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Getting Involved with the Medicaid Client Voice Council
Find your seat at the table. Let your voice be heard. By Jon Taylor
There are countless sayings about the consequences of inaction. Here’s a few:
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” - Theodore Roosevelt
“We constantly change the world, even by our inaction. Therefore, let us change it responsibly.” – Benjamin Franklin
“We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas.” – Mona Flanders
I tend to sum up it this way: If you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you do something, something will happen. It may not be exactly what you hoped, but something better than nothing.
When it comes to taking action in civic life there are lots of ways to get involved. One way is to join a public board or commission. This morning the Arkansas Department of Human Services is launching a Medicaid Client Voice Council.
“DHS is seeking clients or caregivers of clients from across the state to serve on the council. Council members are required to be enrolled in at least one Medicaid program. Those programs could include ARKids, ARChoices, Arkansas Works, traditional Medicaid, the PASSE program, and services for people with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities as well as those receiving mental health or substance abuse services.
“This council mirrors a similar, successful effort in Colorado,” said DHS Secretary Cindy Gillespie. “Clients in Colorado have been able to help shape statewide goals, suggest solutions for common problems, redirect agency focus and resources, and make programs more accessible and equitable. Those are some of the things we believe the Medicaid Client Voice Council can accomplish here in Arkansas as well.”
The council will meet every other month, with the goal of improving the quality and delivery of Medicaid services for all Arkansans by learning from the experiences and hearing the ideas of the people DHS serves. Clients will help set the agenda for meetings, have opportunities to present ideas and question DHS staff, and offer feedback on policy changes.
Clients and caregivers can apply online (ar.gov/clientvoice) to participate, or they can pick up an application at any DHS county office. Applicants should have both the time and the desire to serve. Council members will be paid a stipend per meeting and reimbursement for transportation costs to and Little Rock (if necessary).”
DHS is looking for a wide array of representation from the various programs across Arkansas. If you meet the criteria, if you have the time (it’s only every other month!), and if you want your voice to be heard, apply now. THE APPLICATION IS ONLY SIX QUESTIONS. If you have been looking for a way to get involved, here it is.
Too often we look back at lost opportunities with regret. Join the Medicaid Client Voice Council. Find your seat at the table. Let your voice be heard. Apply now.
About the Executive Director
Prior to joining Council staff, Jon was a retail field manager with a decade of successful experience in competitive, integrated employment. Over the last several years Jon has taken a progressively larger role in disability inclusion in Arkansas. He is currently the Co-Chair of Disability: In Arkansas and is the incoming Chair of the State Rehabilitation Council. In 2018 Jon was the recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award for his work promoting and advocating the inclusion of Arkansas with disabilities into the workplace and community. Jon, his wife, and three children live in Conway.
About the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities
The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representatives from nonprofit organizations that serve Arkansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, browse more pages on this website GCDD.arkansas.gov, or call 501-682-2897. Follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter @gcddar. You can also find Arkansas GCDD on YouTube.
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