Emergency Board Votes to Restore Some DD Budget Cuts

From the DD Coalition:

This morning, the Emergency Board voted to restore some of the reductions scheduled to occur in the Developmental Disabilities Program. The restoration is coming from funding currently being held in the Emergency Board Fund. Many self advocates, families, service providers, and others wrote letters, sent emails and talked with legislators and the press about the devastating impact the reductions would have on people with developmental disabilities and their families.   Thank you!!! Your voices were heard!!!

In a press release from the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate:
“Some of the restorations will protect services through the remainder of the biennium, ending June 30, 2011. Others will be protected until March 1, 2011. For the latter, restoring these services into next year will allow the Legislature to get at least three more revenue forecasts, determine the level of federal aid that may be available, and immediately ensure the safety of thousands of Oregonians receiving assistance.
“By restoring these cuts now, we’re avoiding higher costs down the road and retaining federal dollars. As we move ahead, we’ll continue to look at these factors along with our priority of protecting the most vulnerable amongst us,” said President Courtney.
“From the moment we received the last forecast and learned of the $577 million deficit, we said we would approach these cuts thoughtfully and carefully; that we would act when we had plans in place to protect Oregonians and that we would be guided by a set of principles that protected the most vulnerable Oregonians and protected our long term investments in the future of Oregon. Thursday’s E-board action is the next step along that path,” said Speaker Hunt.
Restorations specific to developmental disabilities include:
  • Medicaid Personal Care 20 through June 2011
  • In-Home Supports for Children / Long Term Care through June 2011
  • Case Management for Children through February 2011
  • Targeted Case Management in counties and brokerages through February 2011
  • DD Family Support Program through February 2011
Reductions that were not restored include:
  • Reduce county DD Program and brokerage administration by 10%
  • Eliminate county and brokerage quality assurance staff
  • Reduce comprehensive services rates by 6%
  • Reduce DD special projects and training
  • Reduce DD crisis diversion
  • Reduce county Regional Programs by 10%
  • Reduce housing extended maintenance
For a full listing of the reductions and restorations please go to the DD Coalition website at www.oregonddcoalition.org

Fairview Housing Trust Focus of Latest Oregon Perspectives Issue

The latest edition of Oregon Perspectives, a publication of the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, is out now. This season’s issue focuses on The Fairview Housing Trust and what important home improvements have been brought to people as a result of this very important resource. This valued program is now being eyed as a potential budget cut. Read more here.

Bill Lynch’s spot-on opening letter from the issue:

Trust is built on promises kept. The Fairview Community Housing Trust Fund was built on a promise by state policymakers that Oregon would have a sustainable resource to enhance the safety and independence of individuals with developmental disabilities living in their own homes or their family homes. But now the state is openly talking about breaking that promise.

The idea of the trust fund was simple. Take the proceeds from the sale of the Fairview Training Center property and create a fund that would generate interest. Turn the interest into small grants to modify private homes so those homes are more accessible and safe for the people with developmental disabilities who live there. This is not charity; it’s a wise investment that helps keep people in their own homes so they do not have to enter much costlier state services.

They say desperate times call for desperate measures. There’s no question the state budget is facing desperate times, but some of the desperate measures being considered to fill the budget hole are indeed questionable. Even if the entire amount in the Fairview Community Housing Trust Fund were used to balance the state budget, that amount wouldn’t even begin to tip the scales. In the meantime, we would wipe out a self sustaining resource that costs the state nothing but has the potential to make a big difference in the lives of thousands of Oregon households. In fact, it already has for more than 1,000 households.

In this issue of Oregon Perspectives, you will hear from trust fund grant recipients from all over the state who say the small amount of money they received to modify their homes has had a huge impact on the quality of their lives.

We have no reason to doubt they are telling the truth, and they should have no reason to doubt we will
keep our promises.

Self Advocates Needed for SAAL Connection

A request from the Self Advocates as Leaders:

Hello, My name is Judy Cunio. I am the Self Advocacy Coordinator for the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities. As part of my job, I am the editor of The SAAL Connection (formerly known as The People First Connection), a publication of Self Advocates as Leaders. The SAAL Connection features stories written by and for self advocates.

