ODDS Director Lilia Teninty Recaps 2018 Session and Highlights DD Awareness Month

To: All ODDS Staff and Stakeholders
From: Lilia Teninty, Director, Office of Developmental Disabilities Services

This message includes two timely topics important to the I/DD community: DD Awareness Month and the 2018 legislative session wrap-up.

The Oregon Legislature holds its short session in even-numbered years. Short sessions usually include re-balancing budgets and a limited number of policy items. This year’s session wrapped up last Saturday.

Here are highlights of the ODDS-related items:

  • The Legislature approved an investment for the Background Check Unit (BCU) to cover the costs of providing background checks, as well as to increase staffing levels to reduce the current backlog and waiting time.
  • Funding for 10 positions for the Children’s Intensive In-Home Services (CIIS) and Children’s Residential programs that were included in the workload model for 2017-19.
  • Our plan to achieve the required $12 million overall budget reduction was approved. We expect to meet the full reduction through administrative and management actions, including reducing contracts, taking steps to maximize federal funding, and maintaining cost per case. The plan is designed to prevent reductions in services, eligibility or rates in the current biennium (through June 2019).
  • ODDS’s significant legislation includes SB 1534. It directs DHS to collaborate with the Home Care Commission to establish minimum training standards for home care workers and personal support workers. More than 30,000 home care workers and personal support workers serve more than 25,000 vulnerable Oregonians each month. Developing a highly trained, culturally appropriate, and person-centered workforce requires an investment in training opportunities to enhance the safety, stability, and quality of life for those served in-home through the Aging and People with Disabilities and ODDS programs. This bill is waiting the governor’s signature.

March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month!

Every March, the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) takes the lead in helping Oregonians recognize and celebrate DD Awareness Month. OCDD’s 2018 #BetterTogether photo rally will celebrate people with disabilities as valued members of their communities and highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.
We encourage you to participate by sending photos to OCDD of people with I/DD with friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors or other members of the community. You can also post pictures on the Council’s Facebook page. Use the hashtag #BetterTogether18. Details are online on the Council’s website.

Sincerely,
Lilia Teninty, Director
Office of Developmental Disabilities Services

Advocacy Efforts for Oregon Disability Services and Funding Continues in Salem

(L – R) – John Griffiths, Larry Deal, Leslie Sutton, Ross Ryan, Lissa Peterson, Kaaren Londahl, Ryley Newport

INW is proud to be part of the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition advocacy efforts with legislators in Salem. There are two more DD Advocacy Days left during the 2018 short session: Tuesday February 27th and Tuesday March 6th, 2018.

Follow this link  to learn more about how you can make your voice heard by connecting with Oregon lawmakers on issues related to eligibility changes and ongoing funding for home and community based services for Oregonians with I/DD.

An Update on the Oregon Needs Assessment (ONA) by ODDS Director Lilia Teninty

On October 30th, 2017, Oregon Developmental Disabilities Director Lilia Teninty released the following statement regarding the Oregon Needs Assessment:

“We’ve reached some important milestones I want to share with you. The summary below reflects a great deal of work done by everyone in our service system – ODDS staff, CDDP and Brokerage staff, providers, people with I/DD and their families. Thank you for your thoughtful feedback and your efforts to help us get to this point.

The journey to create the ONA started in 2013. The Legislature told ODDS to implement a single, uniform assessment tool. It would be used for everyone we support, regardless of setting.

We engaged a stakeholder group for the project. We also hired Mission Analytics Group. Mission Analytics’ role was to ensure the ONA is a validated tool for all service settings.

The project team members have been diligent. They worked through technical challenges, revisions to the questions, and more. They conducted hundreds of assessments that were used to test the validity and reliability of the ONA. They managed two rounds of pilot testing.

We are close to rolling out the ONA. All individuals receiving I/DD services will be assessed using the ONA in 2018. We need to start the ONA assessments in January to be able to collect data needed for the Compass Project.

Based on input from advocates and partners, we asked CDDPs and Brokerages to work with us to identify staff to administer the ONA. CDDPs and Brokerages are identifying staff in their entities to perform the assessments. The ODDS assessment team will also assist with administering ONAs in rural areas of the state.

From January through June, staff will use both the ONA and the current assessment tool. In July, the ONA will be the official assessment. The ODDS assessment team will train the CDDP and Brokerage staff who will use the tool. The team will also provide technical assistance and quality assurance. They will do this to ensure the tool is administered consistently across the state.

The ONA will be administered by a staff person who is not the person’s case manager.

Benefits of separating case management from the assessment include:

  • Removes real or perceived conflicts of interest.
  • Improves objectivity and consistency.
  • The case manager may still take part in the assessment. The case manager will not be responsible for the results of the assessment itself. Instead, the case manager can support the person and provide information to inform responses.

Our journey to create the ONA is reaching its destination. Thank you to the many people who are making it possible.”

 

Brokerage Services are Medicaid Services and Funding is at Risk

You may have heard that Brokerages and CDDPs/counties are facing serious cuts.

Locally, we expect a pretty significant hit to disability services, primarily in the case management and crisis arenas. At the federal level, not only is case management in the cross hairs, but so are your in-home brokerage supports. When you hear politicians talking about healthcare reform, it’s not only about medical care with your doctor or at a hospital. It’s important to understand that Brokerage services are Medicaid services. Most county/CDDP services are Medicaid services. The K Plan is a Medicaid service. For the past four-plus years, the vast majority of services for thousands of children and adults with disabilities in Oregon has been funded through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – a Medicaid program. And the Senate proposal (now called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017) led by Mitch McConnell directly targets the reduction of home and community based services for people with disabilities (including brokerage services.)

This message is a simple ask: please contact your legislators and tell them your story as soon as possible. You can send an email or make a call. A vote is possible following Independence Day.

The great folks at the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition have created easy-to-use advocacy instructions to help you get started. This is a key moment in the history of services for people with disabilities. Please take a moment to share your story and let your voice be heard.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Everyone has a story, and there is power in sharing it. If Medicaid matters in your life, NOW is the time to share your Medicaid story with members of the United States Senate. They need to understand the positive impact Medicaid has in lives of millions of Americans with disabilities each and every day.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

  • I am your constituent.
  • I am a person with a disability [or I am a family member of someone with a disability or I am a professional in the disability field].
  • “Please do NOT allow cuts or caps to Medicaid.”
  • “Because of Medicaid, I have healthcare and supports to live in my community. For example, I use my services to _____________________________________.”
  • “If I don’t have these Medicaid-funded supports, my life will be harder because _____________.”

HOW TO CONTACT UNITED STATES SENATORS
Oregon’s Senators, Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley, are both very supportive of the disability community and will not be voting for this bill. However, they still need to hear your story because they can share it with their Senate colleagues and they are keeping tallies of the contacts they have with their constituents so each contact you make is extremely important. Even if you have reached out to them already, please share your story again and ask for their support in stopping this legislation that would have a devastating impact on the disability community. Reach out to them by phone or email or via their website or on social media – whatever modes work best for you. Make calls to their offices in Washington DC at 202-224-3121

Send them an email at:

Share your personal story about Medicaid in their story banks: www.merkley.senate.gov/share-your-aca-story and www.wyden.senate.gov/trumpcare-story

Reach out to your family and friends across the nation to support your advocacy efforts to save Medicaid by contacting their United States Senators and urge them to vote NO on the BCRA! Please encourage your family and friends to call their United Senators via the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reject the current draft of the BCRA.

