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Matt Bieber
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Departments of Health and Human Services present plan for expansion of developmental disabilities services

October 26, 2021 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus - Awareness


Potential federal grant dollars could greatly shorten waiting list for services 

SANTA FE - The New Mexico Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Supports Division (DDSD) is presenting a proposed expansion of services at the New Mexico Legislative Health and Human Services Committee this morning at 10:45 a.m.  The proposal, which is dependent on federal funding that has been requested but not yet confirmed, would eliminate the waiting list by placing developmentally disabled New Mexicans into Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).  

If approved in the coming weeks by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the proposal would utilize dollars specifically designated to “enhance, expand, and strengthen HCBS.” New Mexico would be able to provide additional home and community-based services for residents on the state’s DD Waiver “Wait List” that tracks applications for the DD, Mi Via, Medically Fragile, and Supports waivers. These waivers currently have a waiting list of more than 4,100 residents, most of whom have been waiting years for services.  

As we await approval of our proposed plan from CMS, I think about how long this has been incoming for thousands of New Mexico families,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Some have been on the waiting list since 2008. My administration has been committed to building a system that will provide high-quality services for New Mexicans with developmental disabilities and their families. With these funds, we would be able to provide those services much sooner.” 

The additional funding would allow DDSD to do several things: 

  • Expand eligibility and increase access to high-quality HCBS for in-state Medicaid beneficiaries including children on disabilities and others on waiting lists for HCBS waiver programs
  • Statewide Needs Assessment and HCBS Provider Capacity Study to conduct a statewide needs assessment and HCBS provider capacity study to build capacity and transform a critical safety net to support and empower New Mexicans
  • Strengthen the direct service workforce by providing New Mexico’s provider network temporary COVID economic recovery payments that can be used for costs associated with retention, personal protective equipment (PPE), hazard pay, training, infrastructure, and technology improvements 

We have made progress over the last two years getting more than 700 people the services they need,” said New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) Acting Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D. “These dollars will allow us to provide services for thousands more. Once funding is approved, the state has a once-in-a-century opportunity to bring everyone into services over the next two years.”   

The Waiting List is a fundamental problem for the families of New Mexico with loved ones that have special needs,” said Tracy Perry, Executive Director of Direct Therapy Services in Alamogordo. “We see the need from the front line. On a daily basis, we witness the challenges and incredible sacrifices that families on the waiting list make to ensure that their loved ones receive the medical services and care they need. We are asking everyone to support these ongoing efforts to end the waiting list.”   

My daughter, Chloe has been on the Developmentally Disabled Waiver waitlist since 2013. She has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is non-verbal, and requires full assistance with every aspect of her life. Eight years is a tremendous amount of time to wait for services and knowing that I may have to wait another six years for assistance is extremely disheartening. Myself and parents in similar situations are completely exhausted and are crying out for help. Please hear our voice and support the efforts to end the waiting list,” said Christine Bragg, mother of a disabled daughter. 

The time is ripe to execute a bold plan to eliminate the waiting list for services for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in the state of New Mexico,” said Jason Cornwell, director of the New Mexico Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Supports Division. “In partnership with the advocate community, we can once again become a national leader for the provision of services for all New Mexicans with special needs.” 

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