Parkersburg agency praises Justice on waiver study

CHARLESTON — A directive by the governor to study ways to eliminate the wait list in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Waiver program in West Virginia was welcomed news to a Parkersburg agency.

Gov. Jim Justice Friday directed the Department of Health and Human Resources to immediately initiate the study and to give him the options to eliminate the wait list by Jan. 15.

“We know that people who are on the waiver wait list are going without valuable programs and services every day. These supports improve their quality of life,” Liz Ford, executive director of The Arc of the Mid Ohio Valley, said. “It is imperative that they receive these supports as soon as possible.”

People with disabilities languishing on the waiver wait list are family members, friends and neighbors, she said.

“We hope this inequity will be corrected at the earliest possible date so they will be afforded the care they deserve,” Ford said.

The program allows participants a choice of receiving support and services in their home and community instead of in an institutional setting. Cost of services provided by the program is 46 percent lower than the cost of services provided by an intermediate care facility for individuals with developmental disabilities, Justice said.

By eliminating the wait list, 1,060 more West Virginians, including 606 children, will receive critical services through the waiver program, Justice said.

“Some of West Virginia’s most vulnerable men, women, and children have been on the wait list for more than four years,” Justice said. “We absolutely must find a way to eliminate the wait list so that these West Virginians can get the help and support they deserve.”

Justice also said he has directed Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch to work with Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy to include the options into the 2021 budget proposal.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.


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