March 1st, 2017
HB 2342 would supply an urgently-needed supplemental appropriation to the state Department of Human Services (DHS) to fund in-home care for elderly Oklahomans and Oklahomans with significant disabilities. Without this appropriation, DHS will be unable to pay these providers after April of this year, jeopardizing care for more than 25,000 vulnerable Oklahomans.
HB 2342 provides a $34.0 million supplemental to be paid for with money from the Rainy Day Fund ($4.2 million) and Unclaimed Property Fund ($29.8 million). Of the money from the Unclaimed Property Fund, $18.0 million is directed for Developmental Disabilities Services waivers and $11.8 million is directed for the purpose of funding Aging Services waivers.
Where things stand (as of 04/7/17)
HB 2342 was introduced on March 21st. It passed the House of Representatives unanimously March 29th and the Senate 33-13 April 3rd. The bill was signed by Governor Fallin on April 6th.
What you can do
Thank you to everyone who spoke out to their legislators on this issue!
More than 25,000 Oklahomans rely on DHS for in-home supports allowing them to live and age in their own homes, with their own communities.
- The Medicaid ADvantage waiver helps more than 21,000 Oklahomans in need of nursing home-level care to receive that care less expensively in their homes and communities.
- Four other waiver programs cover in-home and community-based care for Oklahomans with significant disabilities, including physical and occupational therapy, and assistance with bathing and dressing. More than 5,000 Oklahomans receive needed services through these waivers, with more than 7,400 people waiting more than a decade to join them.
- To serve these groups, DHS contracts with more than 2,500 providers across the state.
Last year’s Legislature only provided ten months of funding for the DHS home- and community-based waivers, with the understanding that the agency would receive a supplemental to maintain the programs.
Without a supplemental appropriation of $34 – 42.6 million, DHS will be unable to pay providers for these programs after April.
- Most individuals getting care through waivers are very low-income and will be unable to afford that care on their own.
- Elderly Oklahomans may be forced to move to nursing homes, at much greater expense to the state.
- Family caregivers may have to quit their jobs in order to care for family members, threatening greater poverty for an already-vulnerable population.
- Some providers, many of which are small businesses operating on very fine margins, will shut down.
You can look up your Senator and Representative here, call the House switchboard at 405-521-2711, and call the Senate switchboard at 405-524-0126.
See our Advocacy Toolkit page for more information and resources.