By: Leah Campbell
Executive Director, Apple Patch

Our most vulnerable citizens, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, have been left behind for more than a decade by Kentucky legislators making budget allocations. Now the disabled risk losing critical services that enable them to lead dignified, fulfilling lives.

Medicaid's Support for Community Living waiver reimbursement rates haven't increased in 14 years, and my nonprofit agency's ability to support these individuals in living independent and meaningful lives is in immediate jeopardy.

Across the state, providers are downsizing or closing due to inadequate funding.

Supporting people with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities should be a respected and honored career that merits a living wage, but with reimbursement rates stagnant for 14 years, this is impossible.

The angels that make up our direct support professional staff do not do it for the money -- but we have run out of angels.

Think about this: Minimum wage was $5.15 in 2004. We, as service providers, cannot attract and retain staff with 2004 reimbursement rates.

Apple Patch -- and all providers across the Commonwealth -- are being forced to make difficult decisions that will have a devastating impact on the thousands of disabled people supported by the SCL Medicaid Waiver.

It's imperative that our legislators ensure reimbursement rates are increased so that providers like Apple Patch and so many others can keep our doors open and continue providing life-saving services for Kentucky's most vulnerable citizens.

I'm Leah Campbell…and that's my Point of View.

Apple Patch describes itself as "a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity that provides services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in greater Louisville, Ky."

Copyright 2018 by WDRB Media. All rights reserved.