I was allowed to attend the therapy cap workgroup meeting today, and I have some news to share, including some new opportunities to get involved.
First of all, I want to say this. As much as we parents and providers are against cuts, I got the impression that the people who have been working on this for months (as part of this workgroup) are people who care. From the little time I spent with them, I realized that these are people whose children are in therapy, whose children have developmental delays; they are people who sit down at the table and struggle with their kids doing homework for 3 hours every night; they are therapists and providers who actively treat our kids. They can’t necessarily understand our unique situations, but I think they personally witness that therapy really is improving the lives of kids in Arkansas.
That being said, you can be sure that I communicated many things on your behalf. I reported parents’ concerns that this will negatively impact their children and therapist/provider concerns that their expertise and training is undervalued, along with the fear that this process will not be successful. I took direct questions with me that I received from parents and providers.
This is by no means an official quote, but the workgroup’s belief is that they are working to prevent a worse outcome. Apparently the need for budget reduction has been a directive initiated by previous governors. Unfortunately, my understanding is that budget reduction, or “therapy cuts,” are going to happen whether we, as parents and concerned citizens, have a hand in it or whether it’s handed to us. I vote that we should get a voice in the matter. Each one of us would say that we don’t want cuts, which I definitely communicated. BUT if we must accept change, we need to help them come to the best solution possible.
- They are actively considering data to decide if the state can still save money while pushing the cap to 120 minutes.
- They are analyzing what other states are doing “well” to utilize funds. We may or may not like what the data shows.
- They said they have more work to do.
Here are the opportunities to take action:
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED:
Please send your comments and questions before November 13, 2016. Melissa.Stone@dhs.arkansas.gov
HEALTH REFORM LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE MEETING
open to the public
Monday, October 24, 2016
10 am – 5 pm
Room A, MAC Building
I think the work group may be presenting a report at this? Not sure.
If you can’t go, I have heard that State Rep. David Meeks live streams it on his twitter account:
OPEN MEETING FOR THERAPISTS & PROVIDERS
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
At this meeting, the workgroup, led by DDS Director Melissa Stone, will present the data that has guided their decision making for this proposal. Therapists and Providers will be able, in their own educated and experienced words, be able to ask direct questions. I really hope our group Medicaid Saves Lives will have some people who will go and report what they learn back to us!
Therapy Association Representation in Workgroup
The therapists present today invited all therapists to contact their respective associations to send comments to the workgroup. I know a lot of you have great comments and questions, so be sure to send those and have them ready to share at the meeting on 10/25/16.