DODD Preparing for the 2013-14 Budget, and Other Updates
- Parent Category: ASO WEEKLY DIGEST
Topics addressed included the 2013-14 budget, the Employment First initiative; Ohio Transitions Developmental Disabilities (TDD) Waiver; Medicaid State Plan services; Special Education and Autism Scholarships; and, the Self Empowered Life Funding (SELF) Waiver.
DODD Director John Martin provided a status report on several subjects, including waivers; Ohio’s Developmental Centers; the future of Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs); and, a look at what we might expect in the upcoming budget. Regarding the budget he explained,
Director Martin’s overview of progress regarding Ohio’s reduction in the number of individuals residing in state-operated Developmental Centers included information supporting the overall philosophy of transitioning individuals into appropriate community-based settings. “We look at each individual and see if they could be better-served and more successful in a smaller setting, and then what kind of supports they might need.” He added,
“We have reduced the total population within Ohio’s ten Developmental Centers by 14% over the past two years – slightly better than the national average for states operating such centers, which is tracking at about 12%. We feel good about this direction, and about how this process has been managed - with the health and safety of these individuals in mind - as well as the funding involved.”
Monty Kerr, Deputy Director for DODD’s Division of Policy and Strategic Direction, addressed the group regarding the state’s Employment First efforts, and discussed the subject from the perspective of what the initiative can mean for families, including how they can work toward community-based employment for family members with disabilities. He stated,
“In looking at the statewide employment picture for individuals with developmental disabilities, we will be gathering and reviewing more data, and actually measuring success. Measuring, not just that a person is working – but where they’re working, how and why the are successful, and then, how can we spread that success around.”
Kerr also emphasized the importance of providing incentives for employers, as well as for County Boards, to focus on the goal of community-based employment as the priority option for adults. He observed,
“Increasing the supported employment rate from $25 to $42 is one of the incentives we believe will move this initiative forward. It makes for some challenges, as well, and so we are working on making the funds and the philosophy realistic partners in achieving this outcome.”
The seminar’s sessions on Medicaid State Plan Services, including how Managed Care may affect Ohioans with developmental disabilities, and the Ohio Department of Education’s Special Education and Autism Scholarships each sought to clarify these somewhat complex options. In addition, JEVS Human Services representative, Rick Zwelling, discussed how the Self Empowered Life funding (SELF) waiver differs from other waivers in the way supports and services are paid, and why families will find this new waiver especially exciting when it comes to self-direction.
The SELF waiver creates unprecedented opportunities for those enrolled to choose and pay for services. DODD has contracted with JEVS to serve as the fiscal intermediary for this waiver.
An evening session on the Transitions (TDD) waiver wrapped up a full day of information and discussion as Ohio’s DD community prepares for the next budget year.