June 30, Governor Kasich signed the FY2016-2017 Executive Budget, bringing to close the budget process. This budget makes a historic investment in Ohioans with developmental disabilities, investing $286 million over the next two years to increase opportunities for individuals to live and work the community.
Many of the initiatives that have been covered over the last several months are a part of the final budget. Approximately 3,000 new waivers will help reduce the waiting list, and help individuals who currently live in Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) and want to move into a home in the community with a waiver to do so. The budget will provide for a much-deserved wage increase for Direct Care Staff. Individuals who live in ICFs will have more space and privacy, and work will begin on a new reimbursement model. Read this summary of DODD’s budget initiatives for complete details.
The Governor did veto 44 items in the budget. Two of those vetoes affect DODD:
- Developmental Center Closure Commission: The Governor vetoed the Developmental Center Closure Commission language. We believe this is in the best interest of everyone – the Commission would potentially create barriers to the right-sizing of the system. Over time, this will allow the Department to redirect funds to expand both the services we offer, and the number of individuals we are able to serve, while maintaining services for those residing at the remaining Developmental Centers.
- Sheltered Workshops: The Governor also vetoed the language around sheltered workshops that would have prohibited private providers from decreasing the number of individuals they serve, and prohibited the State from decreasing the payment rate for adult day services. We believe this is in the best interest of the individuals we serve, as well as providers – removal of these prohibitions will allow providers to ensure that they are offering services that reflect the choices of the individuals they serve. This does not mean the Department is going to be closing sheltered workshops.
The focus now will shift to implementing these initiatives. There is much work to be done, such as determining how to distribute the state-funded waivers, developing the ICF reimbursement model, and designing new employment and day services. The Department will continue to gather input from stakeholders as the work continues.