Immediate Revenue is
Needed to Save Services
for Individuals with Disabilities
All existing waivers at risk of elimination!
By: Mary Jacob
Apparently Governor Edwards has been robbed of a honeymoon period as the new governor of Louisiana. This probably didn't come as a shock with the looming billion dollar shortfall he inherited on inauguration day. Honestly, I'm not sure why anyone would want to be the governor of Louisiana or even a state representative or senator during these sure to be dark days ahead of us. However, with all that being said, I surely didn't anticipate our new DHH Secretary, Dr. Rebekah Gee to issue the announcement that came out on January 27, 2016.
Over the years I've grown use to hearing we don't have enough revenue to open up more waiver slots, increase medicaid reimbursements rates or provide more affordable housing options. What I didn't anticipate hearing was the possible ELIMINATION of all Medicaid programs, including the Children's Choice and NOW Waivers.
Below is the Press Release on DHH's website. Please read it in it's entirety to fully understand the seriousness of our fiscal crisis. No one is safe! This applies to those already with waivers, those on waiting lists, and any one receiving any type of Medicaid services.
Press Release Issued on January 27, 2015 by DHH:
Today, the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) submitted a plan to the Division of Administration that outlines how $131 million in cuts would be spread across the Medicaid program to address the current budget shortfall. DHH Secretary Rebekah E. Gee, MD, MPH said cuts of this magnitude are a worst-case scenario and would only be implemented if the Legislature failed to find additional revenues to address this year's anticipated shortfall.
"We have outlined two options that will reduce Medicaid spending," Gee said. "The reality is both plans will have a catastrophic impact to those served by Medicaid; insurance companies who administer the Bayou Health Plan, hospitals and other providers, and to the patients and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for their health care."
DHH developed two reduction plans, one that targets seven specific programs and a second option that eliminates all optional Medicaid programs. Both plans cut $131 million in state funds. In addition, because these state funds attract federal matching dollars, the total impact of both plans are $346.5 million.
Under Option One, the proposed reductions are as follows:
- Public-Private Partnerships - Reduce spending on the Public-Private Partnerships by $119.1 million in state funding. This equals a $315 million total reduction when federal matching funds are lost. The reductions will be as follows:
- Eliminate $45 million in state funding ($119.1 million total) in supplemental payments to the partner hospitals that were included in the 2016 Appropriations Act.
- Eliminate an additional reduction of $9.5 million ($25 million total) to the New Orleans partner hospital in its supplemental payments that were included in the 2016 Appropriations Act.
- Further reduce the payments to partner hospitals by 12.7 percent. This reduction is $64.6 million in state dollars, $170.9 million total.
- Reduce Payments to Bayou Health Insurers - This represents a reduction in the per member per month payments to Bayou Health. The reduction is $10.4 million in state funds, $27.4 million total.
- Eliminate the Pediatric Day Health Care Program - This program serves 612 medically fragile children between the ages of birth to their 21st birthday. It is anticipated that these services could be continued by other Medicaid providers or by school districts. The reduction is $1.6 million in state funds, $4.2 million total.
Under Option Two, the following programs would be
- Reduce Payments to Bayou Health Insurers - This is the same reduction outlined in Option One; $10.4 million in state funds, $27.4 million total.
- Pediatric Day Health Care Program - This is the same reduction discussed under Option One; is $1.6 million in state funds, $4.2 million total.
- Hospice Program - Impacts 6,282 hospice recipients. State savings of $200,000, total reduction of $600,000.
- Children's Choice Waiver - Impacts 1,227 children with developmental disabilities who receive community-based services. State savings of $1.2 million, total reduction of $3.2 million.
- Adult Day Health Care Waiver - Impacts 900 people who currently receive community-based services as an alternative to nursing home care, and another 4,000 people who are on the waiting list for these services. State savings of $700,000, total reduction of $1.8 million.
- Residential Options Waiver - This is a program that serves 26 people who are former long-time residents of adult foster care but who now receive home-based care. State savings of $100,000, total reduction of $300,000.
- PACE Program - PACE is the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. PACE offers health care and social services to nursing home-eligible seniors in an adult day care environment. The program currently serves 235 seniors and has a maximum capacity of 600 participants. State savings of $1.2 million, total reduction of $3.1 million.
