OKLAHOMA CITY – The Fiscal Year 2023 state budget agreement includes $32.5 million to completely eliminate the 13-year waiting list for some 5,000 individuals seeking developmental disability services. Sen. Paul Rosino, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, said the investment would improve the lives of thousands of Oklahomans.
“I believe this is one of the most important pieces of legislation this year and probably for decades to come. Most people are on the waiting list 13 years, and we’re now trying to implement a plan that would get most people off of that list in 18 to 24 months,” said Rosino, R-Oklahoma City. “This is about ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens have access to services they need and deserve.”
Rosino said the third-party assessments that began last September to determine individual needs of everyone on the list and the actual cost of eliminating the waiting list was a critical component of finally addressing this long-standing need. He said the $32.5 million investment represents the largest single funding increase to developmental disabilities in the history of the state. The plan also includes a 25 percent increase to providers to ensure there are enough of them to deliver the services needed.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said the appropriations boost would mean a tremendous difference in the lives of those who’ve been waiting years for services.
“This is a game-changer for our entire state,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “I want to thank Senator Rosino for his leadership and compassion on this important issue, and his dedication to helping Oklahomans with developmental disabilities to live better lives.”
Rep. Mark Lawson is the chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Human Services.
"There are thousands of Oklahomans who need these services today, but unfortunately, they've been left in limbo for 13 years," said Lawson, R-Sapulpa. "It's past time to connect people with the services they need, and to do that, we must take concrete steps to eliminate the waiting list and provide the necessary funding to help thousands of our citizens live in dignity."
For more information, contact: Sen. Paul Rosino at 405-521-5618 or email Paul.Rosino@oksenate.gov.