Thursday Jan. 15, the Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities Board discussed changes to the Federal definition of “Home and Community Based Services” which will effect Medicaid funding and changes to the timeline to implement “conflict free case management.” These changes will directly affect county board services.
Superintendent Saul Bauer highlighted information regarding a correspondence sent from Disability Rights Ohio (formerly Ohio Legal Rights).
For years, Disability Rights Ohio (formerly Ohio Legal Rights) has heard from many people with developmental disabilities and their families that Ohio’s system does not give them opportunities to live, work, and spend time in their communities.
People with disabilities should not be grouped together and separated from everyone else just because they have similar needs. Ohio has people living in facilities who want to live in their own homes in the community. Long waiting lists for waiver programs mean that most people have to wait over 13 years for the services they would need in the community.
The law also requires these changes. The Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990, and the Supreme Court made its decision in L.C. v. Olmstead in 1999. A state must provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated, least restrictive setting in the community appropriate to their individual needs. Over the years, Ohio has not changed its service model to comply with the law, leaving thousands of people in facilities when they would like to live and work in the community.
The average wages for direct care staff who support people with developmental disabilities in the community are below poverty level and there is far too much worker turnover (47 percent). No one’s family should be expected to provide support or care if they are unable to do so.
Any changes should be made carefully. This may require many years to do. The state should not act too quickly and put people at risk.