Vital Signs newsletter: DHHS autism care draws parents to Augusta

For nearly a decade, Maine has placed hundreds of adults with intellectual disabilities on wait lists for services they’re entitled to under the MaineCare program. The delays, fueled by funding shortages, were the subject of a lawsuit and became a sticking point in the fierce debate about whether to expand MaineCare under the Affordable Care Act.

In 2013, the state budget allotted $9 million over two years to reduce the wait lists and a legal settlement reached last year forced the state to find the full necessary funding.

Now, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is changing the way it calculates how much support a person is entitled to, based on his or her disability. Families of people with autism and other intellectual disabilities told lawmakers on Wednesday that they fear major funding cuts could be imposed without the opportunity for feedback from the public or elected officials.

DHHS bid to change autism care without hearings meets opposition

Other top health stories

LifeFlight to add fixed-wing aircraft at Bangor airport

The plane will help to relieve demand for the group’s two helicopters that provide care and high-speed transportation for the critically ill and injured.

‘Killing a generation’: Mother mourns Portland overdose victim

“It is not a flowery story,” Mary Gibson said. “My son was a drug addict and a heroin addict.”

From our bloggers

Jim LaPierre, Recovery Rocks

Two Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

What saddens me is that folks often view it as something they simply have to live with – as though it’s part of their genetic makeup or an unchangeable aspect of their way of being. It’s not.

Pattie Reaves, After the Couch

The post in which I realize I don’t actually *have* to keep running

The theme of my life for the last four months since I got back to work has been S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D.

From the source

Several Maine hospitals plan to institute a safe sleep program for babies, following the deaths of five infants who suffocated while sharing a bed with their parents. Calais Regional Hospital, Maine Medical Center in Portland, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, York Hospital and The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle will apply for certification through the Cribs for Kids Certified Safe Sleep Hospital program, which educates parents about safe sleeping conditions before they bring baby home.

Compiled by BDN Health Editor Jackie Farwell

Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.