State Budget Update

 

The Virginia General Assembly passed its 2014-2016 budget bill earlier this summer. Unfortunately, the state budget represented a major step back in state policy affecting Virginians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Action on the budget bill was delayed due to the heated debate about Medicaid Expansion. Various versions of the budget were presented in negotiations over this 3 month period and ID/DD Waivers were often caught in the crosshairs. Some versions of the budget added 50-500 Waivers, while other versions eliminated all Waivers above the DOJ minimum from the budget. Complicating matters further, a $1.5 billion, unanticipated revenue shortfall was announced in early June. This left legislators with the task of “trimming” $1.5 billion in spending from the final version of the bill.

In the end, only 25 new ID Waivers and 15 new DD Waivers were provided to help the more than 8,500 Virginians with intellectual and developmental disabilities on waiting lists in FY15 (July 1, 2014-June 30,2015). This action, which funds less than 0.5% of the entire waiting list, is devastating to many Virginians with I/DD. Unfortunately, some members of the General Assembly cited the reason for the historically low funding as being due to Virginia’s “overfunding” the I/DD Waiver waiting list. This is because the number of ID/DD Waivers provided in the previous session (2013) exceeded the minimum number of Waiver slots required by the DOJ settlement agreement.

The DOJ agreement represents “the floor” when it comes to helping people with I/DD, not the ceiling. While it is technically true that the consent decree requires a certain number of ID/DD Waivers to be funded and also allows the Commonwealth to “count” any additional Waivers it provides towards the next fiscal year, the settlement agreement ALSO requires that the Commonwealth PREVENT the unnecessary institutionalization of people with I/DD. Without the additional I/DD Waiver funding, or equivalent community-based support, hundreds of people with I/DD may be unnecessarily placed in institutions. This is completely inconsistent with the ADA as interpreted by the Olmstead decision.

At the same time it provided historically low funding for the I/DD Waiver waiting lists, Virginia’s state legislature proposed a workgroup be established to look at expanding the number of Training Centers that will remain open. This is in spite of the fact that Virginia’s second-largest state I/DD institution, Southside Virginia Training Center (SVTC), successfully closed on June 30 of this year without incident.     Keeping these Training Centers open would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, which would come at the expense of the 8,500 Virginians with I/DD and their families who continue to wait for community-based care. The support needs of these Virginians are no different than those in the Training Centers.

It should be noted that the General Assembly did provide 50 ID Waivers and 15 DD Waivers in Fiscal Year 2016 , in addition to providing the ID/DD Waivers required by the agreement, to help individuals/families on waiting lists. Advocates remain deeply concerned, however, about ramifications of state budget in the current fiscal year. Just in the last month alone, The Arc advocates have already fielded several emergency family member calls that illustrate the urgency of the waiting list crisis. What do some of these emergencies look like?

  • AB was living his father who is in his nineties. His mother passed away last year. When AB’s father had medical complications, he was placed in a nursing home. This left AB with no support and placed him at immediate risk of institutionalization.
  • CD’s mother reached out to us because she and her daughter had recently become homeless. The family was living in a motel and was unsure where they would be next week. Without a Waiver, the family would continue to face enormous challenges.
  • Due to an inability to access ID Waiver services, EF was placed in an out of state residential program. EF, who is still in school, wants to be closer to her family and EF’s mother desperately wants to bring her home. Due to EF’s intensive support needs that require 24/7 assistance, this is virtually impossible without the help of an ID/DD Waiver.
  • GG and HG are an elderly couple in their eighties. They have provided support to their adult son with ID for more than fifty years and just found out about the ID Waiver this month. After meeting a local chapter representative who told them about the ID Waiver, they quickly signed up for the waiting list. GG and HG both experience significant health issues and are concerned for their son’s future if something is to happen to them.

These stories represent just a few of the hundreds, if not thousands, of crisis situations that can be found on the ID and DD Waiver waiting lists. Vigorous advocacy will be needed to ensure that these families and others get the help they so desperately need. The Arc of Virginia will remain dedicated to strengthening and growing grassroots advocacy moving forward, but we will need your help!

Please stay tuned for important action alerts, budget hearing dates and other ways you can help ensure the voices of Virginians with I/DD are heard. Please take action when you see these requests.  Our efforts will culminate in a statewide “Developmental Disability Advocacy Day” at the State Capitol on January 26- the three year anniversary of the US v Virginia settlement agreement announcement.

