(Senator Steven Oroho Press Release, 01/19/23) Senator Oroho has filed a bill with bipartisan support that seeks to enable parents of children with developmental disabilities to file a complaint for guardianship prior to the child’s eighteenth birthday. In a statement, the Senator said, “A parent should not have to wait until their child with special needs turns 18 to file a complaint for guardianship. If there is a delay with the courts, this can actually lead to a gap in legal protections for vulnerable individuals.” If passed, parents would be able to file their petition up to six months in advance of the child’s eighteenth birthday.
(Mercer County Community College Press Release, 01/17/23) Mercer County Community College (MCCC) has announced the opening of its new County College-Based Center for Adult Transition (CAT). The CAT is open to young adults with developmental disabilities ages 18-24 and is intended to provide academic, pre-vocational education, career-related learning, and social experiences. The Center is being funded by a State of New Jersey grant from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and aims to help students achieve their post-secondary goals, gain meaningful employment, and prepare for independent living.
(State of Reform, 01/20/23) The state Senate Housing Committee took up SB5202, a bill seeking to authorize the Finance Committee to issue up to $4 billion in general obligation bonds to finance capital projects to address housing insecurity. Committee staffer Melissa Van Gorkom explained that if passed, the initiative would need voter approval during the next general election and if approved, the bonds would be issued outside of the state’s constitutional debt limit. The bill creates an accelerator revolving loan fund program that provides loans to developers, housing authorities and other eligible applicants to finance low-income housing for households whose adjusted income is between 50-80% of the area median income. The bill also sets guiderails on amounts to be spent by region and timeframes for completion of the projects. The Director for the Office of Financial Management said this process was the only way to address the state’s housing crisis without decimating other initiatives in the regular capital budget.
(This article courtesy of ANCOR’s subscription to Open Minds, 01/13/23) The Department of Health & Welfare is creating new components to support its crisis intervention system and move away from reliance on the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SITC), which is an ICF program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The new components of the system include two residential crisis settings on the grounds of SITC’s campus. The first will provide assessment, observation, and stabilization for people in crisis or needing urgent, intensive behavioral, mental health or medical care. The second will be a step-down program structured as apartment-like units for those needing less intensive service but who are not yet ready to return home. The second component will focus on “Teaming” by creating specialized clinical teams which will provide cross-system planning, coordination and emergency supports to help people remain in their communities. The third component will focus on “Capacity Building” and will create new support levels for people with exceptional needs. This component will include increased access to existing services, improved transition processes, and will require professionals to have higher qualifications and/or training with the goal of creating great community-based capacity. The plan still needs approval from the state’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for two proposed amendments to the Medicaid State Plan.
(Department of Human Services Press Release, 12/20/22) The Department of Human Services is issuing a $4 million round of state grants for technology to twelve organizations to help people improve their ability to live independently, access services and stay connected. The grants seek to target the 600,000 Minnesotans with disabilities and the 950,000 who are age 65 and older. In a statement, Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said, “Many of us take for granted how much we rely on technology to conduct the business of daily life… These grants will improve access and lower tech barriers for Minnesotans with disabilities and older Minnesotans.” Among the grant recipients include ANCOR member Accord, receiving $663,000 for technological resources and assistance to benefit people with disabilities receiving home and community-based services in Mount Olivet Rolling Acres group homes. The use of technology is intended to reduce barriers to care and help more individuals achieve their personal goals.
(SD Network, 11/07/22) The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is launching an Independent Living Support Pilot in July 2023. This pilot is intended to assist state residents who are older or have a disability, but are not eligible for Medicaid, to get short-term, flexible, limited services and supports to stay independent and healthy. Eligible participants include adults who are older or have a disability, make less than 300% of the federal poverty level, and live in the catchment area of an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) or Tribal ADRC that is participating in the pilot. Each participant will be eligible for up to $7,200 in services for home modifications, in-home support services, and rides to medical appointments.
(Dayton Daily News, 01/17/23) The Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities (located in the Dayton area) has declared a fiscal emergency after a five-year budget projected a multi-million-dollar shortfall from 2024 through 2028. The board said the deficit is expected to average $18.7 million per year. The county will receive $17 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to abate the shortfall in 2024 and 2025, but the Board is also reducing staff, closing four service locations and an administrative office, and moving staff to full-time remote work. Dr. Pamela Combs, superintendent for the Board, attributes the shortfall to a doubling in demand for the agency’s services since 2009 and a continual loss of revenue since then, an increase in payments to the state to cover the cost of services, an increase in waiver costs, and an increase in the cost of care due to closing of state Developmental Centers. Combs also identified a number of initiatives for future savings including increased billing for Medicaid, obtaining federal housing vouchers, greater reliance on community-based resources, liquidating the Southview facility, and asking the state for additional Medicaid matching funds to cover the increasing developmental disability service costs.
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