Nebraska has drastically cut the waiting time for families needing services for developmentally disabled members.
Autism Family Network program director Vicki Depenbusch says it had been hard to understand regulations and difficult to fill out all the paperwork.
“As a parent of a 19-year-old son with autism, the process of receiving services for us has been very good,” Depenbusch tells reporters during a governor’s news conference. “My son now receives both rehab services as he completes his senior year at East High, but more importantly, I know as a parent that when he turns 21, those services are going to be in place for him.”
Improvements in technology and a shift in strategy have allowed the state to drastically cut the wait time. The Department of Health and Human Services says families previously had to wait nearly 70 days to even find out if they were eligible for services. That wait time has been cut to an average of 14 days.
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services CEO Courtney Phillips says state officials have been taking on some of the burden of gathering needed information.
“So they can get information from the schools or from health providers, they’re doing that,” according to Phillips. “So that is the information that is being shared across the system. If they can access information from the Medicaid team or from Children and Family Services, they’re doing that internally to help the families from having to gather that information themselves.”
DHHS says it used a number of methods to cut the wait time:
· Online Resources: Adding information about Developmental Disability services to the ACCESSNebraska website.
· Leveraging Technology: Adding the application to the ACCESSNebraska website.
· Less Paperwork: Simplifying and streamlining the application from 14 pages to 3.
Applications can even be submitted online, rather than through the old method of printing, mailing, and either mailing or faxing it.