Campaign Priorities

The 37th Annual Key Campaign will take place over a virtual platform from February 19th through 23rd. Contact Michele Girault at 907-433-4705 for more information on how you can be a part of Key Campaign 2024.

2024 Campaign Priorities


Priority 1: Continue the work of eradicating the Waitlist for Developmental Disability Services

Key Coalition of Alaska asks the Alaska State Legislature to continue to monitor the progress of fully implementing the plan to eradicate the waitlist (HB 281 – 2022).

Priority 2: Support Initiatives that address social determinants of health

Key Coalition of Alaska asks the Alaska State Legislature to strengthen the state’s transportation infrastructure by:

1. Supporting funding for Human Services Transportation (included in the Governor’s original budget proposal)
2. Adding $1 million for Transit Match Funding


Priority 3: Invest in Community Behavioral Health Services

Key Coalition of Alaska asks the Alaska State Legislature to Increase the state’s investment in community behavioral health services by:

1. Supporting a $13 million request to close the gap from a delayed rate increase
2. Enacting a 1% increase in Medicaid spending (approx. $26 million/year) to bolster current community behavioral health rates until a new long-term rate methodology is created.

2023 Campaign Priorities


Priority 1: Waitlist: Ensure the Five-year Plan to Eliminate the Waitlist Happens

Key Coalition of Alaska asks the Alaska Legislature to fund a $647,800 increment to Alaska Department of Health Senior and Disabilities Services to implement the DD Waitlist Plan.


Priority 2: Flexibility: Encourage a Participant Directed Services Pilot Project

Key Coalition of Alaska asks the Alaska Legislature to encourage the Department of Health Senior and Disabilities Services to develop a Participant-Directed Services pilot project.


Priority 3: Funding: Create Sustainability Through Rate Reform

Key Coalition of Alaska asks the Alaska Legislature to support funding to address serious process flaws in the Medicaid reimbursement rates.


Priority 4: Workforce: Prioritize Living Wages and Certification for Direct Support Professionals

Key Coalition of Alaska asks the Alaska Legislature to:
1. Prioritize DSP Living Wages in DD Waitlist reform efforts.
2. Make the current DSP certification pilot an ongoing part of training options for DSPs.

2022 Campaign Priorities


Priority 1: Place Re-Basing Language in State Statute

Agencies that provide Home and Community Based (HCB) support services receive reimbursement from Medicaid. Rates in the State of Alaska have not been adjusted (re-based) to adequately fund HCB services in many years. We are asking the State Legislature to place re-basing language in statute, rather than regulation, similar to statute language for hospitals and nursing homes.


Priority 2: Eradicate the Waitlist for Developmental Disabilities Services

The Key Coalition has been advocating for over 30 years to eradicate the waitlist, giving people with disabilities access to needed services. Enhanced access will result in long-term cost savings to the State of Alaska by providing services early on and keep people in their home communities rather than in costly out-of-state institutions, Alaska Psychiatric Institute or jail.


Priority 3: Address the Critical Workforce Issues Facing HCBS Agencies

Taking care of people who receive HCB services is not optional, but it takes a workforce to do so. HCBS agencies are chronically understaffed and the pandemic has only heightened the problem. The workforce issue is multi-faceted. We are asking the State Legislature to work with us to find solutions and ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive the support they need.

2021 Campaign Priorities


Priority 1: Eradicate the Waitlist for Developmental Disabilities Services

The Key Coalition has been advocating for over 30 years to eradicate the waitlist, giving people with disabilities access to needed services. Enhanced access will result in long-term cost savings to the State of Alaska by providing services early on and keep people in their home communities rather than in costly out-of-state institutions, Alaska Psychiatric Institute or jail.


Priority 2: Implement the Developmental Disabilities Shared Vision

That the State of Alaska implement the recommended cost saving measures and at the same time, help Alaskans with IDD to live lives with meaning as outlined in the Shared Vision.

Priority 3: Implement the Developmental Disabilities Shared Vision

That the State of Alaska implement the recommended cost saving measures and at the same time, help Alaskans with IDD to live lives with meaning as outlined in the Shared Vision.

2020 Campaign Priorities



  • As of January, 2020, 730 Alaskans with disabilities are on the waitlist for community-based services funded by the Medicaid Waiver.
  • Only 50 people each year are drawn from the Waitlist. Previously, 200 people were selected annually.
  • Savings from Medicaid Reform SB74 (2016) are available to help Alaskans with disabilities who are waiting for needed services.

