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Action Alert: Stop Any Cuts to Services to People with Developmental Disabilities Between Now and January 2010

Posted Nov 25 2009 10:00pm


 

Help ensure that services to people with developmental disabilities don’t get cut in this year’s budget! We need your help know to ensure that there are no cuts to services.

The Governor has announced $400 million in mid-year budget cuts. Each Department is being asked to come up with its share of the cuts. The Department of Human Services is the largest Department in the State. It is unclear how much the Department or the Division of Developmental Disabilities is being asked to cut.

We need to let the Governor and the Department of Human Services know that DD services cannot be cut!!!

We are urging: No Cuts to Services for People with Developmental Disabilities.

It is easy- use this link to send your email: Action Alert

If the link does not work by clicking on it, cut and paste it into your web-browser.

The Department of Human Services announced its Fall Regional Budget Forums. It is imperative to let the Department/Administration know that Budget decisions should be based upon values and that all decisions have a human and personal impact. There should be no cuts to services for people with developmental disabilities. The Budget Forums will take place on November 19th and 30th and December 3rd. To view the Flyer which lists the dates, times and locations of the Budget Forums click on Department of Human Services Budget Forums

For ABCD's Talking Points for the DHS Budget Forums click Talking Points for DHS Budget Forums

ABCD as a member of the Developmental Disabilities Coalition is urging everyone to send letters to the Gubernatorial candidates as well as to Assembly candidates that requesting that there be no cuts to services for people with developmental disabilities.

To read the Action Alert Action Alert on No Cuts to Services to People with Developmental Disabilities.

To read the Flyer from Developmental Disabilities Coalition Flyer from the Developmental Disabilities Coalition on No Cuts to Services to People with Developmental Disabilities.

For a Sample Letter to send to candidates Sample Letter to Candidates on No Cuts to Services to People with Developmental Disabilities.

The Legislature passed the FY 2010 budget with minimal changes to the initial budget proposed by Governor Corzine. Services to people with developmental disabilities were spared significant cuts. It is important for Legislators to hear from you now to thank them for the budget. Below are some highlights in the budget for people with developmental disabilities.

The budget included funds for approximately 100 people who were living at home with their families who were on the Waiting List to receive services and funds for approximately 62 individuals to transition from the State's Developmental Centers to the community.

The Governor's initial budget did not include funds for new May 2009 graduates from special education programs. However, the Governor agreed to use funds in the Division of Developmental Disabilities' budget to fund adult programs for new graduates of special education.

Co-pays for Medicaid and the AIDS Drug Distribution Program have been eliminated from the budget. This is the seventh year in a row that advocates have successfully eliminate Medicaid co-pays from the budget.

Medical Day Care Reimbursement rates will be reduced to $78.50 a day from the current rates of $83 and $92 a day for free-standing facilities and hospital based programs. This is a victory because the Governor's initial budget included a cut to $70 a day. ABCD has advocated for many years that it costs more to serve people with multiple and physical developmental disabilities in Medical Day care than it does to serve the general elderly population.

The $3.7 million cut to services for individuals with disabilities in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services were not restored.

This year, once again, the State is using federal reimbursement from the Community Care Waiver (New Jersey's Home and Community-based Services Waiver for people with developmental disabilities) for purposes other than for services for people with developmental disabilities. The Division of Developmental Disabilities has been maximizing its federal revenue, including new amendments to the Community Care Waiver. However, all of these funds are not being re-invested into community services for people with developmental disabilities. • The developmental disabilities community infrastructure is in need of significant repair. Services and supports for people in the community are needed for medical care, psychiatric and behavioral services, and accessible housing.

The Governor's budget included $1 million in additional funding for the Early Intervention Program, for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. However, these funds are not enough to account for the estimated 5-7% increase in estimate growth due to the number of eligible children and families entering the program. ABCD and its Early Intervention Providers Association are pleased that the Governor understands the financial needs of this program. The initial budget proposed, and the final budget passed by the Legislature included, budget language which allows for additional funds if needed for the progra without formal Legislative review and approval.