- Supports Waiver - This program provides specific, activity-focused services to individuals with disabilities in their homes. The program will impact 1,739 people currently receiving services as of January 2016. State savings of $1.2 million, total reduction of $3.2 million.
- Long Term Personal Care Services - This service provides hands-on assistance with basic self-care tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting to low-income elders and people with adult-onset disabilities. Elimination of this program will impact more than 17,300 recipients. State savings of $16.6 million, total reduction of $44 million.
- Community Choices Waiver - This is the primary home and community-based waiver program serving as an alternative to nursing facility care for seniors and people with adult onset disabilities. As of November 2015, there were 5,581 people in the program and another 33,000 individuals on the waiting list. State savings of $10.8 million, total reduction of $28.7 million.
- Intermediate Care Facilities - These are institutions that serve people with developmental disabilities in a 24-hour managed care environment. Elimination of this program will impact 4,914 recipients currently receiving services. State savings of $24.9 million, total reduction of $66 million.
- NOW Waiver - The New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) allows people with developmental disabilities to be served in community and home based settings instead of an institution. Elimination of this program will impact 8,686 people currently receiving services. State savings of $42.7 million, total reduction of $113 million.
- Ambulatory Surgical Center Program - Provides day surgery procedures to an estimated 16,172 recipients. State savings of $200,000, total reduction of $500,000.
- Hemodialysis Program - Provides free-standing End Stage Renal Disease services to 5,904 recipients. State savings of $3.3 million, total reduction of $8.82 million.
- Prescription Limits in Adult Pharmacy Program - Medicaid pays for prescription drugs for Medicaid beneficiaries with a limit of four prescriptions per patient (recipient) per calendar month. But, there is an option to get more prescriptions under the "medically necessary override" provision. Eliminating this provision is expected to save $15.9 million in state funds, and $42.1 million total.
In addition to these two options, the Department might also consider a combination of some reductions and program eliminations to achieve the necessary savings.
"Both of these options are worst-case scenarios that we hope will not have to be implemented. The Department has always worked to address the yearly budget shortfalls without cutting provider fees and by minimizing program impacts by using various internal solutions. However, this year's budget reality is monumental, and the potential cuts and their results are staggering," said Gee.
"If this reduction plan becomes a reality, its impact will be felt by almost all residents. Vital health care services across Louisiana will be completely eliminated or diminished if additional revenue is not identified in the upcoming special session."
# # #
If you're a parent of a child with a disability, a relative, friend or service provider, you need to know that these cuts can be avoided if sufficient revenue is raised by the legislature during the upcoming Special Session. It's time for everyone to roll up their sleeves and get involved in saving these services.
The Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council are providing the following talking points for individuals speaking to their legislators on this issue. There are only two:
- Factual Information - additional revenue must be raised in the special session to avoid the cuts described in the press release.
- Personal Story - share how these cuts would affect you and your family.
With over 35,000 individuals receiving some sort of waiver service in Louisiana - there should be at least 35,000 people ACTING NOW! The time is NOW to get you family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and yourself involved. If these services are important to you - you MUST act NOW!
If you need assistance in finding your legislator, either click
or call Families Helping Families at 504-888-9111.
Check out these other great articles we've provided for you this month:
Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training
- February Workshops -
Parent Training in ABA: Saturday, February 27, 2016, 9:00 am - 1:30 pm
- Learn techniques to better understand and correctly respond to you child's challanging behavior and learn how to promote social and commuication skills in every day activities.
Click here for more information!
To register, call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736
- February Webinars -
Supports, Modifications, and Accommodations for Students: Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm -
For many students with disabilities-and for many without-the key to success in the classroom lies in having appropriate adaptations, accommodations, and modifications made to the instruction and other classroom activities. Join us as we explore and discuss various options and examples of support available to help your child become successful.
Transition from High School to Adulthood for youth with disabilities a series of three webinars: What lies ahead. Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm -
Session one will provide an overview of transition from school to the community. Participants will learn about the opportunities, services and supports that are available. The session will also include some local and national examples of successful transitions.
Know Your Housing Rights: Friday, February 12, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
An introduction to the Fair Housing Act and the protections that it offers against housing discrimination, with a special focus on the housing rights of people with disabilities. Learn about how Fair Housing applies to rentals, sales, advertising, harassment and zoning, as well as the process for requesting modifications and accommodations related to a disability. This information will be applicable to individuals with disabilities, as well as family members and service providers.
