Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson says the state faces its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression -- and it's not over. While
we're waiting to see how the math whizzes in the state legislature deal with the problem, the journalists at the Kansas Health Institute are doing some great reporting on how state budget cuts are likely to hurt real people. So far, we've recommended Dave Ranney's stories "Waiting lists for state services expected to grow" and "Man wants out of nursing home." Here's another excerpt from Ranney's series.
OLATHE -- About five years ago, Leslie Debrabander invited a woman from Johnson County Developmental Services to her home to talk about the possibility of getting services for her daughter.
Abby Debrabander, then age 5, has multiple physical and developmental disabilities.
"We talked about Abby and the services she would need and what was available," Debrabander said. "When we were through I asked her when she thought we'd get started and she said it would probably be seven or seven and a half years. I couldn't believe it."
Debrabander said she, her husband, or their two daughters, ages 15 and 12, must be with Abby, now 10, at all times.
Medicaid-funded in-home services would help them keep Abby in their home rather than placing her in a state hospital.
According to Ranney's report, the Debrabanders are one of about 1,074
Kansas families on the
state's waiting list for Medicaid-funded services for children with
developmental disabilities. About 1,200 adults with developmental
disabilities also are waiting for services.
"I don't understand this," Debrabander told Ranney. "I mean,
I know the state is short of money but they had money five years ago
and they didn't fund the services back then either. It's like they've
pushed kids like Abby to the side. It's like they don't matter. It's
Debrabander said she's tired of hearing legislators
promise to reduce the waiting list but then balk at appropriating the
"I challenge each and every one of them to spend a week in
my shoes," she said. "And Abby's easy. A lot of parents have it much
worse than we do."
Read the full story here.