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.

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.