School-wide PBIS: Wenesday, February 17, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - I
s a new framework for parent involvement in school. The concept focuses on managing behaviors by identifying appropriate behavioral expectations, teaching those behaviors, and reinforcing them across all environments. Research shows that having positive behavior supports reduces suspensions, expulsions, and drop-out rates. This presentation will explain the principles of PBIS, explore how some schools are using it effectively, and - most importantly - how you can use it at home.
Basic Rights in Special Education: Thursday, February 18, 2016, 10:30 am - 11:30 am -
Whether you're new to special education or have been involved for a while, this workshop is for you. This presentation provides families with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities as parents of children with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Parents begin to identify dreams and goals for their children, understand laws and learn advocacy strategies that will help them help their children reach those goals. Parents of classified children and children who are having difficulty in school, but may not be classified, will benefit from this training.
Raising a Child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Friday, February 19, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Raising a child with oppositional defiant distorder can be extremely frustrating. In this session you will learn some effective tips to use on your child, so everything does not have to be a battle.
- How to get your child to listen and respect you
- Enhancing positive communication between parents and children
- Setting up rules in your home and getting children to follow them and
- Effective consequences for behavioral challenges for different age groups
Section 504, The OTHER Service Option: What do parents need to know about Section 504? Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - It is important for parents of students with disabilities and special needs to have information and an understanding of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Understanding the provisions of this important law can help parents be effective partners in working with schools to meet the needs of their student with disabilities.
: Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm -
State testing time is a very stressful time for students and school staff. Parents and school staff need to consider beforehand what will be needed to support a student with a disability. Join us as we'll give you practical tips on who to communicate with at the school before PARCC and LEAP testing arrives, and how you and the school staff can prepare your child for changes and other stressors that can impact how well the student does on the test.
American Diabetes Association's Safe at School: Thursday, February 25, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm -
Keeping a child with diabetes Safe at School is a top priority for the American Diabetes Association. This webinar will discuss federal and state laws that are in place to protect students with diabetes in Louisiana, as well as tips on the development of other written accommodations and care plans that are available to parents. This hour long workshop will go into detail about the child's rights and how to keep them safe while in the school setting. This will be a great webinar for parents and school caregivers alike.
Bayou Health: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities! Friday, February 26, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm -
To understand how Bayou Health works can save you major headaches and frustrations. Learn what your rights are under Bayou Health and how to access the services you or your child need! Join us for an hour of valuable information.
Learning Opportunities Provided by Others
Education and Training
FHF thinks it is important for individuals to be armed with enough information to either assist or make decisions around disability issues that impact your life or that of a family member.
Therefore, we are happy to share the following training opportunities others are doing around the state. Please note we do not handle registration for these opportunities.
La. Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program is excited to sponsor: Making an Impact: From Detection to Intervention - February 22, 2016, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, La.
Louisiana Green Corps Youth Workforce Construction Training
- Recruiting for 2016 Winter Session. Only a limited amount of slots available, so call now if you are interested! 504-613-4661
Click here for more information!
Victimization and Persons with Developmental Disabilities - Presented by Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority: February 23, 2016, 9:30 am - 11:00 am, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave., Napoleon Room, Metairie, LA 70001
Living independently with a cognitive disability: How technology can help: Wednesday, February 11, 2016, 4:00pm - 5:00 pm EST -
Join Daniel K. Davies, Founder and President of AbleLink Technologies, Inc. for an overview of the many ways assistive technology makes independent living easier for individuals with cognitive disabilities.
The Health Resources and Services Administration Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program -
Presents the Webinar Series
EMSC Opportunities for Enhancing Pediatric Emergency Care
"Keeping our Children Safe in a Changing world" - Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Eastern)
Click here for more information!
Education and Training
If you've ever done an internet search on a topic, you know first-hand how difficult it is to sort through the thousands of links that come up with the search. Below is a list of some of our favorite links for the month that others have shared with us. We hope you find them as informative as we did.
Understood for Learning & Attention Issues
- Our goal is to help the millions of parents whose children, ages 3-20, are struggling with learning and attention issues. We want to empower them to understand their children's issues and relate to their experiences. With this knowledge, parents can make effective choices that propel their children from simply coping to truly thriving.