If you’d like to learn more about the 2014 Budget Bill and how it affects Virginians with I/DD, please click here. This summary is a side-by-side comparison of various versions of the budget bill, including the final version that was signed by Governor McAuliffe on June 23, 2014.

From the Commissioner’s Desk- July 23, 2014

Dr. Debra Ferguson, the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), has created a monthly memo entitled “From the Commissioner’s Desk.”  The memo contains several updates that are of interest to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  A copy of the memo can be found below.


 

From the Commissioner’s Desk
July 23, 2014
My Life, My Community!
July 2014 Update

Charged with building a more robust, sustainable community system of supports for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (ID/DD), DBHDS and its partners have made substantial progress this past year. The goal is the development of new waivers, which not only provide the financial resources, but also provide a framework to unify Virginia’s system of services for individuals with ID/DD into a single, community- based system. We are well into the process of determining how to combine three waivers which will affect the lives of thousands of individuals. Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), our expert advisor, has advised to Commonwealth to consider two needs-based waivers referred to as a:

• Comprehensive waiver which provides more intense services, which require more oversight, rules/regs as individuals’ needs increase, and
• Supports waiver which provides supplemental services that allow an individual to live independently or with family/friends.

Stakeholder subcommittees were formed that collectively involved over 100 individuals, the majority of whom are volunteers. DBHDS designed a decision process that took an average of five hours to work through to a single recommendation. Therefore, the recommendations detailed below have been vetted, discussed, revised, and analyzed. These areas include service eligibility, waiting list management, and support coordination/case management. The recommendations of the subcommittees will now be considered by the Waiver Design Advisory Committee (WDAC). That group’s recommendations will be relayed to DBHDS and DMAS to flesh out the services, attach rates, and determine the structure. Once again, broad-based stakeholder meetings will be held prior to submission.

Initial Proposals

Eligibility Subcommittee

The eligibility subcommittee recommends a single eligibility criterion for the two new waivers. They also recommend the adoption of a functional definition of DD modeled on the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities [114 Stat. 1684 Public Law 106-402-Oct. 30, 2000] definition, which the reader may find at the end of this update.* Basically, this definition ties very closely to the move to a needs-based waiver. It also removes issues that have arisen around whether one has or does not have a significant intellectual disability.

With the broader diagnostic criterion allowed by using the AIDD definition, the committee recommends changes to the current functional assessment tool. An amalgam of the best parts of level of care tools from other states was developed and reviewed by the Eligibility Subcommittee. Further edits will be made and the result piloted to ensure efficacy.

Case Management Subcommitee

To accomplish the merger of the public (ID/DS waivers) and private (DD waiver) case management systems the case management subcommittee recommends that the Commonwealth move to:

• Establish the Community Services Boards (CSBs) as the single point of entry for both new waivers (comprehensive and supports).

• Require (via the Performance Contract) CSBs to contract with private case management providers to offer individuals on either waiver their choice of case management provider.

Waiting List Subcommittee

The waiting list subcommittee recommends:

• One set of criteria for the new ID/DD waivers; no separate waiting lists for comprehensive vs. supports waiver; and design the two waivers to allow movement between them as necessary (i.e., as individuals’ needs change). Once in a waiver, no more waiting to get needed services.

• A system of regional (3 – 7 regions) slot assignment based on urgency of need (vs. a chronological basis) is recommended. Regional committees would review the scored needs of those on the waiting list when a slot is available. This will enables a wider perspective of addressing needs until we can eliminate waiting lists.

• A transitional and fair process to align management of the waiting lists by:

o Providing those on the existing DD waiver chronological waiting list the option to move to the needs-based list or to stay on the current chronological list with one opportunity to revisit the choice within one year of the initial decision
o Placing all newly screened individuals (regardless of diagnosis) on the needs-based list
o Ensuring that a percentage of all newly created slots go towards reducing the chronological list until its census is zero, at which time it will be permanently closed.

