Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

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Monday, January 10, 2011


Here is a resource for Wa. State residents who are disabled. It is an excerpt from the Washington Access Fund Newsletter.

Access Fund News
January, 2011

Medicaid Program Cuts - How the Access Fund can Help

The WA State Medicaid program began notifying clients in December of a revised list of 2011 program cuts. Some immediate cuts (effective January 1st, 2011) include adult eyeglasses and contacts, adult hearing aids and adult dental services (except for emergency treatments) as well as school-based services such as occupational, speech and physical therapy for special education students. 

The announcement states that 2,400 clients will be affected by the loss in coverage for adult hearing (at a savings of $300,000) and 67,000 clients will be impacted by the loss of coverage for adult vision (at a savings of $500,000). Governor Gregoire proposes to restore the cuts in the next biennial budget starting in July contingent upon legislative approval. 

We've heard via the grapevine that some DSHS clients have already had their audiology appointments cancelled because they have no way to pay for the hearing aids or related services. In response, the Access Fund has modified its loan polices to allow "pre-approvals" for hearing aid loans. This means that customers can apply for a loan prior to making an appointment with their audiologist. If approved, the customer can let the audiologist know that they have funding to cover the cost of both the appointment and the hearing aids up to the approval amount. If arranged in advance, the appointment can be paid for prior to or at the time of service. If hearing aids are prescribed, the customer would submit the prescription and invoice to the Access Fund. Once all of the loan documents are signed, the Fund will pay the vendor. The approval amount will depend upon the customer's budget. 

Pre-approvals are available for any potential customer - not just Medicaid clients. We realize that hearing aids can be expensive and many DSHS clients may not be able to afford to repay a large loan. In that situation, customers may want to contact Leann in our office to learn more about the Access Fund's Matched Savings Accounts. Other hearing aid funding sources are listed on our website at: Funding Resources for Hearing. 

Access Fund loans cannot be used for eye glasses or regular dental care but we do cover dentures and, of course, many other types of assistive technology. The interest rate is 5% and loan terms of up to five years are available. 

To read the announcement and for more updated information, please visit the WA State DSHS website. (The Access Fund website can be accessed by clicking on the title of this post.)