The Oklahoma Department of Human Services Developmental Disabilities Services Waiting List has been years in the making. The list serves individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities and his or her family.
Oklahoma’s waiting list is not an entitlement under Medicaid, even though services are provided with Medicaid funding, but many of the services are received via OKDHS. In that manner, Division Director JoAnne Goin said services are entitlements similar to nursing home services.
A spokesman for Oklahoma's Department of Human Services says the agency is taking a "wait and see" approach when it comes to determining what effect a government shutdown could have on the agency.
Mark Beutler says most the programs using federal money are reimbursed by the government. He says that means that if the government does shut down Tuesday, it will not affect DHS immediately. He says DHS has enough cash on hand for the time being and operations will be business as usual through the rest of the week.
Census Bureau data released in September show that one in six Oklahomans were a part of a family falling below the poverty line - $19,090 for a three-person household. The figures analyzed by the Oklahoma Policy Institute show 23.8 percent of Oklahoma children live in poverty, an increase of 1.7 percent over the last five years.
The Oklahoman reports that the Department of Human Services is reorganizing its departments and department heads. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Baze will take on the role of new general counsel.
Ed Lake, DHS Director, said that this breaks new ground in the relationship with the Attorney General's office as it gives DHS access to all their resources. Baze will stay on at the Attorney General's office while heading the DHS legal staff.
The number of people on the list has risen by 24 percent since 2010, when Oklahoma had the third largest waiting list for such services in the nation, according to a University of Minnesota study. Just under half the applicants are children; most are from low-income families.