Protest at the Capitol helps folks with disabilities

Protest at the Capitol helps folks with disabilities
Protest at the Capitol helps folks with disabilities(Valeria Fugate)
Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:52 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As we get closer to summer, some folks are already thinking about vacations and trips they’d like to take.

But what if you needed help, and what if a rule stopped someone from getting paid for giving you the support you needed?

On Tuesday, protesters came to the Capitol steps asking for equality for persons with disabilities.

Folks with disabilities and service providers are asking for a change in the language that would help folks with disability lead a more normal life.

They say under the current Developmental Disabilities Division guidelines, the language for services states persons with disabilities must be “in residence” to receive care and coverage.

The problem starts when folks want to engage in community activities outside their cities or states to visit family, do activities or go on vacation.

These rules stop folks from receiving the help they need or their support staff from getting compensated for assistance outside their residence.

So if support staff does currently help, what happens?

“We just dont get paid...” said Tehla Bates Stayer, owner of Treasure Abilities.

“To fund it,, that’s how we fund, to be able to pay our staff to do it. If we can’t fill it, we can’t pay for it, and our staff certainly aren’t going to do it for free. So it’s going to fall back on us directly,” said Bates.

But according to the Wyoming Department of Health Division of Health Care Finance document, it says...

“Services must be furnished in a residential setting that meets the home and community-based setting requirements and includes 24-hour on-site response capability to meet scheduled or unpredictable resident needs and to provide supervision, safety and security.

We reached out to the Wyoming Department of Health, and they said ...

“Our staff have been aware of some potential confusion regarding rules for provider support during travel for some time and have been working to make that more clear for providers and our clients. We’ve received feedback and questions and have been looking at how we can both be flexible and follow both state and federal rules,” said Kim Deti from the Wyoming Department of Health.

This miscommunication may have a simple solution to help folks with disability lead normal productive lives.

”We need that wording to be changed so we can continue to provide services no matter what community we’re doing and teaching them living skills no matter where we are at,” said Kim Elfering- Owner of Cheyenne Habilitation Therapeutic Center.

The Home and Community-based services put out a statement earlier today stating they are reviewing the rules and will put out a public comment over the next couple of months to comply with the services provided.

We will keep you updated as this story progresses.