The Commonwealth recognizes that we are still triaging resources. Therefore, the Waiting List Subcommittee recommends changes (in bold) to the urgent needs criteria with the following additions:

• The applicant is 55 years of age or older;
• There is a clear risk (e.g., reports made) for the applicant of abuse, neglect, or exploitation or the individual has been determined by APS/CPS to have been abused, neglected or exploited;
• There is a risk to the health or safety of the applicant, primary caregiver, or other person living in the home due to either of the following conditions:
(1) The applicant’s behavior or behaviors present a risk to himself or others that cannot be effectively managed by the primary caregiver or unpaid provider even with generic or specialized support arranged or provided by the CSB/BHA; or
• The individual lives in an institutional setting and has a viable discharge plan in place.

Provider Advisory Subcommittee

The Provider Advisory Committee assisted Burns and Associates (HSRI’s subcontractor) in developing a survey that was disseminated to providers to help B&A develop a rate methodology to set or adjust rates in the new waivers. There was great provider and CSB participation that will provide the data to design and cost out services. A report is due by the end of August to match up rates with proposed/existing services.

Services Array Subcommittee

The Services Array Subcommittee is currently working on defining services for the new waivers and their definitions. Their work will continue through the summer.

In summary, the subcommittee recommendations reinforce Virginia’s commitment to supporting people with the least amount of intrusion into the daily lives of individuals and their families. While still only proposals at this point, the promise of the above recommendations lies in realizing that supports, rules, and regulations can be developed to promote a healthy, meaningful community life for all. We are all in this to make a difference.

Comments regarding the proposed recommendations may be submitted to: MyLifeMyCommunity@dbhds.virginia.gov.

Required Transition Plan for Waivers

As part of CMS’s Home and Community Based Services Final Rule, issued earlier this year, they are requiring a “transition plan” be submitted with each state’s next waiver renewal or amendment. DBHDS and DMAS are in the process of developing this plan, a draft version of which will be posted for public comment on the DBHDS website in mid-July. Also there will be a webinar scheduled for the week of August 11th regarding the draft plan in order to receive more stakeholder input. Please continue to check the DBHDS website for updates: www.dbhds.virginia.gov.

*Proposed DD Definition of Eligibility

“The term ‘developmental disability’ means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:
• Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments [not to include mental illness];
• Is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
• Is likely to continue indefinitely;
• Results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
o Self-care
o Receptive and expressive language
o Learning
o Mobility
o Self-direction
o Capacity for independent living
o Economic self-sufficiency; and
• Reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic services, individualized supports or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.”

 

Changes to the IFSP Program and Answers to FAQs

 

DBHDS  has posted changes to the Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP) on their website, along with the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs).   IFSP is a program that was required by the DOJ Settlement Agreement to help individuals with I/DD and families most at risk of institutionalization.  In order to be eligible for the program, an individual must be on either the Intellectual Disability (ID) Waiver waiting list or the Developmental Disability (DD) Waiver waiting list.

The following is an excerpt of the announcement-

“Applications will be mailed to those on the ID and DD Waiver waiting lists on August 1, 2014. The application will be posted on the DBHDS website the same day. Click on DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES on the left side of the website, then Individual and Family Support Program to access the application on AUGUST 1, 2014. The link for the application will simply state “IFSP Application”. If you do not receive an application in the mail by September 5, 2014, please print a copy. Do not depend on mail delivery. 

The IFSP will now have two funding periods, September 15 – Period 1, and March 15- Period 2, of each year.  Funds for the program will be divided equally between these two periods. Families are eligible for up to $3000.00 of supports and services between these two funding periods. The September funding period is the beginning of each year’s fund distribution.”

To read the rest of the changes to IFSP and DBHDS’ answers to FAQs- click here. 

“From the Commissioner’s Desk”- July 2014 Edition

 

 

Dr. Debra Ferguson, the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), has created a monthly memo entitled “From the Commissioner’s Desk.”  The memo contains several updates that are of interest to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  A copy of the memo can be found below.


 

From the Commissioner’s Desk
July 3, 2014

WELCOME

Welcome to another monthly edition of “From the Commissioner’s Desk.” June has been an extremely busy month! Below is a brief snapshot of the critical updates and accomplishments during June on issues affecting the people we serve. Without doubt, our daily efforts have extended far beyond the major updates included below. I am grateful for all of the work being done to improve, enrich and transform our system.

