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Oklahoma agency makes headway toward ending 13-year waitlist for disability services

Oklahoma Human Services is getting closer to addressing its 13-year Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) waitlist as it works to connect a fifth group of 899 people to services.

DDS services include things like caregivers, transportation and job coaches for Medicaid-eligible Oklahomans with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

The Legislature appropriated $32.5 million to end a waitlist of nearly 5,000 applicants and increase provider rates in 2022. The DDS Division separated applicants into seven cohorts based on when they joined the waitlist.

It is currently working to connect with applicants from its fifth cohort, which includes people who joined the waitlist between February 2016 and May 2019. Over one-third of the applicants from the fifth cohort are either receiving or are approved to receive services.

The rest are pending, not pursuing services, no longer need services or the division couldn’t connect with them.

Oklahoma DDS waitlist progress for Cohort 5.
Oklahoma Human Services
Oklahoma DDS waitlist progress for Cohort 5.

Nearly 1,800 families have been approved or are receiving services since work on the waitlist began.

“We continue to fulfill our promise to connect families with services,” said Oklahoma Human Services’ Director Dr. Deborah Shropshire in a news release. “Cohort 5 signifies almost 350 more families for whom the wait is finally over.”

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Jillian Taylor reports on health and related topics for StateImpact Oklahoma.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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