Man concerned about possible DHS cuts

Man concerned about possible DHS cuts

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - A Duncan man is wondering if this is his last month is his house after Oklahoma DHS announced a possible end to the Advantage Waiver program.

This service helps pay for the elderly and those with disabilities to continue living in their own homes instead of nursing homes.

David Jones said he is in shock after getting the news from his case manager. The program has allowed him to live on his own, despite his MS for the past 18 years.

Advantage Waiver provides David Jones' meals, some of his medications, along with home health care.

"I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have that," Jones said.

The possible cuts are making him wonder what he'll do, and that's something he hasn't figured out yet.

"My parents are in their 80's," Jones said. "And I don't have any other family in town."

He said his main option is to move into a nursing home.

"And that's not something I want to do," Jones said.

Jones believes it's not something the 21,000 Oklahomans using this service want to do either.

Ronnie Ward, the Executive Director of Association of South Central Oklahoma Government said if the cuts happen, the state will be paying for them to live in nursing homes which will be more expensive than the program and could come with other problems.

"There are not enough bed in existence right now," Ward said. "If everybody who participates in the Advantage program had to go to a nursing home, there are not enough beds in Oklahoma. They'd fill them up many times over."

Even if there was enough room, that's one place Jones does not want to be.

"I can sleep when I want to or eat when I want to," Jones said. "I am still able to do the things that I want to do."

The Communications Director for DHS said there is a chance that people who qualify for the program will also qualify for Medicaid assistance to pay for them to stay in a nursing home. Letters for that will go out November 20th.

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