Jul 2, 2015

Updates on state and federal issues

As Independence Day approaches, a few developments have occurred that we've been waiting for and talking to you about for many months.  These are about the 2015-16 state budget and the ongoing federal and state issues driving changes in service delivery for people with disabilities.

One part of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Rule related to conflict free case management has been resolved.  CMS announced at the end of June that they've decided to give Ohio until 2024 to come into compliance with this rule.  This gives us a little more time than we originally thought we'd have, though the clock started ticking in March 2014. 

The conflict free case management rule says that providers of services cannot also be providers of case management.  Most county boards across Ohio operate adult centers as well as provide case management (called Service and Support Administration in Hamilton County.)  Funding for county boards that operate direct services and case management will go away when this rule takes effect in nine years.  Adult centers will most likely be impacted, though we are still not sure how. 

Our board and leadership team will continue to study and work through this issue, and it will be awhile before we know anything concrete.  What compliance looks like is still up for debate and no decisions have been made.

In other developments, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the final budget on June 30, making it official for the next two years.  We have been carefully following the budget process, along with many of you who have given your input to the legislature and Governor Kasich.  Clearly your voices were heard.  Governor Kasich vetoed several items before he signed the budget that will impact people with disabilities statewide. 

These developments and many more to come are driving our state and local system of services for people with disabilities to look very different than our past.  We know we have to change and services will likely be delivered in different places and in different ways.  But we are not going away and will keep focused on what is best for each person.  We will keep you posted!

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