As our legislature’s conference committee meets on a number of important items for The Arc,* we have three key updates for you.
- Day habilitation program rates are rising on July 1 – the increase to the three rate categories for six-hour day (basic, moderate or high need service) reflects a 20% average increase. It’s good news for a program that has not been given adequate rate increases for several years.
- Employees at DDS state residential homes will start at $20 per hour. We have only received verbal confirmation on this update. Hopefully this portends good news for those served by private providers since the latter serve the majority of DDS clients. Read more on that below.
- Technology – this week (June 16) word came that the Federal government (CMS) approved the technology amendments for our Massachusetts waiver which means our state will be reimbursed for those supported technology services recently advanced by Gov. Baker and funded by our legislators – another big day for our state.
One note – some groups continue to pass out false message regarding private providers claiming that private residential providers have gotten large rate increases since 2012 (“an increase of $563 million, or 64%…when adjusted for inflation”). Here are the facts:
- Residential system at Dept of Developmental Services (DDS) serves [i] 8,782 persons, of which 7,741 are served by private providers, while 1,041 are served by state employees (88% to 12%).
- The growth of funding mainly includes NEW dollars for persons who turned 22 years during the period of 11 years – with provider system receiving most of the graduates who receive residential (approximately 2,900 people); the state system has remained static in terms of persons served.
- Using as this group does the Governor’s 2023 [ii] budget proposal the per person funding today is the following:
- Private providers serving 7,741 people with average $164,240 per person (pp)
- State operated programs serving 1,041 people average $245,420 pp. It’s clear that private providers trail behind state-funded homes. These figures do not include additional funding for state employees in health care/pension system.
- As for institutions where spending has been flat, they are losing population so spending would be flat or decrease, however their per person average beats all at $362,466.
Even if rates were increased to ensure a $20/hour benchmark for direct support works AND addressed other non-competitive employee benchmarks (nurses, clinicians, prog. managers); funding per person would continue to trail the state institutions and community homes.
We can’t explain WHY a group would want to hurt the delivery of services to our constituents by making up false claims about private providers. But it’s important that you know the truth and why we continue to advocate for the workforce in addition to access to all services!
i. https://www.mass.gov/doc/eohhs-data-dashboard-june-15-2022/download look at chart 2 – EOHHS congregate care sites, DDS line.