MAJOR UPDATES

Extension of Northern Virginia Training Center (NVTC) Closure Date – After recent discussions with staff, NVTC parents, area CSBs and providers, and using experience gained with the closure of Southside Virginia Training Center, DBHDS decided to extend the closure date of NVTC one year to March 2016. This one-year extension will allow more time to further develop community homes and services in Northern Virginia to serve the needs of the transitioning NVTC residents. In order to fund this community-based expansion, the DBHDS Commissioner declared the NVTC property surplus so that it may be sold. The sale of the property will provide funds to meet needs in the area so people in the training centers can move to more personalized homes and be a part of their own communities. Virginia law requires that sale proceeds be placed in the Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Trust Fund. This will help ensure funds are available for the further development of housing and support options in Northern Virginia. Closing the training center better aligns Virginia’s services for people with developmental disabilities with federal laws and regulations. It also allows the Commonwealth the ability to better address the needs of the 8,500 people who have elected not to live in institutional settings but instead choose to be on waiting lists for community-based waiver services closer to home.

Update on Soft Launch of Civil Commitment Laws – Thank you to all our system partners who collaborated with DBHDS during the past two weeks to successfully implement a “soft launch” of the legislative changes to the civil commitment process.  Since June 16th, all of the safety net partners, including CSBS, state facilities, law enforcement, local hospitals, and many others have been operating as if all aspects (with the exception of the 8-hour emergency custody period) of the new laws have been in effect.  During this time period, there were no reports of CSBs being unable to access a safety net bed for individuals.  Monthly reports from the CSBs reflect a continuing reduction in the number of times an ECO has expired prior to a psychiatric bed being available for the individual.  The need for medical treatment is the most frequent reason for delayed access to a psychiatric bed.  DBHDS continues collect and monitor system performance data in order to best identify pressure points and operational issues.  System performance data aggregated and analyzed by DBHDS include:

  • TDO state hospital admissions per 100,000 by CSB
  • TDO state hospital bed days per 100,000 by CSB
  • Total state hospital civil bed days per 100,000 by CSB
  • Total state hospital forensic bed days per 100,000 by CSB

The January – April TDO Exception Report is available on the DBHDS website, here.

On the Road – As part of my effort to learn the Virginia system and hear concerns and perspectives from those in the field, I am trying to spend as much time as possible visiting state facilities, CSBs, providers and partners throughout the Commonwealth. My travels this month included:

  • June 5 at NVTC to meet with Training Center Leadership and members of the Parent Group Board
  • June 6 in Washington DC attending SAMHSA summit on Medical Education on Addictions and Addiction Treatment
  • June 8 at NAMI State Convention, VCU Department of Psychiatry Residents & Fellows Graduation and at Henrico CSB CRC
  • June 9 tour of Region IV REACH Program
  • June 11 at Western State Hospital and CCCA
  • June 13 at Piedmont CSB, Danville-Pittsylvania CSB, Southside CSB and SVMHI meeting with leadership teams and touring programs/facilities
  • June 18 at Emergency Services Conference in Charlottesville
  • June 25 at Hampton-Newport News CSB


DBHDS SB627 Study Group –
During the 2014 Session of the General Assembly, legislation passed (SB627) that called for DBHDS to convene a workgroup to consider options for expanding the number of training centers that remain open, in whole or in part, in the Commonwealth. We understand there are stakeholders who are concerned about training center closures as well as those concerned about not having enough community capacity to meet demand. As a result, DBHDS convened the DBHDS SB627 Study Group with a range of interested stakeholders to develop comprehensive options for the Commonwealth. Through a facilitated problem solving process, review of information, discussion and collaboration, members will consider options and provide an important point of view. Our goal is for open and productive discussions with an emphasis on both safety and a full life for each person with developmental disabilities served by the Commonwealth. The first meeting of this group was held on July 2. More information can be found under “Announcements” on this webpage: www.dbhds.virginia.gov/ODS-default.htm.

