DHHS halts changes to program for children with special needs

Posted May 27, 2016 2:54 p.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2016 3:23 p.m. EDT

DHHS seeks more efficient program for disabled children, adults

— The state Department of Health and Human Services has put proposed changes to a state program for families with special needs children on hold so officials can work with families to find a solution to meet their needs.

The agency had wanted to merge the Community Alternatives Program for Children, or CAP-C, with another program for disabled adults to improve efficiency and help people transition from one to the other as they age. Both programs provide waivers for families whose incomes don't qualify for Medicaid to receive funding from the state-federal health insurance program to provide care for relatives outside of an institutional setting.

Families complained that the merger would limit the number of slots available in the program for children with special needs and would reduce money for such things as paying for overnight nurses for a certain number of hours.

DHHS Deputy Secretary Dave Richard, who oversees the state Medicaid program, wrote a letter to affected families Friday announcing that moves toward the merger have been suspended.

"A core value of DHHS and the Medicaid program is our collaboration with stakeholders," Richard wrote. "We received more than 400 individual comments regarding the proposed policy changes for CAP/C and CAP/DA, which have helped us gain a better understanding of how changes may impact families."

State officials plan to work with families, health care providers and advocacy groups on an alternative, he said.

"Our goal is to work with the stakeholder community to address those concerns and develop policy that continues to provide support for children and adolescents served by the program within the guidelines for home- and community-based waivers and other Medicaid programs for children and adolescents," he wrote in the letter.