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DHR Increasing Community Services For Mentally Ill, Disabled

Armen Hareyan's picture

Over the last few years, Georgians with developmental disabilities have benefitted from the most community resources in the Department of Human Resource (DHR) history. In addition, the number of children admitted into Georgia state hospitals has decreased by 50% due to an increase in crisis stabilization services and in-home supports. Increasing the number and quality of community services for vulnerable populations, including the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, is one of five key goals of DHR.

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"By increasing community and in-home services, we are improving the health and quality of life of persons with disabilities," said Gwen Skinner, State Director for the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases. "State hospitals should be just one part of a system that includes services and facilities spread across local communities."

Provider competition has resulted in a 62% increase in community based service providers for Georgians with mental illness and developmental disabilities. In addition, crisis stabilization services for adults with mental illness have increased by 30% over the past 3 years. Georgia has also begun to build its first ever crisis stabilization beds for children and adolescents. For people with DD, Governor Sonny Perdue and the General Assembly have increased the number of community supports, helping them live independent lives in community settings. In 2005, the state legislature approved 925 new Medicaid waivers for people with developmental disabilities, an unprecedented 1,500 in 2006, and another 1,500 in 2007; 340 of these waivers were earmarked just for children. New Medicaid waivers will be further enhanced by new provisions to increase family and consumer control to take effect January 1, 2008.

In addition to increasing home and community services, other strategic DHR goals include increasing employment and self, increasing the number of Georgia's citizens who are engaging in healthy behaviors, improving the use of technology and fully engaging DHR's employees in executing the agency's vision, mission and goals.