Letter to the Editor

Impact on disabled employees

Friday, August 5, 2005

To the editor:

In response to the story "Medicaid changes may make disabled quit jobs: I am on the board of the Rolla Area Sheltered Workshop. On July 18, a survey to gather information was sent out to determine how the new Medicaid guidelines would affect our disabled employees. It was determined that 25 percent of our disabled will be forced to choose between their jobs or receiving Medicaid. If the new guidelines are implemented as written, the consequences will be devastating for the 96 workshops in Missouri.

I am legal guardian for my brother. He is employed by our workshop. He is not receiving Medicaid, but if our workshop is forced to close, he will be directly impacted.

Unless the Medicaid Reform Commission repeals the new standards, over 8,000 disabled individuals will be forced to quit their jobs. Those with developmental disabilities and their families should not be forced to make this kind of decision.

I have been involved with our workshop since my brother went to work there six years ago. The workshop provides an opportunity for our disabled to experience a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done. Our disabled get up every day and go to work. They don't complain about their disability or use it as an excuse to stay home and do nothing. They want to be productive and contribute to their community. They take great pride in what they do. Missouri should reward their courage, not penalize them.