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Waiver commitment wavering

The family of Skylar Overman say her condition has worsened and her position on a Medicaid waiver waiting list remains unchanged.

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

Three months ago we heard from an Alexander mom who fears her daughter will likely die before she ever gets off a Medicaid waiver waiting list.

We now know how many people on that list have died since January of 2013.

This spring there was a lot of hope for the thousands of Arkansas families on this long waiting list as Governor Hutchinson said reducing that list was a priority.

In March we met Lindsey Overman and her ten year-old daughter Skylar.

"She was born with a rare medical neurological condition called schizencephaly," Overman told us.

In the past three month's Skylar's condition has worsened.

Last month she had surgery to relieve pressure on her brain and her family is paying $400.00 a month just for transportation to and from a summer program.

A Medicaid waiver would help with the costs that go along with at-home care for children with disabilities.

Skylar remains #754 on the waiver waiting list.

"You know I used to think that they would get people off and they would find ways to help people get off waiver but I don't know if she'll have it in her lifetime," laments Overman.

There are nearly 3,000 families in Arkansas like the Overmans who have applied for a Medicaid waiver and are stuck on the waiting list.

In March Governor Hutchinson announced a plan to cut the number in half within three years.

But his plan was dependent on lawmakers going along with a managed care proposal in the recently completed special session.

They did not.

"Right now it has just kind of stagnated," says Justin Nickels with the Arkansas Waiver Association. "There doesn't seem to be any true interest in helping these people get off the waiting list."

Nickels says the families involved don't have time to worry about the actions or inactions of politicians.

"They're still having to help do all these things for their families every day that they were going to do no matter what," says Nickels.

The new numbers compiled by legislative audit also show that in the past 39 months the Medicaid waiver waiting list has grown by 700 people.

On Tuesday a legislative committee discussed the developmentally disabled who live in group settings.

But those who live at home who have applied for help via a waiver did not come up.

Air date: June 15th, 2016

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