Developmental disability changes approved

Several changes related to services for individuals with developmental disabilities were approved under a bill passed May 18.

Sen. Merv Riepe
Sen. Merv Riepe

LB333, introduced by Ralston Sen. Merv Riepe, originally would have eliminated the state’s short-term disability program. Those provisions were amended out of the bill on general file.

Instead, the bill includes provisions of LB495, introduced by Riepe, which clarifies funding priorities for individuals who are eligible for services through the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Medicaid and community-based services waiver.

The bill updates definitions for developmental and intellectual disabilities and pauses for two years a state entitlement program for high school graduates with developmental disabilities under the waiver program.

Also included are provisions of Riepe’s LB417, which require DHHS to develop and implement a quality management and improvement plan for services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

The plan will rely on data gathered by independent evaluators collected from people who receive services and their families. It will be delivered to the Legislature by Sept. 30, 2017, and – beginning in 2018 – annual reports regarding outcomes and improvement priorities will be provided.

• The bill also requires that representatives of the following organizations be added to the state Advisory Committee on Developmental Disabilities:
• Nebraska’s designated protection and advocacy organization;
• the Nebraska Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities; and
• the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disability Education, Research and Service.

LB333 passed on a vote of 48-0.

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