We want all U.S. Senators to be urged to reject Medicaid Cuts & Caps, including:

  • Alabama:  Shelby
  • Alaska:  Murkowski & Sullivan
  • Arizona:  Flake
  • Colorado:  Gardner
  • Florida:  Rubio
  • Georgia:  Isakson
  • Indiana:  Young
  • Louisiana:  Cassidy
  • Maine:  Collins
  • Missouri: Blunt
  • Montana:  Daines
  • Nebraska:  Fischer & Sasse
  • Nevada:  Heller
  • North Dakota: Hoeven
  • Ohio:  Portman
  • Pennsylvania:  Toomey
  • South Carolina: Graham
  • South Dakota: Rounds & Thune
  • West Virginia:  Capito
  • Wisconsin: Johnson

Thank you for your continued support and advocacy for essential services for Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities! And thank you to the I/DD Coalition for the materials to share.

 

 

Oregon Disability Services Face Cuts – Your Voice is Needed this Saturday in Portland

Oregon is currently facing at a significant budget deficit and in order to deal with the issue, our state legislature is looking at places to reduce, discontinue, or rearrange funding. There are several areas the legislature is considering cuts in the coming months, many of which were outlined in the Governor’s Proposed Budget:

  • A reduction in brokerage and county/CDDP case management funding
  • Elimination of the Family Network program
  • Elimination of Regional crisis services
  • Elimination of the Fairview Housing Trust Fund
  • Partial rate increase to Direct Support Provider wages

You can learn all about the proposed budget cuts and adjustments in this great article by brokerage association director Katie Rose. Remember, these are cuts mentioned only in the Governor’s budget – legislators may be looking at other ways to adjust funding to balance the budget.

How You Can Help

This Saturday, attend the Town Hall at PCC Sylvania in Portland! The Joint Committee on Ways and Means has scheduled a series of Town Hall meetings across the state. Having advocates from the I/DD community show up and give testimony at these public budget hearings is very important.  This is a unique opportunity to tell legislators what your services mean to you and why keeping service networks strong is important for you and your family. We have heard that legislators aren’t getting a lot of feedback from the community on services – please take this chance to make your voice heard.

What to expect if you go? Be prepared for large crowds, and plan to arrive early, especially if you want to sign up to give testimony (at least 1 to 1 ½ hours early). The sign-up sheet for testimony fills up quickly. Even if you don’t plan to give testimony, your presence at these events, wearing or waving something yellow in support of the DD Community, will send the message to legislators that the DD Community is unified in its support of DD programs and services.

RSVP and connect on the event Facebook page here.

When: Saturday February 11th 12 – 2pm (Be there as early as 10:30 or 11:00 if you want to speak!)
Where: Main Mall, Amo DeBernardis CC Building
PCC, Sylvania campus 12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland

To support your participation in these statewide budget town halls, the I/DD Coalition will ensure a host will be on site at the event to provide you with fact sheets, advocacy stickers and more. Please register for this event via Facebook to stay informed and receive the latest information.

Thanks to our friends at the I/DD Coalition and GO! Project for their great work organizing the community and providing the content for this post.

 

Oregon I/DD Services Director Releases Statement on Proposed 2017 Budget Cuts and Investments

Lilia TenintyOregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services Director Lilia Teninty released a statement today regarding budget cuts and investments in Governor Brown’s recently-released state budget for 2017 – 2019 related to the intellectual and developmental disabilities community:

Dec. 5, 2016

To: All ODDS Staff and Stakeholders

On December 1, Governor Kate Brown published her proposed budget for the 2017-2019 biennium. The governor noted she had tough decisions to make under difficult circumstances, including a $1.7 billion budget gap. Her budget fills the shortfall with a combination of new revenue, program cuts and efficiencies.

The governor’s budget for DHS is nearly $11.3 billion total funds, a 6 percent increase over the current biennium. It includes investments to balance the DHS budget in a long-term sustainable manner to meet the needs of Oregon’s most vulnerable residents. It also includes reductions that impact DHS.

The Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities system

The Oregon Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) program strives to support choices of individuals with disabilities and their families within communities by promoting and providing services that are person-centered, self-directed, flexible, community-inclusive, and culturally appropriate.

The I/DD system has many critical partners including Community Developmental Disabilities Programs (CDDPs), Brokerages, providers, families, and self-advocates, which support individuals with I/DD to live full lives in their communities. Oregon no longer has institutional settings for persons with developmental disabilities, so all individuals are served in the community. Most of these services are administered under Medicaid waivers and the Community First Choice Option (the K-Plan). The Stabilization and Crisis Unit (SACU) is also part of this program.

With the implementation of the K-Plan, the I/DD program has experienced and continues to experience increases in caseload and cost per case for individuals served. The 2017-19 Governor’s budget for Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS) is $2.7 billion total funds ($893.9 million General Fund).

Governor’s proposed 2017-2019 budget

In order to fully fund increased caseloads and costs, certain tradeoffs had to occur. While continuing to protect eligibility requirements for children and adults to qualify for services, the budget makes some reductions.

  • Community Developmental Disability Programs and Brokerages. Thirty-four CDDPs and 14 Support Services Brokerages provide case management services to approximately 26,000 individuals with I/DD. CDDPs serve as a front door to the I/DD System, responsible for eligibility determinations and re-determinations, protective service investigations, and on-site reviews of foster homes for children and adults. Since implementation of the K-Plan, case management entities have been serving rapidly growing number of individuals with I/DD enrolling into the system and have experienced increasing workloads. This budget reduces equity funding from 95 to 91 percent.
  • Family-to-Family Network program. With the K-Plan, services are available to all eligible children and adults in Oregon. Families take advantage of the Family-to-Family Network to learn about and access other local resources and unpaid supports. This program would be eliminated in this budget.
  • Regional programs. Funding provided to regional programs has been eliminated. These programs are funded by the state but the functions were determined by local CDDPs, ranging from provider training and capacity building to crisis placement, depending on the needs of the area.

The budget also makes significant investments in DD programs.

  • Rate increase to support Direct Support Professionals. To address the need to develop a stable and well-trained workforce, the budget funds increasing the rate structure for non-bargained, agency services with a $22.3 million General Fund increase. This can help reduce the staff turnover rate and help attract and retain qualified workers, increasing safety for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Fairview Trust Fund. The budget expends the $6 million Fairview Housing Trust Fund on services dedicated to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Related investments.

  • Background Check Unit. Additional staff will help eliminate a backlog of background checks for I/DD Personal Support Workers, agency DSPs and other DHS programs, helping meet required staffing levels while maintaining health, safety and financial wellness of Oregonians.
  • Technology improvements. The budget adds $14 million General Fund for two important technology programs. One of those, the Centralized Abuse Management System, will replace a patchwork of solutions for records related to abuse reporting for our programs and others within DHS.

Whenever we are faced with budget cuts — even as we have increases in other areas — it causes a lot of uncertainty and worry. Governor Brown says that state government will tighten its belt and live within its means, but not without painful cuts to critical programs at a level she finds unavoidable and unacceptable. She has presented this budget “ … as the starting place for a broader conversation with Oregonians and legislators about how best to align our resources with our shared values and vision for moving Oregon forward.”

