Thursday, February 4, 2016

End the Wait Now

Disability Day on the Hill in Nashville

Allison Donald
By Allison Donald

About 6,240 people are waiting to receive home and community based services in Tennessee, while 280,000 working Tennesseans are without healthcare, including 24,000 veterans and many people with disabilities.  Tennessee must ensure that people with disabilities have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

During Disability Day on the Hill, Nashville becomes the epicenter for this conversation for advocates of people with disabilities and their representatives.  These face-to-face meeting are essential in the fight to ensure that people with disabilities have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

I attended the Disability Day on the Hill from Memphis. Each representative that I visited pledged their support for legislation that would commit government resources to expand long term supports and services for all individuals with disabilities.

In conjunction with that, advocates are also asking for increased employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  State data show that 83% of families consider employment in the community to be important for their family member in the community.  There is also a strong push in favor of creating a waiver for individuals with developmental disabilities that is comparable to those with intellectual disabilities.

The time is now that the disability community of Tennessee hold these elected officials accountable so that people with disabilities may have access to affordable healthcare, viable employment and the creation of the developmental disabilities waiver.