Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2016

Contact Julie Naughton, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-1695 or  (cell) 402-405-7202,

DHHS Seeks Input from Stakeholders on Medicaid Waivers for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
Stakeholder Meeting to be April 26

Lincoln – Courtney Phillips, CEO of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the DHHS Divisions of Developmental Disabilities and the Medicaid and Long-Term Care are seeking input from individuals they serve, their families, guardians, advocates, providers, and other stakeholders on three Medicaid home and community-based waivers going through the federal renewal process.  Two waivers provide services for adults with developmental disabilities and one provides services for children with developmental disabilities.

“These divisions are working together and with our partners to develop services that best meet the needs of those we serve,” said Phillips.  “We have a renewed commitment to make government better and more customer-focused for the citizens of Nebraska.”
And DHHS’s partners are responding positively. “Our recommendations for more family and community involvement in the planning process has been greeted with positive feedback and quick action,” said Mike Tufte, executive director of PTI Nebraska, a statewide resource for families of children with disabilities or special health care needs. PTI Nebraska is also the home of the Family to Family Health Information Center (F2FHIC). “The creation of the workgroups has been a welcome change and we can see the benefits already.  We are excited to continue to work with Courtney and the all new leadership at DHHS and DD for a more efficient and family-friendly system."

The next monthly stakeholder meeting will be held on Tues., Apr. 26 from 10 am to noon in Lower Level D at the Nebraska State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall South. A call-in option is also available at 888-820-1398, attendee code 5879928#.  Future stakeholder sessions will be held on May 19, June 28 and July 26.

"We work better when we work together, and our team is excited to partner with our sister division to hear directly from stakeholders as we work to redesign and improve our collective system of supports and services for people with disabilities," said Calder Lynch, director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care.

Courtney Miller, director of the Department of Developmental Disabilities, said DHHS is committed to a transparent, inclusive approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities ahead.  “In addition to our work on the Medicaid waivers, we are taking a complete inventory of our developmental disability service system, which has become a road map to necessary improvements,” said Miller. “Last fall, we held nine town hall-style forums, and we have had conversations with families, friends, providers and advocates – critical voices associated with the programs that serve Nebraskans with developmental disabilities.
Miller said key priorities are directed at the basic principles of a focus on person-centered customer service, improving access and service availability while assuring basic safeguards, improving fiscal and program accountability and performance, honoring individualization, and promoting consumer choice and self-determination. “Our agency mission is to help people live better lives, and this process is dedicated to fulfilling this mission for those we serve,” continued Miller.

Stakeholder workgroups have also been established on:  application and eligibility, health and safety, person-centered planning, prioritization and wait list, provider involvement, quality improvement, and service definitions.

Information from stakeholders will be used in the waiver applications that will be submitted for approval by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services. Updates will also be given at the stakeholder meeting regarding DHHS Divisions of Developmental Disabilities, Medicaid and Long-Term Health, Children and Family Services, and Behavioral Health.

“We have a team of incredibly dedicated and talented professionals within DHHS who, based on their experiences and the information from our comprehensive review, are eager to tackle the opportunities before us,” said Miller. The department is seeking input into two Medicaid home and community-based waivers for adults with developmental disabilities, and one for children with developmental disabilities, which are going through the federal renewal process.

More information about the Medicaid waiver initiative can be found at