In January, the Legislature will take up the state budget. There will be many opportunities to provide input to Legislators throughout the session. I look forward to working with advocates for the DD system throughout this process and I will provide you with information as the process unfolds.

Lilia Teninty, Director
Office of Developmental Disabilities Services

 

INW Hosting Day and Evening Info Sessions on Adult In-Home Services this October

What’s Changing?

In the last few weeks, Personal Support Workers and brokerage customers should have received information directly from the State of Oregon and/or SEIU regarding an important change just around the corner. For a good many years, TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services has issued paychecks for PSWs serving our customers. TNT’s contract with the state ends at the end of 2016 and a new agency, PCG Public Partnerships LLC (known as PPL) will be taking over this responsibility. So in the very near future, Personal Support Workers will stop getting payment from TNT and start getting payment from PPL.

 

What does this mean to Personal Support Workers and Customer-Employers?

Generally speaking, it means that Personal Support Workers and employers (be they a brokerage customer or a legal designee) have some paperwork to fill out. Right now, PPL is sending out mailers to three groups of folks:

  • Employers (customers or their designees) who employ PSWs (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 4th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for one Employer (customer or their designee) (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 7th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for two or more Employers (customers or their designees)  (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 8th, 2016)

Customer-Employers and Personal Support Workers can return their packets in a variety of ways: by mail, fax, or secure email.

 

What Help Is Available?

If you’d like some hands-on help, consider attending one of the optional Enrollment Information and Help Sessions for Employers and PSWs. Multiple sessions will be held here at Independence Northwest and there are sessions in all three metro area counties. RSVP for a session by clicking here. If you have received your packet, you can bring it to the session in your area to receive hands-on help. If you haven’t received it by the time the session you want to attend happens, they’ll print a packet for you there and assist you in person.

You can also call PPL Customer Services for help. Their number is listed on this flyer or you can visit this website.The state’s eXPRS Facebook page has a ton of resources related to the change as well.

 

Transition time is very tight on this, so be sure you’re responsive and get the help you need! If packets are not completed and processed by the end of the year, payment for services may be affected. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to PPL for help.

We Need Your Help: Brokerage Case Management Funding Faces Reduction Next Week

Dear Customers, Family Members, and Providers,

I’m writing you to ask for your help.

On Monday, Legislators meet to make final budget decisions and Brokerages statewide may receive cuts to our administrative and case management funding. Your support can make all the difference in making sure that doesn’t happen.

If you have a spare couple of minutes between now and Friday, we would greatly appreciate your support. A quick email to the legislators listed below or just a call to their offices will go a long way. Ask them to support “funding of the Workload Model at 95% and no less!”

I have come to know many of you over the past couple of years as INW has done outreach to the community, educating hundreds and hundreds of community members on the systemic changes, specifically the K Plan (Community First Choice Option). While the K Plan has brought a lot of funding into the system to pay for direct services, it has not added a penny to our administrative budgets. Personal Agents who were supporting 45 people historically managed about a half million dollars in Medicaid funds on behalf of customers and providers. Today, many manage double, triple, and quadruple that. Think about the way you’ve seen your plan or the plans of others change over the past two years and multiply that by 7,800, the number of people brokerages serve statewide. The change has been huge. Add to that the Adult Needs Assessment requirement, the unfunded burden of the eXPRS payment system implementation, our Personal Agents now entering timesheets on behalf of many providers, the state’s change to a much longer and more complicated ISP, and enormous systemic shifts, and we are in no place to take a statewide reduction in funding. I believe that some lawmakers may be confusing the K increase with an overall funding increase and it’s just not the case.

I have included a couple of example letters you might use as a template for your email or as a script for your phone call. If you could contact the legislators listed below (whether you live in their district or not) it would be great! If you’re interested in additional details about the Workload Model issue, check out this in-depth explanation: Brokerage Reductions at 90%.

The importance of your support is immeasurable to us right now. I wouldn’t ask for last-minute action if I didn’t believe it could change the future. Your voice will make all the difference between a continued move toward better and more person-centered services versus a world where we may be looking at increased caseloads and a reduction in overall quality for a system known for its innovation, responsiveness, and vision. Our system has taken enough hits this past biennium.

Best to you and yours and thank you again for your support and the opportunity to serve this community.

Larry Deal
Executive Director

 

Legislators to Contact

Representative Deborah Boone Rep.DeborahBoone@state.or.us 503-986-1432
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer Rep.AlissaKenyGuyer@state.or.us 503-986-1446
Representative Nancy Nathanson Rep.NancyNathanson@state.or.us 503-986-1413
Representative Andy Olson Rep.AndyOlson@state.or.us 503-986-1415
Representative Duane Stark Rep.duanestark@state.or.us 503-986-1404
Senator Alan Bates Sen.AlanBates@state.or.us 503-986-1703
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward Sen.ElizabethSteinerHayward@state.or.us 503-986-1717
Senator Jackie Winters Sen.JackieWinters@state.or.us 503-986-1710


SAMPLE LETTER FROM CUSTOMER/FAMILY MEMBERS

Dear LEGISLATOR,

I am a customer of OR a family member of a person who receives brokerage services for people with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) here in Oregon. I understand that you are making budgetary decisions next week regarding funding for case management. PLEASE FUND BROKERAGES AT THE 95% WORKLOAD MODEL LEVEL – AND NO LESS.

While the Community First Choice Option (K Plan) brought more services to me/my family, it did not add any additional funding for brokerages to administer double and triple the services they have administered historically. We need to know that our brokerage Personal Agent will be responsive when we need him/her. If you reduce funding, we know that increased caseloads are likely. That means we won’t have access to the services we need as quickly. Some of the services I receive right now are: __________________________________. The time I need my brokerage support the most is to help me ______________________________.

Statewide, brokerages have experienced huge increases in workload related to the K Plan, the state’s much more complicated ISP, the eXPRS payment system, and all the paperwork changes. I rely on these services to live an independent life in the community. Please fund brokerages fairly in the next biennium – 95% and no less.

Thank you for your consideration and your service.

YOUR NAME

_________

SAMPLE LETTER FROM PROVIDER/PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKER

Dear LEGISLATOR,

I am a Personal Support Worker/Employee/Provider of services for a person who receives brokerage services for adults with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) here in Oregon. I understand that you are making budgetary decisions next week regarding funding for IDD case management. PLEASE FUND BROKERAGES AT THE 95% WORKLOAD MODEL LEVEL – AND NO LESS.

While the Community First Choice Option (K Plan) brought more services to the people I serve, it did not add any additional funding for brokerages to administer double and triple the services they have administered historically. We need to know that the brokerage Personal Agents we work with will be responsive when customer needs arise – including processing payment to providers like me. If you reduce funding, we know that increased caseloads are likely, meaning slower response time for getting essential needs met. As a provider, I rely on the brokerage for ___________________________________________.

Statewide, brokerages have experienced huge increasing in workload related to the K Plan, the state’s much more complicated ISP, the eXPRS payment system, and all the paperwork changes. The people I support rely on these services to live an independent life in the community and my livelihood is reliant on this program. Please fund brokerages fairly in the next biennium – 95% and no less.

Thank you for your consideration and your services.

