OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For years, thousands of Oklahomans suffering from disabilities have been waiting to receive the help they need.
In fact, there are 5,800 Oklahomans currently on the state’s waiting list for Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Services.
The services allow people with disabilities who need long-term care to receive those services at home rather than in an institutional setting.
However, it seems that those Oklahomans have been waiting for years to receive that type of care.
Currently, officials say there is a 13-year wait for those in Oklahoma.
This year, the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 2899, which was signed into law by Gov. Stitt earlier this month.
According to the measure, those in need of services will now be required to have been a resident of Oklahoma for five years before they are able to apply for Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver Services.
Supporters of the bill say that it makes sure that Oklahomans who have been waiting for care are first in line. However, critics argue that it is also adding a roadblock to legally delay care for those in need.
Now, Oklahoma Human Services says it has hired a company to complete a full assessment of the waiting list.
As a result, officials say each person on the list will have their needs assessed in order to determine a valid cost estimate for services, and provide families certain resources while they wait.
“I have spent my career in service to Oklahomans living with developmental disabilities,” said OKDHS Chief of Staff and Operations, Samantha Galloway. “It has always been our goal to see the waiting list eliminated. For the first time in twenty years, I believe that goal could be fully realized. The hiring of Liberty represents a transformational opportunity for Oklahoma and is a bold step in the right direction. I am grateful to Governor Stitt and the Oklahoma Legislature for their support.”
Officials say Oklahoma is not the only state with a waiting list for these types of services, but it does have the longest wait list of nearby states.