AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Parents with adult children who are mentally disabled say proposed new state rules have them worried. Maine DHHS has issued a new set of proposed rules for how services for those clients are provided and paid for. Those rules apply to adults with intellectual disabilities and autism.
A group of parents, along with leaders of some agencies that provide services, all went to Augusta on Wednesday for a public hearing on the proposed new rules. It was the second time in the past year the issue has come up. Last winter, DHHS issued proposed rules that generated a loud protest from the legislature, and the department withdrew the rules. The new proposal is basically an effort to revise the same set of regulations.
Parents and providers complained they had not been properly involved in the whole rule-making process, something DHHS officials said isn't correct.
The parents in attendance also said the rules would make it harder for their children to get some of the services they need to stay involved in the community. Parent Kim Humphrey said her autistic son is normally pleasant, but can become difficult without his usual services.
"He deteriorates rapidly to an uncivilized way of life with aggression and skill loss if supports are inadequate,” said Humphrey. "As a result of these rules my son would be harmed."
Maine DHHS says it is not changing the commitment to those people with intellectual disabilities. In a written statement, the agency said "We are not altering the person-centered planning process, this remains the core through which individuals identify their goals and needs. This is the department working to better serve the individual.”
Parents and providers said they hope to persuade DHHS to slow down the process and alter the proposed rules.