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Dear Wanda

Dear Wanda,

I have been hearing about the “Waiver Renewal”, but I don’t really understand what that means. Will it impact the waiting list or services?

Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned,
The Home and Community Based Waivers are developed by the State and approved/authorized by the Federal Government through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a period of 5 years. Right now, the Bureau of Autism Services and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) are reviewing and taking comments on the programs in order to make changes. The Adult Autism Waiver is due for renewal July of 2016. The Consolidated and Person Family Directed Supports Waiver are due for renewal in July 2017. Over the course of the next year, individuals with disabilities and families should communicate their opinions and recommendations to ODP to improve the programs or make suggestions about how the current services are working, what additional services you would like, changes to the waiting list policy, improvement to the Individuals Support Planning process or any other issues that are important to you.
Now is your opportunity to influence how the programs will be designed for the next 5 year period, so don’t hesitate to contribute.
I hope you speak up,

Dear Wanda,
I am a parent of a 23 year old with autism. He is on their “interest list”. How long will I wait? What can I do?
Feeling Frustrated,
Determined Dad

Dear Determined,
The Bureau of Autism Services uses a first come – first served process for enrollment into the Adult Autism Waiver. They only serve about 500 people right now and have a waiting list of nearly 2,000. Last year, they got funding to serve an additional 100 people. At that rate, it will take nearly 20 years to serve the people on the list now — and unfortunately the census numbers show that there will be more than 70,000 adults in PA with autism at that time (see chart below). Number of adults with autism in PA:
2015 = 17,075
2020 = 36,261
2025 = 58,746
2030 = 73,592
You can advocate for your son and others on the “interest list” by contacting the Governor, your State Senator and State Representative about your situation. You can use our advocacy materials from our website or contact us to help you prepare to meet with legislators. You can follow us on Facebook and join our mailing list so you can be informed about our advocacy efforts to end the waiting for people with autism. You can spread the word to your family and friends and ask them to participate in our advocacy efforts.

We are here to help,