Understood aims to give parents a direct path to the support they need most to make them feel more confident and capable, less frustrated and alone
Safety for Life
You'll find information and resources to keep your children safe on the road. Whether you're buying your child's first car seat, deciding whether to let your kids walk to school or take a bus, handing the car keys to your teenager, or wondering how safe your car is, we're here to answer your questions
ATN/AIR-P Puberty and Adolescence Resource: A Guide for Parents
- All parents eventually face the challenge of teaching their children about the natural changes of puberty. However, parents of pre-teens with ASD may need the help of additional strategies to ease the transition. Our aim in developing this tool is to provide guidance on the subject of puberty that can be directly applied to pre-teens with ASD. In doing so, we hope to increase families' understanding of puberty and their ability to adapt to these changes with confidence.
5 Effective Strategies for the Inclusive Classroom
- Students with special and exceptional needs are placed in inclusive learning environments more frequently than in the past. For general educators with a limited special education background, this can often be anxiety provoking and stressful.
10 Defusing Phrases to use at IEP Meetings. Emotions can run high at IEP meetings. But it's important for parents to focus on the end goal; helping their child. Here are 10 stay calm phrases parents can use to redirect conversation and defuse tense situations. English and Spanish version.
Early Child Outcomes Video
This is a great video to describe and illustrate the 3 child outcomes adopted by Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and reported on by all state early intervention (Part C) and preschool special education (Part B/619) programs as part of their Annual Performance Report.
Covered Outpatient Drugs Policy - Affordable Care Act:
On January 22, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule with comment to implement the Medicaid drug rebate provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The final regulation addresses key areas of Medicaid drug reimbursement and changes made to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program by the Affordable Care Act. Among other things, this final rule ensures federal and state savings on Medicaid drug costs, establishes the long term framework for implementation of the Medicaid drug rebate pro with gram, and creates a more fair reimbursement system for Medicaid programs and pharmacies. In this final rule we also solicit additional comments on the definition of line extension drugs and the treatment of new formulations that we may consider addressing in future rule making.
For more information, including summaries of key provisions of the final rule, visit the
Covered Outpatient Drugs Policy
page on Medicaid.gov.
- The Tots 'n Tech Research Institute (TnT) is an inter-university collaboration between Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), Philadelphia and Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe. TnT's mission is to provide up-to-date information and resources about adaptations, including assistive technology, to use with infants and toddlers for states, Early Intervention providers of all disciplines, and families across the country. In order to achieve this mission, TnT provides technical assistance to states to help them enhance the use of adaptations with infants and toddlers and conducts a national research program about use of adaptations and assistive technology (AT).
What is #ThinkABILITY Month? #ThinkABILITY month is a social media campaign to highlight great stories of people with disabilities doing something extraordinary.
Extraordinary is defined as something that most people would perceive not possible for the individual with a disability. It's a time to demonstrate to the world that people with disabilities can in fact do lots of things successfully. Some of these things may not seem extraordinary to a person without a disability - but in fact is often consider nearly impossible for a person with a disability.
Help make our 2nd Annual #ThinkABILITY month a huge success by sending us stories. Send all stories to Mary Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Defusing the Meltdown
|The Galliano Family
In this article Anne Galliano writes about how her son Rory, who has Autism, struggles with anxiety over not being able to complete a puzzle and some of the steps she and her husband took to help him calm himself down.
A few days ago, our family was putting together a 550 pc. Mario Bros. puzzle Santa gave Rory, my son with Autism for Christmas. As it was near completion, we realized there must be a few pieces out of place. My husband, Eddy and I tried to figure it out, but it was an area of blue sky where the pieces have no significant differences, so it was taking some time. Rory was getting very upset; he wanted it done NOW!
Want to contribute to Family Ties? This section is dedicated to parents or other family members that want to contribute family friendly articles for others. These articles should be directly related to your experience as a parent, sibling, or other family member of an individual with a disability.
To submit an article for consideration, please send it to Liz Dumas
at email@example.com. All articles will be reformatted. Pictures in the format of jpeg are highly encouraged
January 2016 Capacity Building Class
On January 13, 2016 Families Helping Families of Jefferson partnered with Louisiana Department of Education to train staff across the state that work as education advocates at all 10 Families Helping Families centers.
great events you won't want to miss.
March 15, 2016
11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Elmwood Storage Facility
1004 S. Clearview Parkway, Elmwood, LA 70123
Join the staff of FHF for this great event!
