Administration Update: Budget Hearings – Concerns and Support

On March 10 and 17, Ohioans with developmental disabilities, their families, and those who care for them voiced their concerns and their support, regarding the proposed 2016-2017 budget.  In particular, provisions designed to transition residents from large institutional settings to smaller community and home-based programs were in the spotlight.

Approximately 65 people testified on March 10, and more than 100 testified yesterday, before the House Finance Health and Human Services Subcommittee. Many spoke regarding the DODD budget proposal language regarding new Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) requirements that limit the number of residents per room, and restructure funding and reimbursement rates.

Advocacy & Protective Services Inc. (APSI) Executive Director Karla Rinto explained that the transitions the state is proposing are consistent with national developmental disabilities trends. She observed that Ohio is among the states with the largest number of ICF beds in the country, making it vulnerable to a legal challenge.

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Through the proposed 2016-2017 budget, the state can direct and manage the system’s transformation before changes are required by the federal government or the courts.

She stated, ”We know there are many family members who have expressed concern about these changes. APSI believes that once family members understand the various, existing community options available — and that this budget increases the number and types of options available — that many will welcome these changes as improvements.”

State legislators are in the process of reviewing the proposed full State Budget bill. Adoption of an agreed-upon version of the bill must be accomplished by June 30, 2015. Additional information about testimony is on the House Finance and Health and Human Services website, under the date March 10.

Ohio County Boards Superintendents Conference

Director Martin shared a presentation at the Ohio County Board of DD Superintendents winter conference regarding the proposed budget. In addition to some discussion of managing change within the system, and in our lives, the presentation addressed some budget-related myths and facts. County Board superintendents were interested in learning more about what the current language in the budget will mean in terms of peoples’ lives, and hearing more information about budget areas that have caused some confusion.  The presentation is posted in our DODD online newsroom.

Pipeline will continue to bring you news of this ongoing process, and be sure to check online at these links:  Our Future; Policy Detail; Fact SheetGovernor’s website. We also invite you to share your feedback.

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