11:09am

Mon May 14, 2012
Health and Welfare

Policy Changes Proposed in State Office of the Blind

A cash-strapped state Office for the Blind is coping by implementing a number of policy changes.  They’re all cost saving measures.  If adopted, some of the 400 people assisted by Kentucky’s Office for the Blind will receive less tuition assistance, fewer cataract surgeries, and find it harder to qualify for state-provided services.  Allison Jessee with the State Office for the Blind says the policy changes will be the subject of four public hearings scheduled for this month.  Then, Jessee says they could be implemented in June.

“The Office for the Blind currently is at almost a million dollar deficit right now for this current fiscal year..so we are having to make some significant changes in our policies in order to try to stretch that dollar,” said Jessee.

Jessee says several internal belt tightening measures have already been adopted.

“The services to our consumers was the last thing we wanted to effect…so internally we’ve cut travel. We’ve cut supplies. I mean all the peripheral things that we possibly could do. We’ve returned vehicles to the state motor pool,”  added Jessee.

Four public hearings on the proposed changes are planned this month.  The first hearing is next Monday in Lexington at Independence Place on South Broadway.  Others will be in Ashland, Louisville, and Owensboro.