More on this petition:
As family members of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), we are very worried about the devastating financial impact of the proposed 1915 (c) waiver amendment cutting reimbursement for retainer, therapeutic leave and vacancy days. These cuts reduce specific providers’ reimbursement by $238 million annually and may force some agencies to close altogether. The cuts will disproportionately affect agencies that take care of medically frail individuals and those with behavioral issues, people who may require more frequent inpatient stays. The cost of running a residence does not decrease when one person is not there – staffing, rent, insurance, and utility costs remain the same yet the state is proposing to cut the funds needed to keep these placements open for when the person returns. Sadly there are more vacancies due to deaths from Covid 19 that take longer to fill because families are reluctant to consider placement with only a virtual tour and no in person visit to meet and spend time with the other residents. Vacancies take longer to fill because OPWDD staff is in charge of approving and forwarding applicants for placement for the entire state while managing during this crisis. These fiscal attacks on our residences seem especially callous given that agencies have been on their own to provide PPE and hazard pay for staff, staff that has been doing a heroic job under exceptionally challenging circumstances. These cuts are scheduled for October 1st , likely coinciding with the projected second wave of COVID-19 magnifying the misery for our family members, threatening the viability of residential placements while the need grows especially for people who need the most support, and punishing the providers hit hardest by the pandemic.