The Senate Finance Committee voted on Senate Bill 280, the “Fight for $15” Bill, agreeing unanimously to amendments that increase the rates for Developmental Disability Community Services in the bill from the insufficient levels of funding that were previously adopted by House Bill 166.
The Senate amendments included the following percentage increases for Developmental Disability Community Services for each of the years of the Minimum Wage phase-in:
• FY21 5%
• FY22 5%
• FY23 4.5%
• FY24 4%
• FY25 4%
• FY26 3%
Although this was a bit different than what we advocated for, we know this was a major victory that would not have happened without our incredible grassroots advocacy and the tireless work of our fellow coalition partners and key members of leadership in the Senate. The bill then went to the full Senate for review and a vote.
There is concern over what the implementation of this bill is going to cost. Since the general assembly needs to balance a current budget deficit and state revenue projections show levels lower than previously expected, legislators are feeling pressure to be conservative with spending.
While it is true that the Developmental Disability increases will add money to the cost of implementing the Fight for $15 bill when it becomes law, we also know the cost to provide these increases to Developmental Disability Community Services providers match actual costs providers will have to implement Fight for $15. Just as the state needs to calculate what it is going to need to pay state workers for wages and benefits, the SAME consideration needs to be given to those entities who do the work of the state such as Developmental Disability Community Services Providers. One is no less worthy of proper consideration and appropriation than the other.
We need a continued full-court press from all advocates starting NOW!
We will be gathering in Annapolis today, Monday, March 18th, to be a visible presence to legislators as they move from Committee meetings to full sessions in the State House. The legislative schedule will be unpredictable, so we are asking you to join us and to be patient as our actions will be determined by the announcements made by the Speaker and the President regarding when they will be walking back and forth between the buildings. Our goal is the visible with signs, and we will have some available for you, and you should feel free to bring your own as well, just know that the DGS police will not allow any signs with sticks – they must be paper or cardboard that is handheld.
Please register yourself and your group (if you will be bringing people with you) at this link.
It’s not too late! Please call & email your Senators and Delegates (click link for full list), and everyone should ALSO contact the Speaker of the House Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller. Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-841-3800 | 301-858-3800 and email@example.com, 410-841-3700 | 301-858-3700 and tell them:
- we are counting on them to save our supports and services,
- we need the Conference Committee to support the Senate rate increases for developmental disability services with absolutely no reductions.
Why are Developmental Disability services different from other Medicaid providers?
- We have no other substantial source of funding for services other than the Medicaid funds from DDA. The federal government does not allow Developmental Disabilities providers to charge fees for Medicaid-funded services. Developmental Disability services do not have a “private pay” side of their services to complement the Medicaid-funded services.
- 75% of our total workforce earn less than $15 per hour (as compared to other provider groups that indicated in their testimony that 26% of their workforce earn less than $15 per hour).
- People with developmental disabilities receiving supports have a very low employment rate, and have not had a lifetime of work in order to save money to private-pay for their care. Their families have typically spent much of their income caring for their child with a disability and have no funds to pay for private services either.
- Developmental Disability services are now required by the federal government (CMS) to be provided in the community. Unlike nursing homes, medical day care, and home health, they are required to be go out into the community which requires a higher skill level with no direct supervision.
- Developmental Disability direct support staff have to be able to manage multiple responsibilities, unlike staff in other types of services where there are separate staff to provide care, clean, cook, etc. ONE DD STAFF can be required to have ALL of the following skills and responsibilities:
- Manage health and medications
- Support people with behavioral issues that can jeopardize the person’s own safety
- Provide personal care
- Help people get and keep jobs
- Help people manage their benefits and their finances
- Help people build friend and family relationships and deal with sexuality
- Home maintenance, meal prep and housekeeping
The services for 25,000 Marylander’s with developmental disabilities will be in serious jeopardy if the Senate rate increases are not adopted!
Action Alert: The Fight for Our Lives Continues- Call and Email Now!
“Dear Delegate___________”/”Dear Speaker Bush,”
(Tell them your name and relationship (advocate, parent, provider, friend)… and I am calling you about HB166 (the Fight for $16 bill).
“People with developmental disabilities are counting on you to save their services.”
“I need you to please support the Senate rate increases for developmental disability services with absolutely no reductions.”
“These DD percentages in the bill were carefully calculated based specifically on the needs of the developmental disability community services rate system. Not all provider groups in the bill need, nor have they requested, the same rate increases.”
“In the bill, DD Community Services funding percentages are higher than other medicaid providers for the first three years of the Minimum Wage phase in due to the fact that DD Providers are starting with a lower base of funding insufficiency. In addition, the increases are based on the numbers of people served and services provided. These are not the same as other medicaid providers.”
“Without critical funding through the percentages contained in the Senate bill, DD Community Services will no longer exist… but people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will still be here and in need. We CANNOT do this to our fellow Marylanders with disabilities and their families. ”
Why are DD services different from other Medicaid providers?
- DD Community Service Providers have no other substantial source of funding for services other than the Medicaid funds (administered through DDA.) In addition DD providers are prohibited from charging fees for Medicaid-funded services. DD services do not have a “private pay” side of their services to complement the Medicaid-funded services.
- 75% of the total DD Community Service Provider workforce earns less than $15 per hour.
- People with developmental disabilities experience barriers to employment. As a result many are unemployed or under-employed and do not have much, if anything, in savings that would allow them enough resources to private-pay for their care. Their families have spent much of their own income caring for their son or daughter with disabilities and they too have no funds to pay for private services.
- DD services are by and large provided in the community. Unlike nursing homes, medical day care, and home health, People with disabilities spend significant portions of their day out and about in the community. Working in the DD Community Services system requires a higher skill level of staff who can function with little to no direct supervision.
- DD direct support staff have to be able to manage multiple responsibilities, unlike staff in other types of services where there are separate staff positions who separately provide care, clean the facility, cook and balance nutritional needs, etc. ONE DD Community Worker (DSP) may be required to demonstrate ALL of the following skills and responsibilities on a daily basis:
- Manage health (appointments, labwork, etc.) and medications
- Support people with complex behavioral issues that may jeopardize the person’s own safety or safety of other community members.
- Provide personal care assistance.
- Help people obtain and maintain employment.
- Help people manage their benefits and their finances, and shop for the things they need.
- Help people build friend and family relationships and deal with sexuality.
- Conduct home maintenance, prepare balanced meals and perform housekeeping duties.
Services for almost 25,000 Marylanders with developmental disabilities will be in jeopardy if the Senate rate increases are not adopted!