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Health and Family Services Cabinet
New Program Provides Further Flexibility to Serve Kentuckians under KyHealth Choices

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 05, 2007  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Vikki Franklin, (502)564-6786  

Federal Agency Approves Medicaid Waiver for Enhanced Community Services
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved a new Medicaid waiver that will increase Kentucky's ability to provide community services to individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities through KyHealth Choices.

"This program will provide broader opportunities for individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities by building on successes of the KyHealth Choices program," said Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. "This waiver gives CHFS the flexibility to use our resources in a more effective and efficient manner to serve these individuals."

The 1915C waiver, approved Aug. 29, will provide non-residential supports and services needed by individuals with mental retardation or developmental disabilities to enable them to live safely in the community, rather than in institutions. Individuals served by Optimum Choices—the KyHealth Choices plan designed to serve individuals with these diagnoses—will experience a broader range of options for supportive care in the community as a result of this new program.

The program will first serve the approximately 3,000 individuals on the Supports for Community Living waiting list. Those individuals may choose to stay on the waiting list for residential services while receiving these community supports. However, in the first year of the program, Medicaid may provide services for up to 10,000 people. In each of the following two years, the capacity to serve 2,000 more people will be added.

The new waiver program will provide home and community based services (personal care, homemaker services, respite, adult day health, attendant care and minor home adaptations), case management services, behavioral supports, community living supports, supported employment and adult day training. Individuals must meet the level of care criteria for placement in an Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded (ICF-MR) and may receive up to 50 hours of services each week. 

"This marks tremendous progress in offering a full continuum of care and allowing Kentuckians served by KyHealth Choices the freedom to receive supports at home rather than in institutions," said Shawn M. Crouch, commissioner of Medicaid. "In the coming months, we will be working with the advocacy community and other agencies and departments both inside and outside the Cabinet as we determine the best way to implement this program."

The waiver fulfills a portion of the 2006 settlement agreement between CHFS and Protection and Advocacy to resolve the "Michelle P" class action lawsuit, filed in 2002 and alleging that Kentucky failed to provide adequate community services. 


Last Updated 9/5/2007