YOUR NAME

 

Upcoming Public Hearings in Gresham and Portland Re: Potential I/DD Service Cuts

Oregon is well on its way to crafting a final budget for the next two years.  Right now, the word is that there will be cuts to programs for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). As part of the process of gathering public input, the Ways and Means committee is traveling around Oregon in a roadshow, holding public hearings and inviting people to come speak to their priorities for state funding.

The Ways and Means committee needs to see the I/DD community, they need to hear the I/DD community, and they need to walk away from that roadshow knowing that people all over Oregon value services to people with I/DD!

We encourage anyone who is concerned about the future of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities to make attendance at these events a high priority!

See this press release from the Oregon Legislature to find a hearing location near you:

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/courtney/Documents/JWMadvisory_LO.pdf

In the tri-county area, mark your calendars for:

Thursday April 16th in Gresham – Mt. Hood Community College 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Tuesday April 21st in Portland – PCC Rock Creek Campus 7:00 – 8:30 PM

We hope to see you there! Your voice matters!

Via Katie Rose, Executive Director of Oregon Support Services Association

 

Potential Budget Cuts to Brokerage Funding – Your Help is Needed!

Distressing news out of the capitol: lawmakers may be looking to cut $140 million from human services in order to fund a budget “hole.”  The question is, what does a $140 million cut to human services look like?  Though plan hours are not likely to be cut, vulnerable areas include provider pay rates and Brokerage funding for Personal Agents.  Brokerage Personal Agents and direct support providers have worked to implement dozens of system changes over the past two years.  With these changes has come a lot of additional workload and responsibilities, which is already cutting into the bottom line: time spent with Brokerage customers.  Any reduction in funding is going to cut further into that time.

 

Now is the perfect time to flex your advocacy muscles.  Advocacy is defined as “the act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy,” and if you’re a human, chances are you’ve been engaging in advocacy your entire life.  Some people are certainly more comfortable speaking their minds than others.  The trick to being a good advocate isn’t about becoming a perfect speaker, it’s about finding the right message for you.  When you find a cause or idea that is true to your heart and soul, you will find that the words flow much more easily.

 

How have your Brokerage services helped you to live the life that you choose?  Please call, email, or visit your state representatives and senators, and let them know how important your Brokerage services are to you!  For more information, check out the Oregon I/DD Coalition’s special bulletin on the current need for advocacy.  You can find your legislators, and see the list of legislators on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services, the joint committee in charge of making legislative budget recommendations.  You can also get talking points and more information about each of the Coalition’s four priorities: Employment, restoring the Fairview Housing Trust, raising DSP wages, and funding Brokerage and county case management at 95%.  Each of the four priorities were selected because they fund the cornerstones of a full and meaningful life in Oregon’s communities. Even small cuts to the 95% Case Management funding mean losses for Brokerages from last biennium, at a time when workload has greatly increased.  Let your legislators know that overworked/underfunded PAs mean that you can’t get the services you want, when you want them.  Urge them to fund the Workload Model for Brokerages and counties at 95%!

 

– Katie Rose, Executive Director of Oregon Support Services Association

DAY ONE of the 2012 Week of DD Advocacy – How Will You Participate?

Make a difference this legislative session! We need your voice! Participate in the “Week of DD Advocacy” starting today!

2012 DD Advocacy Message to Oregon Legislators –

“Oregonians with developmental disabilities and their families can’t move backward, we need to move forward! Don’t take away our ability to continue responding to the needs of thousands of people with developmental disabilities and their families with a sustainable, flexible, cost-effective supports and services.”

Here are some ways you can get involved in our week long virtual DD advocacy rally:

FIND YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS

http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

1. CALL OR EMAIL YOUR LEGISLATOR with this message -always introduce yourself as their “constituent”

2. THINK SOCIAL MEDIA!

  •  Post this message on your Facebook wall and on your legislator’s Facebook wall;
  •  If you use Twitter, tweet this message;
  •  And lastly, the Coalition will be posting on Facebook all week so” like” and “share” our advocacy posts.

3. JOIN US AT THE CAPITOL – Thursday, February 16.

  •  Make an appointment to talk with your legislators and/or their staff about not cutting services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. We will be wearing yellow and have yellow buttons available for DD advocates to wear!
  •  For those who want to participate in the DD Advocacy Day at the Capitol on Feb 16 but can’t make it to Salem, just take photos of yourself and others holding a Print & GO Rally Sign then post it to your Facebook page and tag your legislator & the Oregon DD Coalition!

Use the Print & GO Talking Points tri-fold brochure for more information for specific budget cuts proposed and our message of advocacy for each.

Encourage your family and friends to get involved in DD Advocacy on Feb 16.

DHS Releases Proposed Budget Cut List – Brokerages in Crosshairs Again

Just five weeks ago, about 700 people were exited from brokerage services due to budget cuts. Once again, Support Services Brokerages are showing up on a reduction option list for additional cuts. Proposed cuts would make significant reductions to brokerage operations and would slash the amount of money brokerage customers have available to them in their Individual Support Plans. A message from Erinn Kelly-Siel, the Director of the Department of Human Services was just released (see below.)

Please spend some time reviewing the letter and the accompanying links. Our state is in a very difficult space and many difficult decisions must be made. DHS is asking for comments and alternative reduction suggestions no later than THIS FRIDAY. Please let your voice be heard so we can preserve these essential services.  Please forward this along to your networks.

Message from Erinn Kelley-Siel, DHS Director
As a result of the ongoing economic weakness facing the state, and the potential for additional projected revenue declines in future forecasts, Oregon’s Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) requested the submission of reduction options from all state agencies. LFO requested agencies to develop a total of 10.5% in reduction options, based on 2011-13 legislatively adopted budget level, including the 3.5% supplemental ending balance adjustment amount.  This list is due to LFO by November 14, 2011. To reach that target, the total level of reduction for the Department of Human Services is $210-220 million general fund.

REQUEST FOR COMMENT: DHS is seeking feedback on the attached reduction options [ see links below] prior to their submission to the Legislative Fiscal Office.  Feedback should be submitted no later than 12:00 noon on November 11, 2011. Feedback should concentrate on alternative reductions that would help the agency achieve its savings target and/or on recommendations regarding the prioritization of the reductions on the list.  Ultimately, decisions about any proposed reductions will be vetted through the legislative process.

Please note that these reduction options are not intended to reflect the policy or program recommendations of the agency. DHS is acutely aware that the reduction options on this list have significant consequences for Oregonians and the communities in which they live.

Department of Human Services Reduction Options
The list is posted on the DHS website at http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/aboutdhs/budget/2011-2013/index.shtml

Here is the DIRECT LINK to the list: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/aboutdhs/budget/2011-2013/reductions/stakeholder-input2011-1108.pdf

Reduction Option List Format
Please note the following as you review and comment on the reduction options:

  • The list is organized by major program area. Within each program area, the reduction options have been prioritized – but DHS has not yet prioritized the reduction options across the department.
  • At the top of each list (in grey shading) are the reductions that the Legislature has already taken in each program in the 2011-13 budget. Some of those reductions have not yet been fully implemented. However, the savings associated with those reductions have already been included in the 2011-13 DHS Legislatively Adopted Budget.
  • The list in total equates to $210-220 million in General Fund savings, the 10.5% target set by LFO. The entire list of reduction options would need to be taken in order for DHS to achieve the full savings target.
  • The list is currently focused on program reduction options. Additional reductions to program delivery infrastructure and administration are still under review by DHS and Oregon Health Authority leadership.

