DHS needs a Supplemental Appropriation: Support HB 2342

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!

Talking points

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.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in January 2014. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern. A Kansas City native, Carly graduated from the University of Tulsa in December 2013 with a BA in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. She is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification Program, the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking program, and The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa. She previously served as board president for United Campus Ministry at the University of Tulsa. At OK Policy, Carly supervises policy staff and conducts research focusing on health care and the safety net.

18 thoughts on “DHS needs a Supplemental Appropriation: Support HB 2342

  1. So many people in Oklahoma rely on this bill to be passed. Please consider their needs and pass this bill

    Thank You

  2. So many elderly in the state of Oklahoma rely on this program. Please consider their situation on pass this bill. Thank you.

  3. Many oklahomans rely on the advantage program to stay in their home and be as independent as they can. please consider their situation and vote YES on this bill

    Thank you!

  4. The community relies on DHS for in-home supports allowing them to live and age in their own homes, with their own communities. Our agency stresses the urgency to continue funding Advantage.
    Our agency votes for HB2342 to continue to fund the Advantage waiver program.

  5. Please support HB 2342. Without the Advantage program, the members would be required to be placed in a nursing home, or be home without care. It only makes sense to allow these vulnerable and/or elderly individuals to stay in their home.
    Thank you
    Tracy Tibbs

  6. A lot of people will loose the care that they need if this bill does not pass and also a lot of jobs will be lost

  7. Please vote yes to HB2342. We need to keep this program in place to help our members remain in their home.

  8. I support HB 2342 … DHS needs these funds to keep in home services for vulnerable adults in place

  9. Support these funds!!
    DHS needs the support to help keep the participants in the home with Services provided!!!!

  10. Please vote yes for HB 2342. The Advantage program is real important to a lot of Oklahoma’s. Without the program a lot of our members will go without the help they need weekly. This program is to help our members to remain in their homes. So Please Vote Yes!!

  11. There are so many folks that rely on these programs to remain independent and in their home. Please Pass HB 2342 for them so they can remain at home.

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