KCUR News
12:36 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

New Waiver Offers Some Relief To Missourians With Developmental Disabilities

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missourians with developmental disabilities have a new option for getting community and home-based services. Governor Jay Nixon met with families and health workers at the Developmental Disability Services of Jackson County office on Friday to highlight the new program's goal: getting care to people before they're in crisis.

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Thousands of Missourians with developmental disabilities, including several hundred in Jackson county, are on a waiting list for services. People who aren't in immediate need of care often wait years.

The state, along with participating counties, is now launching a new program to fill that gap. The program will offer services up to $12,000 annually to people who aren't in most immediate need of care. Governor Nixon says doing so can prevent more serious problems from developing down the road, and save money on more expensive residential care.

"Accessing care, therapy, and support services earlier can help slow any deterioration that might come from a disability, and help families see that they do have resources and support to keep their loved ones at home," Nixon said.

The new Medicaid waiver program has space for about 500 people. Jackson County will be filling 90 of those slots. The state's applied for a federal grant to increase that number.

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