Next Steps: If you would like to offer comment on the proposed reduction options, please send your comments to gene.evans@state.or.us. Please send comments NO LATER than 12:00 noon, November 11, 2011. DHS Leadership will review and consider all comments prior to submitting the list to LFO on November 14, 2011.

Conclusion
These are difficult times for Oregonians and for our state. DHS takes very seriously its obligation to the people it serves, our partners in that service, and to the taxpayers of Oregon. Thank you in advance for your understanding with regard to the difficulty of this task and all it entails. Your feedback is invaluable to our ability to do the best work we can with the resources we have.

Resources for Customers Exiting Brokerage Services

On October 1st, somewhere between 700 and 800 people will be exited from brokerage services due to non-Medicaid status. Recently, our staff got together to create resource lists for those affected. Below are some resources that might be of use to you or someone you know.

211 – This should always be your first stop for resources in our community. This clearinghouse has a comprehensive listing of resources available to you 24/7. Check them out now!

Ride Wise – Ride Connections’ Ride Wise program teaches older adults and people with disabilities to travel independently and safely on public transportation. The services are provided at no charge for those who qualify and encompass all forms of public transportation (bus, light rail).

Independent Living Resources – ILR promotes the philosophy of Independent Living by creating opportunities, encouraging choices, advancing equal access, and furthering the level of independence for all people with disabilities.

Mint – Mint is a free money management software that will help you manage your funds so you can continue living independently.

Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation– The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, founded in 1959, serves as the nonprofit arm of the Lions Clubs of Oregon.  Today, the Foundation continues to provide sight and hearing assistance for Oregonians in need through numerous programs that improve the quality of life of our most vulnerable members of our community.

Free Geek – Free Geek’s mission is to recycle technology and provide access to computers, the internet, education and job skills in exchange for community service.

Human Solutions –  Since 1988, Human Solutions has developed a wide range of effective programs to assist families and individuals to find successful pathways out of poverty and homelessness toward self-sufficiency. Human Solutions helps families and individuals gain prosperity which in turn helps our greater community to thrive.

Impact NW – Impact Northwest’s mission is to help people achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and to prevent and alleviate the effects of poverty.

DART (Disability Assault/Abuse Response Team) – DART provides a domestic violence support group for women with developmental/cognitive disabilities. They are currently holding their meetings at the INW office. Please follow the link to learn more.

SE Works – SE Works’ mission is to strengthen the economic health and well being of our diverse southeast Portland community by facilitating successful connections between job seekers and employers.

Educate Ya – The mission of Edúcate Ya, Inc. is to foster social change, cultural integration, professionalism, and wellness education in the Latino communities. Our objective is to educate and create awareness about cultural, social, economic, and health concerns in the different Latino communities, as well as the broader community.

Latino Connections –  A project of Easter Seals, LC is a grassroots employment service for employers. LC works to train, educate and motivate Latino participants focusing on employment. LC implements a holistic approach to reducing barriers to employment, fully integrating job seekers into the current workforce.

Catholic Charities – Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services provides high quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees, and engages in public education, training and community outreach in order to promote justice for all newcomers.

Neighborhood House – Our programs help low-income, recent-immigrant and other vulnerable people overcome challenges so they can achieve success, stability and independence.

Volunteers of America of Oregon – Our programs help individuals, families and even communities to move from instability to security, from feeling unseen and uncared for to acknowledged and affirmed and from isolation to independence.

Incight – Incight empowers people with disabilities to become contributing members of society. We accomplish this through several dynamic programs focused in the areas of: Education, Employment, Networking and Independence.

Parent to Parent – We’re a state-wide non-profit organization based in Portland, OR dedicated to making a difference in the lives of parents of children with various disabilities.

Disability Rights Oregon – Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) promotes Opportunity, Access and Choice for individuals with disabilities by assisting them with legal problems directly related to their disabilities.

Thank you to the Personal Agents of Independence Northwest for compiling this list of resources.

Frequently Asked Questions about Brokerage Customers Losing Services Oct 1

Effective October 1st, 2011, brokerage customers who are not currently Medicaid recipients (or Oregon Health Plan/ OHP Plus as it’s often called) will be exited from brokerage services.

Why is this happening? Oregon has been dealing with a serious budget deficit for some time. The State of Oregon Department of Human Services was instructed to find areas to cut spending. The State chose to cut non-Medicaid* recipients from support services. When a customer in services becomes eligible for Medicaid, the state can access federal funding on their behalf. If a customer is on a Medicaid waiver, the federal government funds approximately 60% of their services, therefore saving the state money.

Somewhere around 800 people are losing services on October 1st, 2011. At Independence Northwest, we estimate between 35 and 45 people will lose services. Brokerage operational funding is also being cut since we are paid for the number of people we serve. This is the largest cut to support services in its ten year existence.

What happens when I am exited from brokerage services?
If you are exited from Independence Northwest, you will be referred back to your local Community Developmental Disabilities Program in Washington, Multnomah or Clackamas. There, you will be assigned a Case Manager/Service Coordinator.

Will I have access to paid supports after exiting the brokerage?
Unfortunately, this is not likely. If you are exited from the brokerage and referred back to the county, the probability of having any service funds is very low. Cutting your service cost is one way Oregon’s Department of Human Services is addressing its program budget cuts. Your county Case Manager/Service Coordinator will be available to connect you to resources in the community and during times of increased need.

What happens to my current providers?
Your brokerage plan will pay those providers you currently work with (domestic employees, independent contractors or provider agencies) through September 30th, 2011. After that, the State of Oregon will no longer permit state funds to be used to pay for your services.  Effective October 1st, 2011, all service agreements will be null and void. If work happens on or after this date, you should be sure you have alternate payment options.

Can I private pay for services?
You should speak directly with your providers to see if this is a possibility. Independence Northwest is unable to offer private pay case management.

My plan just started. I want to use my entire plan year’s funds before I’m exited.  Can I?
We have received direction from the State of Oregon Department of Human Services that customers exiting our services are to have their overall annual benefit amount reduced by the number of months left in the plan October 1st forward. (For example, if your plan year is July through June, you would be eligible for a pro-rated plan amount for three months: July, August and September, thereby reducing your overall benefit amount.)  Were all non-Medicaid customers to spend all their funds between now and October 1st, the State might be in a position to cut other services to make up for the unexpected loss. If you have questions about this, check with your Personal Agent. Since guidance in this area has been minimal and this is a time of unexpected change for all involved, we will likely refer you to the State for a direct answer to more complex queries.

These services are essential for my health and safety. This puts me at serious risk.
Please communicate as soon as possible with your Personal Agent about any health and safety issues related to this service loss. We need to connect you with county personnel and work together on a transition that addresses these concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us – we want to work closely with you and your circle of support during this difficult time.

If I get on Medicaid in the future, can I re-enter brokerage services?
Everything we’re being told by the State
indicates that you will be able to come back to brokerage services if/when your situation changes and you become Medicaid eligible. There will be many openings at brokerages throughout the state and for some time we are not expecting waitlists to be an issue. We know that this is not possible for everyone and are disheartened by this reality.

Where can I complain and/or voice my concerns about this change?
You may file a formal complaint by using this form or you can call the Department of Human Services or your legislators directly.

Think you might be eligible for Medicaid? Check out our FAQ sheet on Getting on Medicaid here.

