wait campaign.
The House Social Services budget subcommittee will start hearings on the proposed budget within the next week or so.
Wood is urging parents, people with disabilities and other interested people to testify before the committee.
He said without an increase, the waiting list will get larger, and the wait for services, now approximately eight years, will just get longer.
But Brownback administration officials say that the proposed funding levels are adequate and will serve more people because savings will occur under the state’s overhaul of the Medicaid program, now called KanCare.
Another factor in budget discussions is that state income tax cuts signed into law by Brownback last year have legislators facing a projected $267 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year starting July 1.
In addition to the budget, Kansans with disabilities face other issues before the Legislature.
Last year, Brownback agreed to postpone until Jan. 1, 2014, the inclusion of long-term care for Kansans with developmental disabilities in KanCare, which is operated by private managed care companies. Many advocates say long-term care does not fit in KanCare and would like to have those services permanently excluded from KanCare.
In addition, federal officials met with Brownback last year about resolving complaints filed with the U.S. Justice Department by disabled Kansans about the growing waiting lists for home- and community-based services. Brownback has said Kansas is in compliance with federal law.