Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Aint Gonna Work (I Can Assure You)

Table 1
7/25/2008 8:14:00 AM

MRDD allows privatization of adult services
Plan said to provide higher level of care, more choices

Waylon Strickland
Staff Writer

The Pickaway County MRDD board plans to let a portion of its services convert to a private, non-profit organization in a move that aims to let consumers have more choice in getting services they require and provide a higher level of individualized care.

The MRDD board, which provides support and services for individuals with development disabilities through its Brooks-Yates Center, voted Thursday night to allow the Brooks-Yates Center Diversified Opportunities adult services operation to convert from a government entity to a private, non-profit organization.

Privatization of the adult services program will cut down on the board's administrative costs, freeing up more money to be used for direct care, according to MRDD Superintendent Randy Beach.

"We continually look at ways we can impact peoples lives on a more regular basis," Beach said. "We want people with developmental disabilities working in the community."

MRDD still will be responsible for paying for a specified amount of care for individuals based on the level of disability who decide to get services from the new operation, which will be called Pickaway Diversified, Inc., just as the board already has to pay to other private care providers, such as Goodwill and Good Hands.

"Our new role in adult services will be arranging funding and assuring responsibility and compliance of private providers," Beach said.

The diversified operation already is governed by a separate, non-profit board, which will take over the entire operation. Diversified has facilities on Lancaster Pike and Mill Street in Circleville providing employment opportunities and also provides day habilitation and community employment services, according to Kim McPeek, the operation's executive director.

There will be no day-to-day changes in services provided because of the conversion, McPeek said, although it may eventually let the operation offer new or different services that aren't currently available.

"We hope to serve more individuals and do more programs for the people of Pickaway County," she said. "We work with over 50 individuals with disabilities. For some of the people we serve, this is their only option to help increase their independence. Without us, some people wouldn't participate or have an opportunity to be involved in the community."

Diversified's Mill Street operation is part of its already existing non-profit operation, but it will have to lease the Lancaster Pike facility from the MRDD, which owns it, for $20,000 a year. About 18 MRDD employees are effected by the change and all will be retained by the new PDI operation.

MRDD is taking the action because in the last four years it has changed its philosophy of providing care to consumers, moving from program-based care to more focus on individual choice and attention, according to Beach.

"The buzzword in the MRDD field is the concept of individual budgets," Beach said. "Within our available resources, we'll create and craft services to meet each individual's needs."

The new PDI will be entirely self-funded from the enrollment fees and costs it charges to consumers. MRDD will retain oversight of the operation after it goes private, and it will fully fund PDI for up to two years during the transition process. After two years, PDI will be independent and have to depend on its own budget to operate.

No comments: