From: Overland Park, Johnson County
Impact of Budget Cuts: Reduced HCBS Services/Transportation Cuts
Senator: John Vratil (11th)
Representative: Patricia Lightner (29th)
"I really only have 4 hours of good energy a day," says Barbara. Barbara has Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and some hearing loss. Barbara has a hard time gripping objects, so it is hard for her to do many of her daily living activities. She also cannot drive, and needs someone to push her manual wheelchair and to do therapy on her joints. Barbara used to get 35 hours a week of personal care hours on the PD Waiver, but because of budget cuts and pressure from area Medicaid managers, Barbara's hours were reduced to 23 per week, and they want to cut more.
Barbara recalls that it was not long ago that she was bedridden for 3 years with kidney and other internal problems. "I thought I was going to die, but I didn't, and now I need to find a life," tells Barbara. Now she is working towards her independence, and doing as much as she possibly can. She says she would like to get a job in the future. However, currently she needs lots of in-home care to be able to stay independent and work towards her goals.
Barbara is also upset about cuts in transportation. She talked to local companies that provide rides to doctor's appointments, and they told her that they just were not getting enough reimbursement to stay in business. For people in Barbara's position, these rides are important to get to necessary appointments. As Barbara says, "If you don't have family or other help, you are in trouble."
Before acquiring her disability, Barbara worked all her life since she was 15. Barbara worked as an editor, writer, and researcher for several companies, government agencies, and some prominent politicians. Barbara is a citizen like everyone else, and needs help with daily living activities to continue her life in comfort. She is worried about what the state is doing to the disabled when cutting services, saying, "People who make the rules aren't around people with disabilities. I don't really think they understand."