Kentucky mom advocates for more waiver slots as son spends years on wait list

Kentucky mom advocates for more waiver slots as son spends years on wait list
Kentucky mom Sandy Patton is upset after learning about some changes made to the state budget as it passed out of the House on Friday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Kentucky mom is upset after learning about some changes made to the state budget as it passed out of the House on Friday.

Sandy Patton said those changes not only hit her in the pocketbook, but also in the heart.

Through Kentucky Medicaid, The Michelle P Waiver program is an alternative to institutional care for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Patton said it would change her 6-year-old son’s life, but after looking at the latest working state budget, she has concerns that his wait for care could still take years.

“It’s very sad because he may be 10 or 11 years old before he gets any services, which is great then,” Patton said. “It would be really nice now to catch all the things he needs now.”

Patton said her son, who has autism, has been on the wait list for the Michelle P Waiver program for two years.

“It’s important because my son could get a lot of services he needs,” she said. “Speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy. We have private insurance, but with private insurance, it doesn’t pay super great.”

Originally, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear proposed adding 500 new slots to the Michelle P Waiver program and 100 additional spaces in Supports for Community Living Waiver services.

He said that was to serve more Kentuckians and lower the wait time for people who’ve applied for the waivers.

Now, the budget passed by the House on Friday would cut that proposal by 300 Michelle P spots to 200 over the next two years, and 50 SCL slots.

Patton said that while some slots are still being added, it’s disheartening that it’s not the full amount proposed by the governor, adding it could still be up to four more years until her son gets the help she said he needs.

“I just want to speak for my son,” she said. “My husband and I, my whole family, he’s our world and we’ll do whatever to help him.”

There are now 10,500 individuals receiving the Michelle P Waiver in Kentucky. There are still more than 7,000 on the wait list.

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