LITTLE ROCK, AR (STL.News) The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) will be adding 700 families to the program that provides in-home and community-based services to Arkansans who are eligible for assistance through Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS), Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at a press conference Thursday.
“This is a significant initiative for these families,” Governor Hutchinson said. “The clients will receive assistance with the day-to-day tasks that most of us perform without thinking about them. This offers them a new level of independence.”
The additional slots will be funded through a new premium tax in the Provider-Led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE) program and added to the Community and Employment Supports (CES) Waiver program, known as the DD waiver. PASSE has already brought in about $15 million to fund slots in this program.
Clients in the program can live in their homes and communities rather than in an institution because of the services provided, including supported living, adaptive equipment, specialized medical supplies, and supported employment. These services are aren’t included under traditional Medicaid programs.
This is the second time Governor Hutchinson and DHS have expanded the number of people in the program. In 2016, the Tobacco Settlement Fund Commission agreed to allocate unspent funds to cover 500 new slots.
“We are so excited to be able to provide services to so many more families, many of whom have been waiting for years to be a part of this program,” said DDS Director Melissa Stone. “I appreciate the help of the Governor, the Legislature, and the PASSEs to move this forward.”