The Louisiana Department of Health says they are ending a 25-year-old waiting list for people with developmental disabilities in need of home-based medical support and personal care assistance.

LDH's Deputy Secretary, Dr. Mark Thomas, says the new plan prioritizes the needs of people instead of the date they applied for services.
"I've had the opportunity to talk with families who waited 10 years and some who were in an immediate crisis and that's what this does, it identifies those who are most at risk in losing their home place, said Thomas.
Over two years ago, LDH's Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities began a screening process to evaluate the needs of the more than 10,000 individuals who were on a waiting list for services.
Thomas says each case was given a score to determine the urgency of need for waiver services. He says five levels of need, or tiers, were created.
"If they are determined eligible and they are in the urgent or emergent need category, they can receive services ASAP," said Thomas.
Previously, these community-based services were offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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