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Advocates for California disabled face uphill quest for more money

Source-Sacramento Bee- July 24, 2014

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CA Budget Special Session Update

Over the past decade, DDS implemented numerous budget solutions; affecting the Regional Centers( RC) operations budget and RC vendor rates—that generally yield annual estimated savings of $10 million General Fund or more. Since 2003-04, several restrictions on rates paid to RC vendors were implemented as a means of achieving budgetary savings. Some vendor services, including community-based day programs and in-home respite, supported living services, and transportation experienced rate freezes beginning in 2003-04. By 2008-09, all vendors with rates negotiated with RCs experienced rate freezes with some limited exceptions.
The Second Extraordinary Session: Public Health and Developmental Services Committee – Shoring up California’s Public Health Care and Developmental Services Financing is meeting to discuss the rate increase proposals from the Senate and the Assembly.
The Senate provided:

[that] effective July 1, 2015, a 10 percent rate increase for supported living, supported employment, and respite services, and a five percent rate increase for transportation services; provided each of the 21 regional centers with a dental coordinator position and a forensic coordinator position, and approved a 10 percent increase in the client rights advocacy contract. The Senate also provided a corresponding 10 percent increase to the portion of the supported employment program funded under the Department of Rehabilitation. The Senate adopted Trailer Bill Language (TBL) to require DDS to make recommendations, on January 10, 2016, for revision to rate-setting methodologies and to regional center core staffing formula. The Senate adopted TBL stating legislative intent to have GF savings derived from the closure of developmental centers be used to benefit consumers living in the community, and require the department to display the savings and new community investments associated with a developmental center closure.

The Assembly provided:

[that] effective January 1, 2016, a 5 percent, across-theboard rate increase for the regional center purchase-of-services and operations budgets. Assembly approved an additional 5 percent rate increase for POS and OPS in FY 2016-17, however, this will require TBL to implement.

Get call instructions and contact information here. 

Special Session Committee contact information here. 

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STATE CAPITOL HEADLINE UPDATES:
STATE & FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REACHED SETTLEMENT ON CONTINUED FEDERAL FUNDING FOR SONOMA DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER

HEALTH CARE FUNDING SPECIAL SESSION COMMITTEE OVERVIEW HEARING TODAY BY STATE SENATE ON MEDI-CAL & DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES; NO ACTION WILL BE TAKEN TODAY – ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE WILL HOLD ITS OVERVIEW HEARING JULY 9

STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REACHED SETTLEMENT FOR CONTINUED FEDERAL FUNDING FOR SONOMA DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER SLATED TO CLOSURE BY END OF 2018 – CONTINUED FUNDING TIED TO COMPLIANCE OF AGREEMENT

SACRAMENTO, CA [CDCAN LAST UPDATED 07/02/2015 05:40 AM] – Federal funding for Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, slated for closure by the end of 2018, will continue for up to two years as a result of a settlement reached yesterday with the federal Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and California.
The settlement holds off or “stays” the imminent threat of termination from the federal Medicaid Program of several Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) units at Sonoma Developmental Center that were decertified by the federal government due to serious violations late last year.

The continued federal funding is tied to Sonoma Developmental Center’s compliance with the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement requires the establishment of an independent consultant to monitor compliance, for the oversight of transition and post-transition care, and to provide regular reports to the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services and the California Department of Public Health.
“We are working in collaboration with our federal partners to ensure quality care and services continue at Sonoma while the person-centered planning process drives the careful and thoughtful transition for the men and women who are living there now,” said Diana S. Dooley, Secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency. “Continued federal funding will help us meet our commitment to transforming the developmental centers as envisioned in the Plan produced by the Task Force on the Future of Developmental Centers.”

Reflected in the agreement is the State’s intention to close Sonoma Developmental Center by the end of 2018, and the other two remaining state owned and operated facilities – the non-secured area of Porterville Developmental Center in Kern County and Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa – by the end of 2021.
The historic and landmark proposal to move forward on the closure of the three remaining developmental centers was announced by the Brown Administration in mid-May and included in the 2015-2016 State Budget passed by the Legislature on June 19th and signed into law by Governor Brown on June 24th.

