Tuesday, March 08, 2011

On Developmental Disability Awareness Month

Ladies and Gentlemen, here we go again! As many states (including Oregon) slash needed services, may I proclaim that March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month!! A time to reflect on this oft' overlooked class of the citizenry! A time to praise the accomplishments in our country on behalf of these struggling people! And a time to celebrate those accomplishments!

At some point this month there will undoubtedly be a day commemorating people with developmental disabilities in all 50 state capitols. This will need to occur BEFORE the announcements are made of how the states plan to take away the pittance of "services" these heros receive. In a massive conspiracy designed to absolutely not require the wealthy to hand over some of their wealth, the idea is to "LET THEM EAT CAKE!!" Here in Oregon, the plan is to do the following, according to the DD Coalition...

Proposed DD Budget Cuts 2011-13
The following reductions in the DD Program are proposed in the Governor’s Budget:

This budget proposal cuts almost $100 million in total funds out of services to people with Developmental Disabilities.

 These reductions will impact the health, safety, and quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
 Services for people with developmental disabilities have moved from an expensive model of service (Institutions) to more cost effective service models (Support Services and Comprehensive Services) designed to provide the least amount of support necessary for an individual to live successfully in the community.
 Reductions in current services will result in some individuals going into crisis and requiring more expensive services.

Reduction in 24 / 7 Comprehensive Service Rates ($43 TF)
Will impact the quality of care for over 6,500 adults and children. Continued rate reductions and lack of COLA mean that more programs will be unwilling to serve an increasingly complex population of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Eliminate Alternative to Employment Program ($17.1 TF)
Over 2,400 individuals will lose access to day services. This reduction will require increased staffing for residential programs and individuals will lose important services.

Eliminate Family Support ($3.7 GF)
Eliminates support to approximately 1,200 families caring for a child with disabilities. Program provides respite and other disability related supports that assist the child to remain at home.

Cut Fairview Trust by 50% ($7 other fund)
Elimination of funding source that improves health and safety of individuals living at home, keeps individuals out of the 24 /7 comprehensive system, and assists family caregiving by providing home modifications and technology. Violates the promise made at the time of the closure of the state institution to support Oregonians with developmental disabiltiies living in the community.

Eliminate access to Support Services for individuals who are not Medicaid eligible ($6 GF | $15 TF)
Individuals who are not Medicaid eligible currently receive only the General Fund portion of their Support Services funding. This reduction would eliminate access to a Personal Agent who assists them to navigate systems and purchase supports. For many, the loss of both the support service dollars and access to a personal agent will put them into crisis that will result in more expensive services.

Reduce Support Services to individuals 18-21 ($4.7 TF)
Reduction in access to Support Services at a point that youth are transitioning from education may result in more youth and their families going into crisis and requiring more expensive services or a cost shift to education.

10% Reduction in case management and personal agents ($9.8 TF)
Increased caseload and inability to respond quickly to needs of individuals and families. Reduces ability to monitor health and safety. Creates delays in critical eligiblity and other Medicaid processes.

10% Reduction in administration of DD Programs and Support Brokerages ($2.6 TF)
Decreased staff at a time of increased administrative workload and more complex population.

Eliminate the Quality Assurance positions in the County DD Programs and Brokerages ($2.9 TF)
Risk of not meeting the Medicaid requirements for the Home and Community Based Waivers.

Reduce Crisis Diversion ($.7 TF)
Reduces the ability to stabilize a crisis situation quickly and reduce the need for more expensive services.

Reduce In-Home Supports to Children ($.5 GF)
Provides In-Home Support to families who are in crisis and on the verge of seeking more expensive out of home placement for their children. All budget savings will be lost if even a small number of families must give up their children.

Do you wonder why I'm such a frustrated person? Not only do i have a family member (Joseph) with a developmental disability, but I've spent 1/2 of my life trying to ensure their experiences as human beings is equal in quality to the rest of us!