We are in opposition to House Bill 916 in the North Carolina General Assembly. If passed this bill will lead the way for a waiver program and eliminate case management services for developmentally disabled children and make drastic changes to the overall services that adults receive as well. Case management has already taken a 40% cut, and they do their jobs well. They want to replace with workers that will be state workers that get health benefits as well as a generous salary. This has no cost benefit to the state whatsoever. However the long term costs of this decision are numerous.
The Autism rate is now 1 in 138. Do you grasp the number of people who will need services in the next 10 years? That is just one developmental disability among hundreds that citizens of this state live with. This is not like someone who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or a mental illness. With proper treatment those individuals can go on to lead productive lives, and more importantly these individuals have the cognitive abilities to defend themselves from any entity that might threaten their way of life. These children and adults lack that ability. No amount of medication or therapy will ever give them that ability, so they are reliant on the state, parents and advocates to defend their rights. If level of care is low (and we have reason to believe that this will be the case), you will have a disproportionate amount of people in group homes and state institutions, that with proper home care could live at the parents house. The costs to house one person for a year is triple that of providing in home services. This could end up costing the state millions upon millions of dollars in costs. And unlike other costs this will not be one you can cut from the budget; it will be a forced expense which will further cripple the state’s budget. This doesn’t take into account all the businesses you are about to put OUT of business and all the resulting unemployment claims as a result.
Each decision you make has long term repercussions that must be taken into consideration. The case management system as we have it now has worked, and these workers have been true champions for children and adults with developmental disabilities, by putting these decisions into the hands of people who work for the state you are creating a conflict of interest that will lead to fewer services for those that need them. We understand that this might already be too far in the process to reverse, but you don’t have to live with it. You can change this to exclude those with development disabilities, please listen to us. While you might not have much knowledge of the situation, we live it every day. This isn’t a cry for financial gain, or power. It’s to provide the highest level of care to those who mean the most to us, and for all those individuals who don’t have family to fight on their behalf.