I am writing this message because, as many of you know, the state does not have enough money to continue doing everything that it’s currently doing. So that means each agency needs to cut back on the money they spend on services.

But you can help us get policymakers’ attention by sharing your personal story!

We are looking for stories from self advocates about the type of support you get, what it means to you, and what life would be like without it. People can write their own stories or get help from someone to write it. The people who have to make the hard budget decisions don’t always understand the real harm that budget cuts will do to the people who need the services most.

If you would like to help, I invite you to share your story with The SAAL Connection, which is read by many people, including some legislators and other policymakers.  We plan to put together collections of stories and the more stories we collect from around the state, the greater impact we will have.

We would like to have stories in by August 1, 2010.

Please e –mail your stories to me:   Judy.a.cunio@state.or.us

Or postal mail:   540 24th Place NE, Salem, OR, 97301

Or you can call Marcie Tedlow at 503-725-8129

State Budget Cuts to People with Mental Illness – SEEKING PLAINTIFFS!

Do you or someone you know have mental illness? Will you be affected by the Personal Care 20 budget cuts? If so, Disability Rights Oregon wants to hear from you by Friday! Please pass this along to anyone you know who might benefit.

DRO wants to stop the cuts to personal care services because we believe that many of the people who receive those services will be at risk of institutionalization (such as going back to the state hospital) if they lose their services. In order to bring the case, we need to find who is affected and who is at risk by Friday, July 16, 2010.

On July 2, 2010, Richard Harris, Director of the Addictions and Mental Health Division, sent out letters to all clients with mental illness who are receiving up to 20 hours of personal care services through the Medicaid (OHP) program to notify them that those services will end on July 31, 2010.

Those services provide basic personal hygiene, nutrition, and assistance with medications (assuring medications are taken as prescribed, observing reactions, reminding people when prescriptions need to be refilled and assisting with that).

In addition, clients may get personal care hours for housekeeping, arranging medical appointments, extra support due to their mental illness, and someone to observe and report changes to their mental health status to help prevent a crisis. 

These are vital services — and the only ones that people with mental illness are eligible for under Medicaid.

DRO wants to stop those cuts, and believes that many of the people who receive those services will be at risk of institutionalization (such as going back to the state hospital) if they lose their services. 

But in order to bring the case, we need to find those people who are affected and who are at risk.

  • The best plaintiffs will be folks who have recently been hospitalized (within the last year or two), gotten out, now have housing and are stabilized because of these services — and who will likely not make it in the community if they lose those services.
  • We will need to have support from the care provider, case manager, and/or doctor (ideally) that they are at imminent risk — but first we need to find them!

If you are an advocate, a care provider, a case worker, a friend or family member, or person who is receiving those personal care hours, please help us put out the word.

Call DRO at 503.243.2081 or 1.800.452.1694 if you know of such people who are at risk, or better yet, have people call DRO directly (or provide us with contact information and we will make the call).

Our front desk and intake workers are ready to gather the necessary information.

If you need more specific information about the lawsuit and the types of plaintiffs DRO is seeking, please call Kathy Wilde, the legal director, who is coordinating this effort.

Time is of the essence!

We need plaintiffs by the end of next week (July 16th) — but as soon as possible.

The lawsuit must be filed the week of July 26th in order to seek an order from the federal court stopping the state from implementing the cuts.

Otherwise, the cuts go into effect on August 1st.

Fact Sheets About Budget Cuts, Impact; Tools for Talking with Leglislators

From the DD Coalition:

There is a sense of urgency throughout the state as we work to preserve essential services to children and adults with developmental disabilities!  Fact Sheets have been developed to assist in your advocacy efforts as you rally support from legislators:

Want Up-to-the-Minute Budget Info? Join the GO! Project Bulletin Now

If you haven’t yet, take a moment to sign up for the DD Coalition’s GO! Project Bulletin. It gives you up-to-the-minute information on current budgetary issues, legislative action and advocacy opportunities. We can’t say enough great things about this resource. Check it out now! Click here and enter your email address in the field at the top upper right hand corner of the screen.

