Over 14,400 people with developmental disabilities in Louisiana are waiting over twelve years for waiver services they need now. Join the movement to End the Wait!
Waivers, such as the New Opportunities Waiver (NOW), Children’s Choice Waiver (CCW), Supports Waiver, and Residential Options Waiver (ROW), provide supports individuals with developmental disabilities need to live in their own homes and communities. With each passing year, the waiver waiting list continues to grow and the current wait for waiver services is twelve years.
Unfortunately, funding for new waiver opportunities continues to fall far short of demand. Between Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 and FY 2017, the waiting list grew by 4,500 people, but funding for only 350 new waiver slots was appropriated by the Legislature. And sadly, many of these waiver slots were never filled due to mid-year budget cuts, leaving some individuals and families in crisis situations with no other choice but to seek more costly institutional care.
Funding for additional waiver slots would help move Louisiana forward in its quest to reduce the number of people in institutional settings. Individuals with developmental disabilities supported in their own homes are afforded a better quality of life than someone in a congregate setting. Research has indicated that people with developmental disabilities living in their own homes with appropriate supports are healthier, happier and more independent than those with similar disabilities living in congregate settings. Waiver services, on average, are also more cost effective than the average cost of serving someone in an institutional setting.
Annual cost of services in a 1-8 bed residential facility (ICF/DD): $57,995 to $72,690
Annual cost of services at Pinecrest Developmental Center: $259,463
Average annual cost for a new NOW slot (approximate): $51,195
Tired of Waiting?
“A Waiting List is NOT a Service” has been the rallying cry for advocates across the state at the annual Disability Rights Day, “yellow shirt” days at the Capitol when legislators are considering funding waiver services, and when responding to LaCAN Action Alerts to email or call legislators to advocate for additional waiver slots. If you or others you know are waiting for services, join us and join the movement to End the Wait! Join LaCAN Today!
Louisiana Waiver Waiting List (Registry)
Click here to see the status of the waiting list or contact the Louisiana Waiver Registry at 1-800-364-7828 to see where you are on the waiver waiting list!
Waiver Slots Available Through Attrition
In addition to new slots funded by the legislature, waiver slots may become available to individuals through attrition. “Attrition” waiver slots are those slots that have been vacated during the fiscal year due to death of the waiver recipient, individuals moving out-of-state, or other circumstances.
According to OCDD policy, attrition waiver slots are initially reserved (up to 120 days) for persons who choose to transition from a publicly operated facility to community-based waiver services. Waivers not utilized by persons living in a public ICF/DD shall be divided between:
1. The next individual on the waiting list (registry) who is living in either a nursing facility or private ICF/DD, and
2. The next individual on the waiting list (registry) who is residing in the community.
It’s important to note that attrition slots are only filled when funding for them is available.
Institutionalization vs. Individual and Family Supports and Services
Louisiana leads the nation in the number of people per capita living in ICFs/DD. There are people living in 24 hour facilities who do not need 24 hour supports. Resources being spent on residential services could be used to support these individuals with waiver services and the cost savings could serve others on the waiting list. It is long overdue for the state to begin moving these residents into their own homes in the community where they will have more opportunities to gain independence, develop relationships and exercise self-determination in their lives.