Nationwide, many disabled people rely on home and community based services provided by Medicaid. There are 820,000 disabled people on waiting lists for home and community-based services nationwide. 40% of those waiting for services are under the age of 65. The wait can sometimes last a decade or more.
In Colorado, Medicaid cuts are impacting the home and community based services people need. Despite Medicaid cuts, some providers such as BehaviorSpan and Pediatric Psychology programs of Colorado, provide all of their services. Dr. Nichole Swann understands how this is affecting people, but she went on to say that, despite budget cuts, they are working diligently to evaluate accessibility for those with disabilities. Swann believes that disability services should be treated similarly to medical care in terms of what Medicaid should still cover.
“Some are withdrawing due to Medicaid cutting down in the reimbursement cost, and what we could see is up to two to three years for kids to get diagnoses,” according to Dr. Swann, who is a Licensed Psychologist.
According to Dr. Swann, Pediatric Psychology Services of Colorado is unique in that it is a multidisciplinary practice. It means they are providing mental health care, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and ABA therapy in the same facility. Due to the variety of services they provide, each employee goes through thorough training to ensure that children receive the best possible care.
Dr. Swann notes that the number of people who use their services has increased; from Grand Junction to Montrose, many people come to Pediatric Psychology Services of Colorado for disability service. Grand Junction, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, and Clifton are the four locations.
Millions of disabled people nationwide rely on Medicaid to live in their communities. Cuts to Medicaid coverage would mean their lives would change in an instant. The loss of Medicaid coverage would be even more devastating as they could potentially lose all of the services that allow them to live in the community.
Brown, Jennifer. “Autism Centers Are Leaving Colorado, Landing Kids on Waitlists While Therapists Beg for Better Pay Rates.” The Colorado Sun, 24 July 2023, coloradosun.com/2023/07/24/autism-center-closures-medicaid/.