Disabled Mississippians Ask Lawmakers To Expand Home Based Services

Many disabled Mississippians say the state is discriminating against them by not offering the services needed to live normal, productive lives. The Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities called on state lawmakers to expand opportunities for home based services.

Mark Smith, the executive director of the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, claims Medicaid spends four times as much for nursing home services than for home based care. "Predominantly if you need long term care you have to go into an institution. Even if it's basic simple needs you have - that you don't need 24 hour skilled nurses, you still have no option but to go into an institution like a nursing home," he said.

Twenty-two year old Leron Jackson has big plans for himself... law school and marriage are just a few.  But Leron has Cerebral Palsy and needs 24 hour care... something the state would pay for if he were in a nursing home. "I'm living at home with my mother and I don't think I want to stay at home with my mother. No offense to my mother but I've got to do things on my own," Jackson said.  Leron's mother appreciates the current services offered by the state, but calls them very limited.

A U-S Supreme Court ruling requires states to provide home based care for mentally disabled people who can function in society. Some lawmakers are working on legislation to fund more home based services, giving disabled individuals more independence.