For the second year in a row, providers of community services did not receive a cost of providing care increase, despite the fact that health insurance, workers compensation, gas and other energy costs are increasing dramatically. Agencies are experiencing difficulties as a result of the national economic crisis including difficulties recruiting and retaining quality staff and meeting the rising costs of providing care to the most vulnerable. ABCD continues to call upon the Governor and the Legislature to provide an annualized cost of providing care increase, based on the Consumer Price Index, to community-based provider agencies.

We had a number of sucesses in this year's budget for people with developmental disabilities (See below on Medicaid co-pays and the Cost of Providing Care. These successes only occured due to the efforts of individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, staff, Board members, and advocates. ABCD is a member of several coalition that have worked together on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and others.

The Cost of Providing Care Coalition, of which ABCD served on the Steering Committee, is thankful for your work. The Coalition appreciates your work and has put together an Alert to thank you. Please click Cost of Providing Care Thank You

The budget negotiated between the Legislature and and Governor that will be voted on by the end of June eliminates all Medicaid Co-pays. This is a great victory and we should thank the legislators and the Governor for hearing us on this important issue.

For more information related to national research showing why Medicaid co-pays will harm beneficiaries click Medicaid Co-pays Harmful to Beneficiaries

The Legislature and Governor included in their final budget, to be voted on by the end of June, a 3% increase beginning in January 2008 for community providers, which is in effect a 1.5% increase. This increase is appreciated given that the Governorn's proposed budget had proposed 2% beginning in Janaury, which in effect was a 1% increase. However, the increase is not enough. Providers have seen substantial increases in fuel costs, health insurance, workers compensation, and other costs of doing business. Providers are asking for an annualized cost of providing care increase using the Consumer Price Index for Northeast Urban Wage workers. This year's increase using the index is 4.1%

More than 1,000 people came to the State House on May 31st to let the Governor and the Legislature know that community providers needed a 4.1% increase in the budget for their contracts. Keep up the advocacy on the Cost of Providing Care with your Legislators.

The Cost of Providing Care Coalition has compiled data from a state-wide survey on the need for a Cost of Providing Care increase. For information on the survey click Data on the Cost of Providing Care.

The Cost of Providing Care Coalition has developed charts showing the actual cost of providing care increases for providers since Fiscal Year 1996 and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Workers in the North East along with what the Cost of Providing Care increase would have been if A 1996, a bill requiring that the Governor's budget include a Cost of Providing Care increase was enacted. For the table click Table on the Consumer Price Index and the Cost of Providing Care.

ABCD had the opportunity to testify at the Assembly Budget Hearing on March 13th and the Senate Budget Hearing on March 14th. ABCD's testimony focuses on: 1) the Cost of Providing Care; 2) Reinvestment of Federal Medicaid revenues from the Community Care Waiver into DDD community services for Olmstead, the Residential Waiting List, and Family Support; 3) Need to Eliminate Medicaid Co-Pays; 4) Long Term Financing for Early Intervention including reimbursement rates for EI Providers; and 5) Medical Day Care for People with Developmental Disabilities. To view our testimony click ABCD Budget Testimony on FY 2008 Budget.

On February 22, 2007, Governor Corzine proposed his FY 2008 budget. The budge includes a 2% cost of providing care increase, effective in January 2008, $10 million in additional funds for the Division of Developmental Disabilities, and proposes co-pays for prescription drugs for Medicaid beneficiaries.

For more information on the budget click Governor Corzine's Proposed FY 2008 Budget (updated on February 27, 2007)

In February 2007, Governor Corzine will propose his FY 2008 budget (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008). In preparation the State Departments are developing their plans.

ABCD's advocacy for the budget focuses on issues at the Department of Health and Senior Services and at the Department of Human Services.

ABCD has provided testimony at the Department of Human Services' Budget Forum. To read our testimony ABCD Testimony at Department of Human Services Budget Forum.


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