Budget cuts lead to changes in state home health waiver program - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Budget cuts lead to changes in state home health waiver program

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Budget cuts are leading to a major change in one state program. The Elderly and Disabled Medicaid Waiver provides in-home assistance like housekeeping and cooking to certain low income and disabled patients. The aim is to allow those patients to stay at home and out of long term care facilities.

But the Alabama Department of Public Health will lay off 600 employees that are part of the program because the state legislature cut millions in matching funds. The Department of Senior Services, which manages the program, will contract with private companies for the services.

"Not only will it save the state millions of dollars, but it will also continue the services to these individuals," said Commissioner Neal Morrison. "No services that are existing today will be cut."

"It gives us an opportunity to try and transition out of providing the direct services," said Dr. Don Williamson, State Health Officer. "We don't have the money for the match. And Senior Services can't use our folks and do it for the same cost."

The state will work with private providers to try and place as many as possible of the 600 current workers with new jobs.

About 3,200 patients are served by the program, and there is a waiting list. For more information on the changes, you can call the Department of Senior Services at (334) 242-5743.

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