The decision by Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary Marylou Sudders to right-size the Department of Developmental Services’ Turning 22 budget is a major policy change. The Arc has been advocating for it since the 2009 recession. The Turning 22 program funds people who have an intellectual or other disability and require adult services. Without this funding, persons and families often face tough choices: a parent may have to leave his/her job, a young adult may be stuck at home in a potentially unsafe and isolating situation, and other undesirable outcomes. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which was released yesterday, fully funds this line item with $24 million, while addressing ongoing needs for this year’s graduates.
MassHealth recently made two announcements regarding upcoming changes in the delivery of health and long term services. A new Medicaid waiver is being provided to the Federal government. The new proposed waiver and a summary are both located here. This page also includes dates for stakeholder listening sessions located in Boston (6/24) and Fitchburg (6/27). If the link doesn’t work you can head to www.mass.gov/hhs/masshealth-innovations and choose 1115 Waiver Proposal information.
- 5920-2025 Day and employment —- to be filed by Senator Joan Lovely to increase funding by $10.5 million for line item
- 5920-2000 Community Residential —-to be filed by Senator Jennifer Flanagan to increase funding for $6.5 million for line item 5920-2000 Community Residential
We also want to thank Senators Barbara L’Italien, John Keenan, Michael Barrett, Pat Jehlen, Jason Lewis, and Michael Moore who have assisted us early in the process; as well as Senators Lovely and Flanagan. We will produce a full list of senators who supported our concerns after senate debate.
The Senate has begun the review process for their version of the FY’17 Budget with an expected release date of May 17th. Part of that effort involves The Arc and other providers working with Senators to advocate for budget line items that will benefit those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The final House version of the budget line items closely reflected the same amounts that were listed in the governor’s budget. The hope is to have additional increases especially in two line items DDS 5920-2000 (Community Residential) and DDS 5920-2025 (Day and Employment Services). One of the major concerns is the impact of the 979 students who will turn 22. Without the additional funding, they may lose services and employment.