About the GO! Project:

The DD Coalition created Grassroots Oregon (the GO! Project) in July 2004 to connect regional advocates to one another, to identify issues of concern in communities statewide, and to provide technical assistance and information regarding issues related to people with developmental disabilities.

The GO! Project strives to help people with disabilities and their families educate others – including the general public, state and local government officials, and public agency staff – about their stories, their concerns, and the impact of policies effecting people who experience developmental disabilities.

The GO! Project provides an information clearinghouse on state DD issues by maintaining the Oregon DD Coalition website and related materials as well as sending out monthly email bulletins. GO! is also building a strong network of Oregonians concerned with issues related to people with developmental disabilities through grassroots organizing and training activities. The project works to make sure the perspectives of people with developmental disabilities are represented in statewide forums and discussions about funding and policies.


Independence Northwest has received notice of a planned protest of the budget cuts – this Thursday, downtown Portland. Brokerages are affected by the cuts by a loss of 10% of our administrative funding and removal of Quality Assurance funding from our contract with the State of Oregon.

The following notice came from UCP’s Family Support Program:

A rally will take place in Portland’s Pioneer Square at 12 o’clock Noon on Thursday July 15, 2010 to protest the abrupt budget cuts by Governor Kulongowski. Our governor passed these budget proposals with only 5 days for review, no modifications, and no opportunity for public response.

The following cuts to human services started immediately on July 1, 2010:

  • Elimination of meals programs for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. (i.e. Meals on Wheels.)
  • Elimination of in-home personal care services for low-income seniors and people with disabilities on Medicaid (i.e. help with bathing, eating, dressing, using the restroom, etc.)
  • Reduce in-home services in the Medicaid system by 75% (i.e. meal preparation, chores, etc)
  • Complete elimination of Oregon’s Project Independence.
  • Further cuts to community and county providers who are administering the state’s programs which serve these individuals.

Please join other supporters & protesters at 12 o’clock noon on Thursday July 15, 2010 for the first rally to protest these cuts. Meet at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. For more information or to help with this and other rallies, please email the sponsoring group at: protestthecuts@gmail.com.

Personal Care 20 Program Ends August 1st

The State has released its formal transmittal regarding the closure of its Personal Care 20 program, effective August 1st. This program, which provided 20 hours of personal care to adults with disabilities and seniors, is one familiar to many of the customer served by brokerages like Independence Northwest.

Please note: The change to the PC20 program is not affecting ADL Supplement levels.

This means that if you are someone who used to get PC20, but you’re now enrolled in the brokerage, the additional $2,900 in ADL (Activities of Daily Living) supports will continue through the brokerage. Nothing is changing for brokerage customers at this time. The recent letter and transmittal from the Department of Human Services can be misleading given the suggestion that Personal Agents would be assisting people with finding other resources.

If you have questions, please contact your Personal Agent.

Budget Cuts – OPB’s Think Out Loud Episode

Today’s OPB Think Out Loud episode is dedicated to the current 9% Budget Cut. Check it out here.

Economists may tell you the recession is lifting, but you’d never be able to tell in Oregon. The latest forecast says that the state is more than a half billion dollars short for the current budget cycle. Governor Ted Kulongoski has asked all state agencies how they would cut nine percent out of their budgets. The Department of Corrections proposed closing three prisons — something the governor said he would not accept. However, the biggest cuts will be felt by schools and human services.

In the case of the Department of Human Services, some cuts are off the table, like the ones that get matching funds from the federal government. A spokewoman at DHS says the agency has been very disciplined staying within its budget and weathering a variety of cuts — along with increasing demand —  over the last two years. But, she said, this mandated nine percent cut was simply too big to be able to hold many vulnerable Oregonians who depend on their services harmless.

Do your children go to public school? How will your school be affected? Do you rely on regular help from Project Independence or other program for people who are elderly or disabled? What are your biggest concerns about the proposed cuts?