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Officials alter proposed changes to benefit program

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak West Virginia House of Delegates member Patrick Lane holds a picture of 29-year-old Jeremy Abbott of Newton in Roane County, while his mother Cyglenda, speaks to people gathered Tuesday in front of the West Virginia House of Delegates Chamber at the State Capitol to protest possible West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources cuts to the Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Waiver. When Abbott was sixteen, he was involved in a traffic accident that severed his spinal cord and gave him a traumatic brain injury that has left him non-verbal.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak
Delegate Patrick Lane holds a picture of Jeremy Abbott, 29, of Newton in Roane County, while his mother Cyglenda, speaks to people gathered Tuesday in front of the West Virginia House of Delegates Chamber to protest possible cuts to a benefit program. When Abbott was 16, he was in a traffic accident that left him non-verbal.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following pressure from thousands of West Virginians, state officials are altering proposed changes to a state waiver program aimed at providing assistance to those with disabilities.

Dozens of frustrated residents clad in red shirts took to the Capitol once again Tuesday, using the opportunity to make appeals to state officials and deliver more than 11,000 signatures to the governor’s office expressing opposition to the proposed cuts to the state’s Medicaid Title XIX Home and Community Based Services Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities proposed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

In the morning, Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, held an impromptu public hearing outside the House of Delegates chamber to speak about the potential cuts. The audience, which included family members and recipients of the waiver program, as well as several state lawmakers, expressed frustration over an attempt by the DHHR to scale back the state’s waiver program.

The program provides community-based and in-home services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who would otherwise qualify for placement in an institution.

Several people who rely on the assistance the waiver provides spoke of its importance…

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