Our 2020 Key Campaign ASK: Use the savings from SB74 to increase the waiver waitlist draw to a minimum of 100 people per year, in addition to filling vacancies from death or other circumstance to make sure the baseline of people getting services increases by 100 people per year.



  • The DD Shared Vision, through SB174 (2018, authorized in 2019), describes a flexible system in which individuals direct their own supports based on their strengths and abilities, toward a meaningful life in their home and community.
  • Our current system does NOT provide predictable, stable funding, or a structure that supports the DD Vision

Our 2020 Key Campaign ASK: Bring SB174, the DD Vision, to life by reinvesting the cost savings from SB74 into new and existing waiver services that fulfill the vision for Alaskans with disabilities.

2019 Campaign Priorities


Increase the number of individuals selected annually for services from the Developmental Disabilities Registry (waitlist) from 50 to 100.


Ensure all eligible individuals previously receiving state grant-funded IDD services, some of whom have received services for decades, continue to receive services at the same level previously received.


Move Component Senior and Disabilities Services (2662)from RDU:Medicaid Services (595)to RDU: Senior and Disabilities Services (487).


Continue implementation of the Developmental Disabilities Shared Vision.

Key also supports Alaska Work Matters: Position Paper, Talking Points

Services for Alaskans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) have been reduced significantly over the past several years. Individuals and families are not asking for a handout. By the nature of their disabilities, individuals with IDD require individualized, comprehensive, and life-long services in order to live successfully in the community. In addition, families also contribute to the cost of care for their children with IDD – far beyond what they contribute to the care of their children without a disability. In many families, caring for a child with IDD consumes more than half of every dollar earned. Out-of-pocket expenses to care for a child with IDD have been estimated at $8,000 annually on top of all ordinary expenses associated with raising a child. (Stabile, M. and Allin, S. (2012. “The economic costs of childhood disability,” The Future of Children(22(1:65-96).

The following cost-saving recommendations have been previously submitted to SDS and the Legislature by the Key Coalition and remain viable options:


Medicaid allows states to maintain waiting lists for home and community-based waiver services (HCBS) when demand exceeds resources. In Alaska, only individuals with IDD are impacted by a waitlist. Currently, 982 individuals are on the Developmental Disabilities Registry (waitlist). In FY16, SDS reduced the number of annual selections (draws) from the waitlist from 200 individuals to 50, which means individuals and families have to wait even longer to get needed services as the waitlist increases. The longer people remain on the waitlist, the more costs increase. Without supports, young adults on the waitlist lose the skills developed during school years. Without services, family members neglect their own health, forego employment and “try to do it all,” especially as they and their loved ones face the challenge of aging.

Note: Costs per person range from $37,330-96,093 for 84% of those served compared to $164,234 in nursing homes, $201,663 in out-of-state institutions and $531,312 at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute.If an additional 50 individuals were drawn from the registry each year, State General Fund costs would range from $933,250-$2,402,075, which includes a 50% federal match.

Return on Investment:

  • Cost savings to the state: Community services cost considerably less than services provided in institutions, which by federal law must be provided if requested by the individual and/or family, even though most families would prefer to keep their children at home or close by.
  • Increased employment and productivity: Most adults with IDD want to work and help support themselves financially. Research shows that Medicaid waiver-funded supported employment services result in more job placements, higher wages and hours worked per week (Nord, D., Luecking, R., Mank, D., Kiernan, W. and Wray, C. (2013). “The state of the science of employment and economic self-sufficiency for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities”, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 51(5): 376-84)
  • Increased family income: Receiving services for a child having with IDD makes it more likely a parent will continue working or gain employment. (Stabile, M. and Allin, S. (2012. “The economic costs of childhood disability,” The Future of Children(22(1:65-96)
  • Improved caregiver health: Elderly caregivers without adequate supports are 63% more likely to die within a four-year period compared to non-caregivers. Services for a child increases the chance of the parents maintaining good health. (Scults, R. and Beach, S.R. (1999). “Caregiver is a risk factor for mortality: The caregiver health effects study,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 51(5): 376-84

The use of technologies, such as “smart home” and other electronic devices, can reduce the cost of direct staff support. Equipment may include video monitoring systems, tablets, smartphones, webcam and digital video conferencing. As technology has improved, the need for costly and highly specialized equipment has decreased. Routine investment in low-tech and even high-tech options has the potential to dramatically drive down the long-term costs of services provided to Alaskans with IDD.

