Ohio Governor’s Proposed Budget Increases Support for Transformational Change

The Governor’s budget proposal for the 2016-17 biennial budget for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (ODDD) represents “the most significant increase in the history of the Department”, with the investment of $316 million over two years in developmental disabilities system redesign according to a recent Ohio PIPELINE newsletter.

Ohio Governor Kasich announced, “The budget will build on the positive momentum begun by the previous state budget, and continues Ohio’s economic progress over the 2016-17 biennium.  The budget takes into consideration the needs of all Ohioans, and provides funding for initiatives designed to help people of all abilities live, work, and learn in their communities.”

Director of DODD John Martin noted, The funding for Home and Community-Based Services (waivers) goes from $184 million (FY 2015) to $279 million (FY 2017) in support of those both receiving and waiting for waivers. That’s an increase of $95 million in funding in this area, and will move forward the statewide efforts to provide more choices for Ohioans with developmental disabilities, including downsizing institutional care settings, and building into the system more opportunities for community inclusion at home and at work. It is a historic demonstration of support, and makes a down-payment on the recommendations made by the Strategic Planning Leadership Group (SPLG).”

According to the newsletter, funding would fall into the following five categories:

  • Additional Waiver Services – To increase support to people on the waiting list, or who choose to leave Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) Settings, 
  • Strengthening Waiver Services – To continue to prioritize funding to reflect the growing demand for Home and Community-Based Services,
  • Employment and Day Services – Includes nearly $3 million for each of the two years. Funds will be used to create new service models that promote community employment and integrated day services. Individuals will transition from workshops and other facility-based day settings to community-based alternatives over an extended timeframe, 
  • System Infrastructure Improvements – To build a foundation of excellence in service that can be encouraged and supported.  Director Martin stated, “We will have approximately $8 million per year to provide training to the statewide DD services workforce to better equip them to provide community services, while covering some of the costs associated with system transformation efforts.  We also will provide some rental assistance to support community living, strengthen employment and day service integration, and help some provider’s transition from Intermediate Care Facilities to waiver services,” and
  • Intermediate Care Facilities – Continuing the community-based services direction in the previous two budgets, DODD will move forward with the modernization of the ICF program in line with the vision outlined in the ICF white paper three years ago. It included plans for smaller facilities, conversions to waivers, and a focus on services to individuals with the most intense needs. DODD is supporting the choice of individuals who want to stay in ICFs, while encouraging and supporting the choice of those who want to leave.