NC Waitlist For Services Grows To 14,000, Sparks Pushback

NC Waitlist For Services Grows To 14,000, Sparks Pushback

9:30pm Mar 08, 2020
Aadi Chaudhary, 7, holds his father Dipendra Chaudhary's hand as he speaks to the crowd about his experiences with the unmet needs list. Aadi has been on the list for five years, and his father says he's worried for his son's future. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

Advocates pushing for a swifter response from the state for patients with intellectual and physical disabilities gathered in downtown Winston-Salem Saturday with a message they hope to spread statewide.

More than 14,000 people in North Carolina are on a waiting list for what’s called an innovation waiver, a Medicaid-matched program that helps with services like transportation and in-home care.

Advocates say there are about 800 people in Forsyth County alone on the list. Over a quarter of them have been waiting for more than 10 years. Now they’re speaking up to encourage legislators to move more quickly in getting those needs met.

Matthew Potter has cerebral palsy. He says without help he fears that he and many others could end up institutionalized instead of living independently.

“I want everybody who is not familiar with this system and how scary everything is to look at me and listen to me and know that I graduated from Wake Forest University and make money as an independent contractor and know that because of the way our system works that's not what everybody sees,” he says.

Bill Donohue is a parent advocate for his adult son, Jeremy. He's hoping the Winston-Salem meeting will be the start of a network of people on the unmet needs list to create a stronger voice for lawmakers to hear.

"They have kicked the can down the road for so long," he says. "And it's a bipartisan issue. It's a multi-generational issue, and it's a national issue." 


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