Return on Investment: Charles Lea Center (CLC) in South Carolina works with SimplyHometo design customized supports for individuals with IDD based on each individual’s daily routines and priorities; 93% of the individuals served in residential settings use technology throughout their homes. Using technology costs CLC approximately $100 per day per individual; without technology, it would cost approximately $200 per day. In a recent survey, when individuals were asked if they felt safe in their homes, 100% said yes.


Day Habilitation Services are provided to assist individuals with IDD to acquire, retain and improve their self-help, socialization, and adaptive skills necessary to live successfully in-home and community-based settings where the focus is on skill development. Knowing that day habilitation focuses on skill development, the rate for services is inherently higher. Through establishing the new service and billing code for Companion Services, individuals would be able to participate in the community and practice skills learned without an emphasis on skill development. A lower rate for this new service would result in notable savings.

Return on Investment: SDS would see savings of $18.24 per hour if day habilitation services, depending on the needs of the individual, were replaced with companion services.


Current regulations no longer provide for a “semi-independent living” residential option which allows several residents to receive staff support at the same time and provides a billing mechanism for these services. As a result, individuals who benefit from and desire “semi-independent living” services (that promote increased skill development, offer more privacy in apartment settings and learning through natural supports and modeling of housemates), no longer have this service option. Instead, they receive more expensive assisted living home services where State licensing mandates close supervision and direction of their daily living routines.

Return on Investment: Re-establishing a billing code for the semi-independent living/supported living option to SDS. One provider reports that for the 50 individuals who now receive assisted living services rather than semi-independent living services, costs increased by $2 million ($40,000 per individual) annually. This simple fix would save SDS at least $2 million per year.


According to current regulations, supported employment providers can only bill for services when working directly alongside an individual, such as would occur in an institution, thus not allowing an opportunity for independent skill development. In addition, supported employment services such as work incentives assistance, developing natural supports with co-workers, and job development is not reimbursed. As a result, providers have downsized or eliminated supported employment programs.

Return on Investment: There is considerable evidence from other states (Utah, Kansas, Michigan, Washington) that when individuals with disabilities work and receive ongoing supported employment services, other costs such as health care (general Medicaid program), food stamps, and energy assistance decrease. In addition, the ability to use the natural supports of co-workers decrease the cost of training supported employees by 57.6% and increased the length of time they were employed by 12.36 months. (Cimera, R. (2012), “The Economics of Supported Employment: What New Data Tells Us,” Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 109-117)


Both the programs were established by the legislature, and regulations outlining their use have also been established. However, more attention needs to be given to their full implementation, including increased marketing, the development of incentives for providers to develop durable medical equipment re-use programs and increased information about the ABLE program.

Return on Investment: Kansas saw a $3.15 return on investment for every $1 spent on its durable medical equipment re-use program. The ABLE Plan allows eligible individuals with IDD to save money for qualified disability expenses without losing eligibility for programs like SSI and Medicaid. Funds may be used for expenses that increase or maintain health, independence, and quality of life. Enabling individuals with IDD to purchase what they need lowers the cost to the State.

In addition to joining Key Coalition advocacy efforts, we encourage you to contact your legislator in one of the following ways:

  • By sending an email or submitting a Public Opinion Message (POM): Submit POM Online or Download, print and fax the POM Form to your local Legislative Information Office (LIO).
  • By contacting your legislators directly. Find contact information on the Alaska State Legislative website by putting in your address.
  • If you don’t have the exact information needed or need assistance, please call your local legislative information office. For a listing of  the LIOs click here:

For regular updates regarding issues and the latest proceeding, join Hope’s Online Community and select Legislative Alerts.

2018 Campaign Priorities

For our 31st year of Key Campaign, we educated and advocated based on the following platform:


Through SB174, putting into statute a shared vision of a flexible system in which each person directs their own supports based on his or her strengths and abilities toward a meaningful life in their home, their job, and their community. Our vision includes supported families, professional staff, and services available throughout the state now and into the future.


A stable and sustainable fiscal plan which if attained would:

Reactivate the commitment to reduce the waitlist. Currently, there are more than 700 individuals on the waitlist. It is imperative that we increase the number of individuals removed from this registry.

Key Coalition also supports the following bills:

  • SB 80, a telecommunication bill that would require telephone utilities to provide services to deaf, hard of hearing, and speech impaired subscribers that would permit the subscribers to communicate by telephone with hearing persons.
  • HB 336, the Supported Decision-Making Act, would empower Alaskans with guardians to form individualized Supported Decision Making Agreements. SDM Agreements foster greater independence for adults with disabilities to make life decisions with a trusted team.