OKLAHOMA CITY – About 40 states nationwide have waiting lists for services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, said legislation he presented in the Senate on Wednesday to lay the foundation for eliminating Oklahoma’s own waiting list was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt Thursday.
Rosino, vice chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, presented House Bill 2899 in the Senate. He said it is a crucial part of a plan that will finally help address a 13 year-long waiting list for services.
“At the beginning of May, that waiting list was approaching 6,000 people. Oklahomans with disabilities and their families need and deserve these services,” Rosino said. “We’re coordinating with the Department of Human Services to truly get a handle on the scope of the needs of these individuals so we can eliminate the waiting list in a way that prioritizes and supports Oklahoma families.”
Under the leadership of Health and Human Services Secretary Justin Brown, DHS has issued two requests for proposals—one for an information technology system and the other for an assessment navigation program to help better determine the unique needs of those on the waiting list. This will enable the department to calculate a real cost estimate for the Legislature so that a plan can be developed to eliminate the waiting list. Additionally, HB 2899 requires those wanting to apply for services to first have been a resident of Oklahoma for five years.
“This five year residency requirement simply ensures that Oklahoma families are always prioritized for the services our state provides,” Rosino said.
Samantha Galloway, chief of staff and operations for DHS, said the combined steps by the agency and the Legislature will be critical for Oklahoma’s efforts to meet the needs of citizens who’ve been waiting years for services.
“Senator Rosino has been a great supporter and champion on this issue. He values Oklahoma families and wants to make sure they have the services they need to thrive,” Galloway said. “This legislation could make Oklahoma the model for much of the country in how to eliminate long-standing waiting lists for people with developmental disabilities.”
For more information, contact: Sen. Paul Rosino at 405-521-5618 or email Paul.Rosino@oksenate.gov