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Winter 2002 Table of Contents
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Don't Miss This Opportunity!!!

By David Wiley, Transition Specialist, TSBVI, Texas Deafblind Outreach

In the last edition of SEE/HEAR, Stephen Schoen, with the Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS), reported on current opportunities for community services that are available through the Deaf-Blind Multiple Disabilities Medicaid Waiver. Steve is the administrator of the DB-MD Medicaid Waiver Program.

I wanted to emphasize that for young people with deafblindness and their families, there is, right now, a unique opportunity to receive extremely valuable community services with little or no wait.

What is the opportunity?

Texans can receive services from the DB-MD Waiver specifically designed to provide support at the home of a person who is deafblind with multiple disabilities. This can be the home of the person's family, the person's own home, or a small group living arrangement in the community. These services provide the support a person needs to live in the community, or can assist families who continue serving as the person's primary caregivers.

This Program has the flexibility to meet individual need. People who are deafblind with multiple disabilities, or families, receive only the support they need and want, from minimal to more extensive help, including 24-hour care in the community. Once a person enters the Program, services can continue for life, and be modified or expanded as the needs of the person or family change. There is no family income eligibility requirement, as is the case with many programs.

Who should act now?

If there is an individual in your family who is deafblind with an additional disability, and who will always need support and assistance at home and in community, put his or her name on the DB-MD Interest List now. The DB-MD Waiver is for individuals age 18 and over, but people of all ages should have their names on the Interest List. Services for individuals over 18 can begin as soon as eligibility has been established, while those under 18 will be in line to receive services after meeting the age requirement. It is also important for young children to be on the Interest List, because information about the number of individuals who are deafblind with multiple disabilities requiring support will help policy makers plan for future needs. In addition, if there is a policy change regarding the age at which services may begin, younger people on the list will be in a better position to begin services immediately.

Advocates for young people who are deafblind with multiple disabilities should also act. Teachers, caseworkers, and friends should inform families about this opportunity, encourage them to contact TDHS about the DB-MD Waiver and, if assistance is needed, help them complete the Interest List Survey Form (Project Service Link) that will place the name of the deafblind individual in their family on the DB-MD Interest List. The initial paperwork is minimal.

Why act now?

While most Medicaid funded programs have extensive waiting lists, new funding from the Texas Legislature is available to the DB-MD Waiver Program now. After TDHS has been contacted, and the Interest List Survey Form has been completed, services can be quickly initiated for eligible applicants. Current information about people interested in the Program, regardless of age, will help ensure that services continue to be available in the future.

For more about the DB-MD Waiver Program, read Steve Schoen's article in the Fall 2001 Edition of SEE/HEAR. An electronic version is on TSBVI's website at http://www.tsbvi.edu/Outreach/seehear/fall01/waiver.htm. You'll soon be able to find additional information about the DB-MD Waiver on TSBVI's website by following the Texas Deafblind Project link at http://www.tsbvi.edu/Outreach/deafblind/index.htm. Steve can also be contacted directly at (512) 438-2622, or stephen.schoen@dhs.state.tx.us

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Last Revision: July 30, 2002