For Immediate Release:
December 14, 2021
Amy Webb, Chief of Communications & Community Engagement
Gavin Lesnick, Deputy Chief of Communications
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that his administration intends to eliminate a waitlist for services as it stands today for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who wish to stay in their homes and communities.
Hutchinson has taken steps to address the waitlist since taking office in 2015. Over the last seven years, the Governor has worked with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) and the State Legislature to add funding to serve 1,200 additional Arkansans waiting to be approved for the State’s Community and Employment Supports waiver.
“I’m happy to announce additional funding will create more slots so that everyone on the developmental disabilities waitlist will be served by June 2025,” Hutchinson said. “When I submitted my proposed balanced budget in advance of the 2021 legislative session, I proposed adding $60 million of state general revenue to Medicaid’s budget in SFY2023. Now DHS is able to set aside $37.6 million to fund these new waiver slots in the future. I will ask the legislature to add special language during the fiscal session to dedicate these funds to the waiver. Along with my administration, the legislature has long been supportive of solutions to serve this population.”
Act 1037 of 2019 required DHS to eliminate the waitlist by the summer of 2022 as it stood on March 1, 2019, if the provider workforce was available. There are 2,441 individuals waiting today who were on the waitlist as of March 1, 2019. The plan announced Tuesday goes beyond what is required in the act by serving an additional 763 waiting Arkansans.
Of the 3,204 people currently waiting for waiver services, 1,861 are already getting some services through Arkansas Medicaid because they are financially eligible. Those services could include medical and hospital, mental health services, early intervention day treatment, adult day treatment, personal care, and occupation, physical, and speech therapy.
As waiver slots are added and filled over the next three years, eligible individuals on the waitlist will be able to access the full range of services available in traditional State Plan Medicaid services.