Governor Vilsack signed a bill into law today that is supposed to lead to improve the way government-paid services for people with disabilities are handled. Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson led the effort for the bill, which she says will be gradually phased into law. She says you can’t make the changes all at once, so they’ll be phased in over five years. She says the first thing you have to do is collect data and find our where people live, what kinds of disabilities they have. She says they currently by law aren’t required to provide services for people with a brain injury, but Pederson says they’re just as deserving. One of the biggest hurdles ahead is to get the funding to implement the changes.She says they have to create tools so there’s a way to equitably define eligibility. She says you may be eligible now for services in one county, but not in another, because they have different ways of determining eligibility. Pederson says they hope to set a standard that all 99 counties can use as a guide. She says they want to set a high quality base. She says some counties will have to come up, and they don’t want to set it so that some counties reduce services. Pederson says getting the new law was important to get everyone working in the same direction. She says this legislation is really a blueprint, so now they have an agreement on where they want to go with the system, and now it needs to be phased in. Pederson says they’re still talking with lawmakers in hopes of finding more funding to help with the implementation. The Governor signed the bill today at a Des Moines center that helps people with behavioral disorders.
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