As a friend of many individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and an advocate for thousands of others across the state, I know how devastating the cuts to the state Department of Health and Hospitals made by the House of Representatives will be.

These budget cuts do not simply amount to administrative overhead but instead will eliminate vital services from real families who depend on minimal assistance to help them meet the challenging needs of their family members with severe disabilities.

These services are in their own homes and communities, and some may have to enter more costly institutions as a result of losing these services.

Normally my advocacy would be focused only on people with developmental disabilities, but I can?t in good conscience speak only of the devastating impact of these cuts on our population.

People with serious mental illness in the community will have to return to mental institutions, children with cystic fibrosis will lose their medical clinic, young adults with physical disabilities will have to enter a nursing home, elder abuse will not be investigated and the list goes on,

Elimination of any of the vital services provided through DHH as the House version of HB1 will require is inconceivable!

The lives of Louisiana?s most vulnerable people are now in the hands of the Senate, where hopefully their cries will be heard.

Sandee Winchell, executive director

Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council

Baton Rouge