The State is bringing together stakeholders from Sonoma Developmental Center to help develop an actual proposed closure plan to be submitted by the Brown Administration to the Legislature on October 1, 2015.  The actual closure process will begin once the Legislature approves that plan, that under current State law, is part of the budget process next year. While details of the closure plan will ultimately change from what is proposed, it is all but certain that the Legislature will approve a closure plan

The Brown Administration, through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) said it is committing “substantial effort and resources” to develop the needed community-based services and supports for the transition and continued support of the people with developmental disabilities who reside at Sonoma Developmental Center.

BACKGROUND OF DEVELOPMENTAL CENTERS
The three remaining developmental centers owned and operated by the State through the Department of Developmental Services are licensed and certified as Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), Intermediate Care Facility/Mentally Retarded (ICF/MR), and General Acute Care hospitals (GAC).  The Department of Developmental Services also operates a smaller, state-operated community facility (CF) licensed as an ICF/MR (Intermediate Care Facility/Mentally Retarded) facility called “Canyon Springs” located in Cathedral City in Riverside County.
As of June 24, 2015, the Department of Developmental Services officially reported the total population of people with developmental disabilities residing at the three remaining developmental centers and the smaller community facility at 1,084 people. Ten years ago, in June 2005, the total population, when five centers and two smaller facilities existed, stood at 3,144 people.  Twenty years ago in September 1994, the total population was 5,713 persons.
The current population, according to the Department of Developmental Services, as of the June 24, 2015, broken down by facility is as follows:
Fairview Developmental Center  – 275 people
Porterville Developmental Center – 362 people [includes secured and non-secured treatment areas]
Sonoma Developmental Center – 396 people
Canyon Springs Community Facility – 51 people

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION
Settlement Agreement – PDF Document Copy (10 Pages) from Department of Developmental Services webpage:
http://www.dds.ca.gov/PublicNotice/docs/SDC-SettlementAgreement.pdf
Settlement Agreement Attachment – Statement of Tasks – PDF Document Copy (8 Pages) from Department of Developmental Services webpage:
http://www.dds.ca.gov/PublicNotice/docs/SDC-Settlement-AttachmentA-StatementTasks.pdf
Settlement Agreement Attachment – Letter to California Department of Public Health – PDF Document Copy (3 Pages) from Department of Developmental Services webpage:
http://www.dds.ca.gov/PublicNotice/docs/SDC-Settlement-AttachementB-CDPH.pdf
Final Recommendations “Plan for the Future of Developmental Centers” from the California Health and Human Service Agency’s Developmental Centers Task Force – January 13, 2014  – PDF Document Copy (59 Pages):
http://www.chhs.ca.gov/DCTFDocs/PlanfortheFutureofDevelopmentalCenters.pdf
Sonoma Developmental Center webpage (Department of Developmental Services website):
http://www.dds.ca.gov/Sonoma/
SB 82 – Developmental Services Budget Trailer Bill (2015-2016 State Budget) As Signed by Governor – PDF Document Copy (53 Pages) [contains provisions regarding closure planning process for Sonoma Developmental Center and intention to close the other two remaining centers]:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/sen/sb_0051-0100/sb_82_bill_20150624_chaptered.pdf

A message from the Executive Director:

Tuesday we heard some strong speeches in support of adding funding to the DDS Community Services Budget and legislators saying we hear you. They just haven’t heard enough.

Please call Wednesday to the same numbers you called before. This time the message is as follows:

“I’m calling in support of the Lanterman Coalition call for a 10% increase in the rates for community services and regional centers. Stop balancing the budget on the backs of people who have dedicated their lives to supporting people with developmental disabilities.”

Feel free to read it just as listed above. Please make sure you call everyone on the list (get the list here). Clearly they are feeling the pressure so it’s time to push it over the top and continue calls until 10 am Thursday 5/21.

My thanks to all of you who are helping in this battle.

Richard Royse
Executive Director

Get call instructions and contact information here. 

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