For only $15 a person you can come to this great event and enjoy the wonderful taste of Elmwood's restaurants and caterers. Proceeds will benefit Families Helping Families.
Sponsorship opportunities are available.
Magnolia Physical Therapy is offering a 2 hour chair massage valued at $300 to the first company to sign up and commit to the Heroic Level ($2,000).
Tickets for the event may be purchased at www.elmwoodba.org or call 504.733.8900
This is a collaboration between:
FHF Workshop Self Direction & Waiver
If you need
transportation to attend Disability Rights Day in Baton Rouge, please call Liz at FHF at 504-888-9111 before the end of February.
Extensive Lending Library
Families Helping Families has an extensive lending library. Books, dvds and more are here, free of charge for families and professionals to check out. You are welcome to come and browse our library during our office hours, Monday through Friday,
9 am to 4 pm. If you cannot make it into our office, you can see a complete list of our inventory and any item can be mailed to you. Just
to see a complete list of items in our lending library.
Before you buy it - check to see if we have it!
Changing Lives. Every Day.
Success Story of the month.
Every day we hear wonderful things about the work we do for individuals in the community. One of the things that keep us going daily are the success stories we hear.
Ms. Delisha Jackson's son was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, read how FHF gave this parent the guidance and support she needed to learn and understand parental rights and the special education process.
Developmental Disabilities Services Directory
The Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities provides supports and services through a variety of locations throughout the state to support the dignity, quality of life and security in the everyday lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, acting as the Single Point of Entry.
OCDD Central Office
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities
628 North 4th Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
PO Box 3117, Bin #21
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3117
Waiver Registry Dates
As of January 28, 2016 the following dates have been reached on the waiver registry, a.k.a the waiting list.
New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) - 8/18/2004
Children's Choice Waiver - 6/20/2006
Supports Waiver - 12/31/2014
Not sure where you are on the registry? Call 1.800.364.7828.
A Little Lagniappe:
A little of this and a little of that - more stuff that might interest you.
Hamilton Relay Offers $500 Scholarships: Application deadline is March 1, 2016
Creating opportunities for higher education is a priority for Hamilton Relay. The goal of the Hamilton Relay Scholarship is to support students who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking in their post-secondary education.
The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council was established in compliance with federal regulations governing the Rehabilitation Act (P.L. 102-569).
The LRC works with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) to ensure the involvement of individuals with disabilities in the development and delivery of vocational rehabilitation services to Louisianans with disabilities.
The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council Meetings are held quarterly in different areas of the State. Please take note all meetings are open public forum. The 2016 meetings scheduled are:
January 28-29, 2016 - Baton Rouge
April 28-29, 2016 - Baton Rouge
July 28-29, 2016 - Baton Rouge
October 27-28, 2016 - Baton Rouge
If you would like to be considered for membership on the Council or would like more information about the LRC, you can contact Paige Kelly (225) 219-2947 or toll free at 1-800-737-2958. E-mail:
Android Autism Tablet for $9
- Join PuzzlePiece and get a 9" Android tablet with case for $9 and access to 120+ Autism Apps with new Apps added every month for only $29/month.
The office of
Families Helping Families
will be closed:
February 8 - 9, 2016
Have a Safe and Happy Mardi Gras
Click here for a list of
Families Helping Families of Jefferson is your one stop shop for disability information. We are the only family resource center for individuals with all disabilities, all ages and their families in Jefferson Parish. We offer services across the lifespan.
Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center (LaPTIC) is a program of Families Helping Families of Jefferson and a grant from the US Department of Education; Office of Special Education (OSEP) as Louisiana's official and only statewide federally funded Parent Training and Information Center.
Two Groups You Want to JOIN!
LaCAN is a statewide grassroots network of individuals, families and advocates who have worked together since 1988 advocating for a service system that supports individuals with disabilities to live in their own homes rather than having to be segregated from their communities in a facility to receive support. Specifically, they have advocated for implementation of Louisiana's Community and Family Support System Plan. To join or learn more about LaCAN,
LaTEACH (Louisiana Together Educating ALL Children) is a statewide grassroots advocacy network created for the purpose of effecting systems change. LaTEACH promotes appropriate, inclusive education for all students. LaTEACH works to make parents, educators, the general public, and state leadership informed and supportive of research-based and effective practices used appropriately for each student. To join or learn more about LaTEACH,
Connect with FHF and be in the KNOW!