State proposal could affect disabliity services

By Chris Swick
October 12, 2015

A proposed merger of services for the disabled at the state level is causing some concern for service providers like Multi-Community Diversified Services.

Doug Wisby with MCDS spoke with McPherson County Commissioners Monday about the proposal that would the seven different waivers currently in existence that cover autism, intellectual developmental disabilities, frail/elderly, physical disabilities, serious emotional disturbances, technology assisted and traumatic brain injury.

“And they all serve, obviously, different populations of people who are in need,” Wisby said. “But what the state is proposing is to combine all those waivers into one gigantic pot. They want to manage all those folks under one, what they're calling, integrated waiver.”

Wisby called it one of the largest, if not the largest changes that's ever occurred.

He voiced his frustration with the lack of information available at the moment about the plan, which would merge the services provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

“There's so much in this, licensing, equality, waiver definitions,” Wisby said. “I don't even know, if they change the waiver definitions, what the services will ultimately look like. That's part of what I'm concerned about. You have to match the service to the need, not the need to the service.”

A plan was to have been released on Sept. 30, but enough concerns and negative feedback about the idea had been voiced that the state has pushed back the unveiling by six months.

MCDS and other service agencies of its kind in McPherson County serve about 320 clients.