Have additional questions not addressed in this FAQ?
Contact your Personal Agent or Independence Northwest’s Executive Director Larry Deal at larry.deal (at) independencenw.org or by calling 503.546.2950.

Click here for a PDF version of this FAQ document.

Non-Medicaid Customers Dropped from Brokerages October 1st

UPDATED JULY 26th 2011:
As a result of budget cuts during the 2011/2013 session, the State of Oregon Department of Human Services has instructed Independence Northwest and all other support services brokerages statewide to exit any and all customers without Medicaid from our services on October 1st.

We will exit approximately 35 – 45 people from our agency alone. Statewide, there are about 800 people who will lose services. If you aren’t on Medicaid and you need help applying, call your Personal Agent as soon as possible.

How does eliminating services for people without Medicaid/OHP save the state money?

  • The state currently provides services for customers who are not Medicaid eligible solely from the state general fund budget.  When a customer in services becomes eligible for Medicaid, the state can access federal funding on their behalf. If a customer is on a Medicaid waiver, the federal government funds approximately 60% of their services, therefore saving the state money.

I have a job; can I still apply for Medicaid?

  • Most likely.  Currently, brokerage customers can potentially access Medicaid if they have resources under $2,022.00.  “Resources” means the amount of money left over in your bank account the following month after you’ve paid your bills.  Your primary vehicle or home does not count as a resource.  If you are an adult over the age of 18, your parents’ resources no longer count and the Medicaid worker would be considering your resources alone. There are also other incentive programs out there which help working people with disabilities qualify for Medicaid such as the Employed Persons with Disabilities (EPD) program. Ask your PA to set you up with a benefits planner to discuss your options.

I have private insurance already, why should I apply for Medicaid?

  • You can keep your private insurance AND still be eligible for Medicaid. Your private insurance will remain your primary insurance benefit.  In some cases, once you become eligible for Medicaid, it will even cover your premiums on your private insurance or Medicare insurance plan, saving you money! If you are a brokerage customer, having Medicaid also increases the amount of plan dollars you are eligible for. Even if you are not utilizing all the money in your plan now, you may need additional supports some day.

Who do I talk to about my options for applying for Medicaid?

  • Talk to your Personal Agent. They can help direct you to the right office and can assist with the application process if needed.  Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to a benefits planner beforehand to make sure you are taking advantage of all the incentive programs that might be available to you.

Helpful phone numbers:

  • Benefits Planners:
    • Disability Rights Oregon 503-243-2081
    • Independent Living Resources 503-232-7411
  • Medicaid offices
    • Multnomah County ADS helpline 503-988-3646
    • Clackamas County Medicaid office 503-655-8336
    • Washington County DAVS office 503-846-8881

You can download a PDF version of this information here.

– Erin Graff, Assistant Director Independence Northwest

Latest Budget and Legislative News from the DD Coalition

The latest DD Coalition GO! Legislative Update:

LAST REGIONAL TOWN HALL ON STATE BUDGET
If you live in or near Clackamas, don’t miss one last opportunity to speak to the importance of DD services! The last regional town hall on the state budget hosted by the Oregon House Democrats will be held in Clackamas on Wednesday, May 11th
at 6:30pm, Rex Putnam High School Auditorium, 4950 SE Roethe Road, Milwaukie OR 97267.
If you plan to attend this budget hearing, please be sure to wear your Print and GO! Yellow DD Advocacy Button to show your support for DD services.  It is important for the DD community to be present and visible at these hearings.  Remember that you can also submit written testimony related to the State of Oregon budget to:  waysandmeans.budget@state.or.us.

MAY REVENUE FORECAST TO BE RELEASED
On Thursday, May 12th, there will be an informational hearing at 8:30 AM in HR A before the Senate and House Revenue Committees, during which the May Revenue Forecast will be released. You can watch live video or listen to live (or archived) audio of this informational hearing by accessing the audio/video link www.leg.state.or.us/listn/ on the Oregon State Legislative web site. The Co-Chairs will be using this information as they finalize their budget for 2011-2013.
CO-CHAIRS’ BUDGET TO BE FINALIZED
Speculation abounds as to when the Co-Chairs’ budget will be issued. Some have heard that it will be issued in mid-May, soon after the May revenue forecast is released. Others say it will be by the end of May. What we do know is that the Ways and Means Subcommittees are working to finalize their budget deliberations and push those recommendations back out to the full Ways and Means Committee.
The Ways and Means Subcommittees have also been given the “green light” to begin hearing policy bills again as their work on the budget wraps up, so stay tuned for more announcements on bills we are tracking that have been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

BILLS SCHEDULED FOR HEARINGS THIS WEEK
May 9th – Monday
1:00 PM HR B (PPW)/ Senate General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee:
HB 3361 (relating to accessibility of cluster mailboxes)
3:00 PM HR D (PWK)/ House Health Care Committee:
SB 99A (creates the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange)
3:00 PM HR E (PUB)/ House Rules Committee:
SB 800 (bill that removes certain outdated or redundant provisions in education laws and eliminates certain reporting requirements)
May 10th – Tuesday
1:00 PM HR B (PPW)/ Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee:
HB 2220A (relates to proficiency-based education)
HB 2283A (relates to high school transition hours)
HB 2285 (relates to consent for school diplomas)
May 11th – Wednesday
8:30 AM HR 343 (WRK)/ Senate Judiciary Committee:
HB 2652A (disqualifies certain persons from serving as fiduciary for protected person if parental rights terminated)
3:00 PM HR D (PWK)/House Health Care Committee:
SB 99A (creates the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange)
5:30 PM HR E/Health Care Transformation Committee (J):
HB 3650 (bill that sets the stage for implementation of Health Care Transformation)
May 12th – Thursday
8:30 AM HR 343/ Senate Judiciary Committee:
HB 2036A (clarifies application of statutes related to unlawful discrimination against persons with disabilities)
HB 2683A (establishes procedure to request confidential information in protective proceeding)
May 13th – Friday
3:00 PM HR D (PWK)/House Health Care Committee:
SB 99A (creates the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange)

BILLS THAT NEED YOUR SUPPORT
HB 2600 is the bill that puts Adult Support Services (Staley Settlement) into statute. It is currently in the Human Services Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee.  Please urge the Subcommittee members pass this bill out of the Committee. The following are the members of the Joint Ways and Means, Human Services Subcommittee:
Sen. Alan C Bates, Co-Chair—sen.alanbates@state.or.us
Rep. Tim Freeman, Co-Chair—rep.timfreeman@state.or.us
Rep. Tina Kotek, Co-Chair—rep.tinakotek@state.or.us
Rep. Mitch Greenlick, Co-Vice Chair—rep.mitchgreenlick@state.or.us
Rep. Kim Thatcher, Co-Vice Chair—rep.kimthatcher@state.or.us
Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson—sen.lauriemonnesanderson@state.or.us
Sen. Jackie Winters—sen.jackiewinters@state.or.us

Portland Woman’s Disability Advocacy Inspires

For the last several weeks, employees of Independence Northwest have been working on an advocacy effort called The Dear Legislator Project as a response to deep cuts proposed to our services. The idea for the project is simple: Oregonians with disabilities and their supporters record short 2 – 3 minute videos directly addressing their legislators with their concerns and solutions. We’ve been recording and posting these videos on The Dear Legislator Project website and Facebook and sending them off to Representatives and Senators via email. The site has had over 2,000 unique hits in just five weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an impromptu visit to my office from someone by the name of Kaaren Londahl. Karen, a woman with a developmental disability and recipient of brokerage services through a fellow agency, was accompanied by Megan, a support person from the provider organization On The Move Community Integration as well as two other folks supported by the agency.