Governor’s Taskforce on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response
– The taskforce is continuing its work and last met on June 16, 2014. A report of the taskforce’s final recommendations is due October 1, 2014. More information can be found here. Here is a meeting schedule of the remaining meetings:

  • Meeting of the Four Workgroups – July 15, 2014, 1-4 p.m., Patrick Henry Building
  • Full Taskforce Meeting – August 11, 2014, 1-4 p.m., Perimeter Center, Virginia Department of Health Professions

Innovations & New Ideas – Hampton-Newport News CSB – The Hampton-Newport News CSB, Youth and Family Division has for years enjoyed a creative and beneficial relationship with the Newport News Department of Human Services, Healthy Families Program.  This blended team approach utilizes CSB children’s Targeted Case Management (TCM) staff integrated into the Newport News Healthy Families staff, while maintaining fidelity to the National Healthy Families model.  The benefits of this approach are: staff of the CSB bring the expertise of TCM to meet the needs of the many families we jointly serve; revenue from TCM allows for a significant expansion of the program that otherwise would not occur with only local resources; ultimately, many more families receive the benefits of this nationally recognized program.  Finally, with the HNNCSB’s relatively extensive child and adolescent services division, families enrolled in the Newport News Healthy Families program have unimpeded access to high quality and appropriate behavioral health services.

If you would like to highlight an innovative program or services for future editions of this newsletter, please email Meghan McGuire, DBHDS communications director.

June DBHDS Press Releases & News Stories of Interest

RECENT FACTS & FIGURES

Training Center Census (July 2, 2014)

Name July 1, 2012 Census July 1, 2013 Census Dec 31, 2013 Census July 2, 2014Census
SVTC – Closure: By 6/30/2014 201 114 57 0
NVTC – Closure: By 6/30/2016 153 135 115 107
SWVTC – Closure: By 6/30/2018 173 156 150 144
CVTC – Closure: By 6/30 2020 350 301 285 288
SEVTC – Remains open at 75 beds 106 84 81 75
Total 983 790 688 614

ID and DD Waiver Enrollment and Waiting Lists (June 6, 2014)

ID Waiver DD Waiver
Total Enrolled 9,915 947
Urgent Waitlist 4,208
Non-Urgent Waitlist 2,857
Total Waitlist 7,065 1,461

 

Mental Health Hospital, Hiram Davis and VCBR Census (July 2, 2014)

Name July 2014
Catawba 100
Central State Hospital 213
Eastern State Hospital 271
Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute 115
Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute 66
Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute 157
Western State Hospital 234
Piedmont Geriatric Hospital 114
Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents 35
Hiram Davis Medical Center 66
Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation 326
Total 1,697

 

 

Debra Ferguson, Ph.D.
Commissioner
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services

Budget Conference Committee Members

 

 

 

Senate Conferees:

 

Senator Email Phone Areas Represented
Senator Walter Stosch district12@senate.virginia.gov (804) 698-7512 Henrico, Hanover
Senator Charles Colgan district29@senate.virginia.gov (804) 698-7529 Prince William, Manassas
Senator Thomas Norment district03@senate.virginia.gov (804) 698-7503 Williamsburg Area, Western Tidewater
Senator Richard Saslaw district35@senate.virginia.gov (804) 698-7535 Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church
Senator Janet Howell district32@senate.virginia.gov (804) 698-7532 Fairfax, Arlington
Senator Emmett Hanger district24@senate.virginia.gov 804) 698-7524 Harrisonburg, Augusta Waynesboro, North Central VA

 

 

House Conferees:

 

Delegate S. Chris Jones DelCJones@house.virginia.gov 804) 698-1076 Suffolk, Chesapeake,
Delegate Kirk Cox DelKCox@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1066 Chesterfield, Colonial Heights
Delegate R. Steven Landes DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov (804)698- 1025 Albemarle, Augusta, Rockingham
Delegate John O’Bannon DelJOBannon@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1073 Henrico
Delegate Thomas “Tag” Greason DelTGreason@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1032 Loudoun
Delegate Johnny Joannou DelJJoannou@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1079 Norfolk Portsmouth

 

Delegate S. Chris Jones DelCJones@house.virginia.gov 804) 698-1076 Suffolk, Chesapeake,
Delegate Kirk Cox DelKCox@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1066 Chesterfield, Colonial Heights
Delegate R. Steven Landes DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov (804)698- 1025 Albemarle, Augusta, Rockingham
Delegate John O’Bannon DelJOBannon@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1073 Henrico
Delegate Thomas “Tag” Greason DelTGreason@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1032 Loudoun
Delegate Johnny Joannou DelJJoannou@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1079 Norfolk Portsmouth