We shuffled into the conference room, Kaaren handed me a large stack of papers and said “Larry, we have got to save our services now.” She explained that she has been receiving skills training and inclusion assistance through On The Move four days a week for the last couple of years. She had heard about the scheduled cuts and The Dear Legislator Project and wanted to be a part of the solution. She shared that she recently began visiting with friends, family, community members and businesses in her neighborhood. Kaaren explained to each person what these cuts would mean to her and to the community at large and asked them each to write a short statement to their Representative or Senator. In just a week, she had over seventy-five notes and signatures. “I went to Starbucks, Kitchen Kaboodle, my neighbors, everyone!” she says.  “I just wanted to do it for everyone. It’s very important for people to have programs.”

In less than a week, Kaaren helped give voice to scores of people in her community. “My mom was an advocate and so I need to be one too, you know.” Who knows – without her efforts many of those folks may never have phoned their lawmakers, written a letter to express their concerns or raised their voice in protest of the cuts. I promised her I would forward on her concerns to her legislators and mail copies of her testimonial sheets to both Representative Lew Frederick and Senator Chip Shields.

“We can’t go backwards – we have to go frontwards,” she said. She’s right. Oregon faces the most significant cuts to developmental disabilities services we’ve ever seen.

  • Brokerages are preparing to lose 10% of the money paid to employ case managers and an extension of a 10% loss to our administrative dollars on top of 100% loss of our quality assurance funding. This will result is poorer services and a weaker system.
  • Brokerage customers who are without Medicaid (maybe because they are dealing with Social Security appeals or are recently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or Autism) will be completely dropped from our rosters on October 1st. That’s 800 Oregonians who will lose all services.
  • Brokerage customers between the ages of 18 and 21 are set to lose 75% of their funding because there’s an assumption that schools will pick up the slack.
  • Finally, the State is poised to cut 2,000 people from their day programs. This will reduce an already limited provider pool and remove options. Many people will likely lose their jobs and some provider agency will close their doors.

I’ve always admired the louder voices among us – folks who are willing stand on the steps of city hall and raise their voices until their faces turn red. I admire the well-spoken, those who are willing to put themselves out there for a cause and affect change through words. My problem is that I’ve got a pesky shyness that chokes me up every time I try to speak publicly. Things just don’t flow and I decided long ago that such efforts are best led by those with such gifts. The concept of The Dear Legislator Project gave me a way to get involved without being front and center.  We all need forums that work for us. For some people, it’s getting up in front of hundreds of people and testifying, for others it’s recording the stories of others. For others still it’s collecting signatures and stories and concerns from neighbors and community members.

If you’ve yet to get involved, I urge you to do something this go round. We are at serious risk for significant changes to the way Oregon supports people with disabilities. Right now, we’re in the final stretch. In a couple of weeks we’ll know what will be cut and how deep.There’s still time to make a difference. Please consider sending a message to the Ways and Means Committee at waysandmeans.budget@state.or.us. Even if you just send a few lines, it sends a message.

“Fight for our programs so we can move on,” Kaaren said just the other day to me. It’s good advice. Fight – however it makes sense for you.

– Larry Deal, Executive Director of Independence Northwest

Meet Your Legislators and Share Your Concerns – Washington and Clackamas County Meetings Scheduled!

Alright Clackamas, Lane and Washington, it’s your turn to advocate for services as we near deep cuts to brokerage services in the very near future.The House Democrats are sponsoring three additional public meetings in Washington, Lane and Clackamas counties to give folks more opportunities to speak with their state representatives and continue the budget discussion as we lead up to the revenue forecast. Rep. Buckley has agreed to make a budget presentation at all of these events.

Beaverton

Monday, May 2nd, 7:00pm

Beaverton City Hall

City Council Chambers

(4755 SW Griffith Dr. Beaverton, OR 97005)

 

Eugene

Thursday, May 5th, 7:00pm

Lane Community College

Forum (Building  17) in Rooms 308 and 309.

(4000 East 30th Avenue. Eugene, OR 97405)

 

Clackamas

Wednesday, May 11th, 6:30pm

Rex Putnam High School auditorium 

(4950 SE Roethe Rd., Milwaukie, OR 97267-5798)
Take a couple of hours out of your day to advocate for services that matter to you, your family and your community.

TODAY: Community Meeting with Legislators – PCC Sylvania

On April 19th from 5 – 7pm, you have an opportunity to make a short statement to legislators about your concerns over proposed budget cuts.

Get there early, sign up and inform lawmakers about what these cuts really mean to you and your community.

PCC Sylvania is located at 12000 SW 49th Avenue in Portland. Bus lines 44 and 78. Parking pass on campus is three bucks.

DRO: THREE WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE LEGISLATURE MAKE GOOD PUBLIC POLICY

From Disability Rights Oregon:
THREE WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE LEGISLATURE MAKE GOOD PUBLIC POLICY

  1. BE INFORMED: Follow the updates by reading Disability Rights Oregon’s newsletter each week and checking DRO’s Executive Director, Bob Joondeph’s blog at http://www.disabilityrightsoregon.org/the-dro-blog.  You can also follow DRO on Facebook and Twitter.  Visit www.disabilityrightsoregon.org for links to both.  You can follow significant pieces of legislation’s progress here: http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/
  2. BE HEARD: Write your legislator about a bill that matters to you.  A short handwritten note to your State Representative and State Senator can make a very big difference.  Phone calls are also effective.  An email to your legislator is another way to get in touch.  Be sure to refer to the “bill number” at the beginning of your note.  DRO can help get you more information about a particular issue or bill.  Find out who your legislative representatives are and how to contact them here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/
  3. BE VISIBLE: Attend an event at the Capitol in Salem.  Organizations meet frequently on a variety of issues important to the disability community.  There are citizen lobby days and gatherings at the Capitol.  Keep an eye on DRO news for updates about events.  You can also attend legislative hearings for bills you are interested in.  Hearings are open to the public and are also streamed online.

MEET OREGON’S NEW LEGISLATORS

New Oregon House Members:
– Rep. Wally Hicks, House District (HD) 3, Grants Pass, has worked as a Deputy District Attorney.
– Rep. Katie Eyre Brewer, HD 29, Hillsboro, is a Certified Public Accountant.
– Rep. Shawn Lindsay, HD 30, Hillsboro, is an intellectual property, e-commerce and business lawyer.
– Rep. Julie Parrish, HD 37, Tualatin and West Linn, is a small business owner.
– Rep. Matt Wand, HD 49, Troutdale, is an attorney in Gresham.
– Rep. Patrick Sheehan, HD 51, Clackamas, owns an advertising agency.
– Rep. Mark Johnson, HD 52, Hood River, owns a general contracting business.
– Rep. Jason Conger, HD 54, Bend, is a lawyer.

New Oregon Senate members:
– Sen. Chuck Thompson, Senate District (SD) 26, Hood River, is an orchardist and county commissioner.
– Sen. Alan Olsen, SD 20, Canby, owns a general contracting business.
– Sen. Lee Beyer, SD 6, Springfield, is a former legislator who served in the Oregon House and Senate from 1991 to 2001.  He also served as Chair of the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

Adopt a Legislator – Join the GO Project

Join the DD Coalition GO Project and Adopt a Legislator Today!

As an Advocacy Team Member, you will have opportunities to meet with your legislator, invite him or her to special events, and help nurture interest in developmental disabilities issues throughout the 2011 legislative session. Members of each Advocacy Team will receive special advocacy materials and support from the GO Project; and be able to share activity updates and photos with other team participants. Certificates will be presented to Advocacy Team Members who maintain monthly contact with their legislator throughout this critical legislative session. Do not delay…Adopt your Legislator Today!

Here’s How to Get Started:

  1. Go to www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/ and type in your home address to find out the District Number under the name of the State Senator and State Representative then reference this directory to see who your recently elected legislators are.
  2. Select which legislator you wish to adopt and email the GO! Project Coordinator, Cheryl Cisneros at info@oregonddcoalition.org
    with your name, role (self-advocate, family member, brokerage/provider or advocacy organization representative), and your legislator’s name.
  3. Immediately upon receiving confirmation from the GO! Project Coordinator, you will be given special tips that will get you started with writing a personal note of introduction to your newly adopted legislator at their home address.

Now, Let’s “GO!”…

State Suspends Grants from the Fairview Community Trust

On Monday, November 15th, Seniors and People with Disabilities announced the suspension of the Fairview Community Housing Grants program because of Department of Human Services budget concerns.

Fairview Community Housing Grants were funded out of the interest on the Fairview Trust, a trust fund established by the legislature, from the proceeds of the sale of Fairview Training Center. The grants have been used by hundreds of families and individuals to build ramps, improve access to bathrooms, and other modifications that have enabled people to live safely in the community.  The agency is taking the money now and will attempt to eliminate the trust in the next Legislative Session.

We cannot let this happen in silence!!!  Raise your voice and object to this violation of the Trust and the commitment the Oregon Legislature made to those who once lived in Fairview and the generations of individuals with developmental disabilities who seek to live safely in their own communities.

What can you do?

Email your objections to this action:

ACT NOW!!! DON’T WAIT!!!

For more information on the Fairview Trust, check Fact sheets on the DD Coalition website at www.oregonddcoalition.org

Read the Oregon Perspectives Issues focused solely on the Fairview Housing Trust (below.)

Download: Save the Fairview Community Housing Trust Fund! (PDF: 3.75 MB)

ORA: Additional DD Budget Cuts Go Live October 1st, Reductions Cut “To the Bone”

Oregon Rehabilitation Association‘s notice on the October 1st budget cuts to DD services:

The July Headline from the Emergency Board “Legislature Prevents Cuts to Senior In-Home Care and Services to People with Disabilities”, is actually a very partial truth:   HERE’S THE REST OF THAT STORY“Emergency Board Will Restore $17 Million out of $158 million in DHS Cuts”.

While the restorations to some limited services for people with disabilities by the Emergency Board were welcome, it is critical to note that only about 10% of the cuts were restored.   People with developmental disabilities (DD) who receive 24 hour support from community nonprofits are getting substantial cuts in October.

In total, over $33 Million will be slashed from DD budgets.  Some of Oregon’s most vulnerable people (over 3,000) will find that their support workers wages and benefits have been cut.  Many of these jobs are being eliminated completely and monitoring and quality assurance personnel are being cut as well.

The legislature simply did not have the funds to protect vulnerable people from these serious cuts.  Adding insult to injury, every dollar cut from state funds triggers the loss of two additional dollars in federal match.

Community nonprofits are under contract to deliver services that meet federal and state guidelines for health and safety.   Those requirements are not changing with these cuts, but the rates paid for their delivery are being reduced by 6%.  Providers have no choice but to reduce their labor costs, as over 80% of their budgets go directly to labor.

Will the system survive these cuts?  In the main, yes, although organizations may refuse to serve people who simply cost too much at these reduced rates – these nonprofits have nowhere else to go, as state rates are their primary (or only) source of support.

Our major concern is that these reductions have cut the DD system to the bone.  Following years with no cost-of-living increases, providers have already made the efficiency and other adjustments possible while maintaining the integrity of the DD system.   Any further cuts, like those predicted for the coming biennium, will result in a general system collapse, forcing the state to step in and provide these services itself at far greater cost than current expenditures.  Oregon has closed its state institutions; further reductions will destroy a community infrastructure of nonprofits built over the past forty years that would take decades to replace, if indeed it ever could be.

These people will not disappear; they will be cared for by the state, whether it is through contracts with the existing cost-efficient nonprofit system or a hastily thrown-together patchwork of very expensive public supports.

We urge the legislature and Governor to carefully consider long-term implications of any further reductions to services to people with developmental disabilities.

Questions?  Contact Tim Kral, Executive Director or Nan Heim, ORA Lobbyist, 503 585 3337.

Rally Against Special Education Budget Cuts at PPS

From an email distributed by UCP’s Family Support Program:

When:  August 23rd, 2010

Where: Portland School District Administration Office

501 N. Dixon

Portland  OR  97086

Time:   6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

A broad coalition of parents, educators, advocates, and non-profits have coalesced around the budget cuts to Special Education (SPED) recently announced by Portland Public Schools. This evening they will turn out in full force to support equity in education for ALL students in PPS, give testimony and request that the Superintendent and PPS Board reconsider their decision to cut SPED resources.

On June 30th, 2010 PPS announced a $3.3 million reduction from the previously approved budget for SPED, eliminating approximately 20 teaching positions and 51 paraeducator positions. While PPS claims they can provide Maintenance of Effort (MOE) despite these cuts, many parents and staff question how this is possible when they are already struggling to adequately serve students receiving special education services.

Media Contact: Chloe Eudaly

503-867-4304 or chloe.eudaly@gmail.com

Looking for Activities as Summer Winds Down? Disability Compass Lists Tons of Resources

Don’t forget to check out Disability Compass for listings of local events, respite providers, trainings and resources.

Compass is a one-stop site providing information about and direction to services, products, and special health care resources for people with disabilities in Oregon, their families and those who support them.

Disability Compass is a project of Community Vision, Inc. Community Vision was awarded the “Best Kept Secret” award for for Portland Monthly’s “Light A Fire” nonprofit awards in November.

Below are currently listed August events.

August 7
FREE Adaptive Bike Clinic for Youth

Dawson Creek Park – Hillsboro, OR
August 7
Challenge Air’s 4th Annual “Fly-Day”

Aurora County Airport – Aurora, OR
August 9
Dream it, Do it! Day Camp!

Oregon Zoo – Portland, OR
August 9
What Parents Need to Know About the IEP

Providence Medford Campus – Medford, OR
August 10
“Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy”

Beaverton Library – Beaverton, OR
August 11
“Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy”

Midland Library – Portland, OR
August 11
MultCo CIC Diversity Outreach Training

Multnomah Building – Portland, OR
August 12
CHADD Parent Support Group (AD/HD)

Christ Community Church – Beaverton, OR
August 13
August 20
Move Into A New Career

Oaks Park – Portland, OR
August 20
Walk to Work! When You Work You Win!

Oaks Park – Portland, OR
August 24
August 28
Saturday Sessions: A Day of Learning

Columbia Gorge Community College – The Dalles, OR