 

Delegate S. Chris Jones DelCJones@house.virginia.gov 804) 698-1076 Suffolk, Chesapeake,
Delegate Kirk Cox DelKCox@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1066 Chesterfield, Colonial Heights
Delegate R. Steven Landes DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov (804)698- 1025 Albemarle, Augusta, Rockingham
Delegate John O’Bannon DelJOBannon@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1073 Henrico
Delegate Thomas “Tag” Greason DelTGreason@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1032 Loudoun
Delegate Johnny Joannou DelJJoannou@house.virginia.gov (804) 698-1079 Norfolk Portsmouth

 

Your Advocacy is Needed

 

Please plan to attend Jan. 3 Regional Budget Hearings in support of I/DD Services!

On December 16, Governor McDonnell released his proposed state budget for 2014 – 2016While the Governor’s proposed budget provides the additional I/DD waiver slots called for in the Commonwealth’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), it does not provide sufficient funds to address the growing backlog in unmet needs among the I/DD population and achieve the long-range goal of the settlement agreement (i.e., ensuring that all Virginians with I/DD, regardless of the complexity of their support needs, can receive the services and supports they need in the most integrated settings possible).

On January 3, the money committees of the General Assembly will hold regional public hearings on the proposed budget. The hearings present a important advocacy opportunity because they help legislators on the money committees identify priority budget issues that must be addressed during the upcoming legislative session. Many of the advocacy issues we discuss, including I/DD Waiver waiting lists, reimbursement rates, managed care and waiver redesign, are budget issues. Since the state budget is so important to people with I/DD and their families, we need YOUR help to ensure that people with I/DD and their families have a major presence at the regional budget hearings!

Bottom line-  If you want the Virginia General Assembly to improve services and supports for people with I/DD in the 2014 session- please plan to attend one of these hearings!

Public Hearings will be held in the following locations:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014 (Hearing begins at 10:00 a.m.)

  • Fairfax County – Fairfax County Government Center, Board of Supervisors Auditorium

FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014 (Hearings begin at 12:00 noon)

  • Harrisonburg – James Madison University, Festival Student and Conference Center
  • Hampton – Thomas Nelson Community College, Templin Hall, Mary T. Christian Auditorium
  • Blacksburg – Virginia Tech, Graduate Life Center
  • Richmond Area – General Assembly Building, House Room D

Please remember that your remarks will be limited to three minutes.   The Arc of VA’s “Main Message” for the hearings can be found below.

 

OUR MESSAGE:

Thousands of Virginians with intellectual and developmental disabilities continue to wait for “A Life Like Yours”—a home, a job and a life in the community. Further action is required to keep the Commonwealth’s promise to end to the waiting list and ensure community integration for all.

 Please make ALLY a reality for Virginians with I/DD and include the following actions in the 2014-2016 budget:

  • Provide $30 million in “bridge funds” each year to improve access to community-based services and continue to move forward with the scheduled Training Center closures.

 

  • Oppose the plan to enroll I/DD waiver programs into a Medicaid managed-care plan operated by private, profit-making companies in FY16.

 

  •   Transfer budget authority for I/DD programs from the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), and make DBHDS  accountable for access to services, community capacity, budget transparency and stakeholder involvement.  Use DBHDS  cost savings to improve access to I/DD Waiver services.

 

  • Support funding for 1,000 additional ID Waiver slots and 400 additional DD Waiver slots each fiscal year to help the 7,600 Virginians who are on waiting lists for community-based services.

 

More information about the hearings, including  directions and sample talking points, can be found in The Arc of VA’s 2014 Budget Hearing Guide, which is available at the following link  https://thearcofva.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2014_BH_Guide-FINAL.pdf

Please let us know if you plan to speak one of the hearings and/or attend in support of The Arc’s testimony (Contact Lia Tremblay at ltremblay@thearcofva.org) .  Lia will provide you information about your  local chapter contact for the regional hearing.  She can also help you prepare your budget hearing testimony if you’d like any assistance developing your remarks.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions.  This event is critical to our 2014 advocacy efforts.

 

Start the New Year off right.  Make a difference.

 

As always, thank you for your advocacy.

 

-The Arc of Virginia