The state improperly reimbursed the May Institute, a corporate provider to the Department of Developmental Services, for hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to company executives in excess of a regulatory cap on their salaries, according to the state auditor.
The auditor’s findings confirm concerns we raised in April and May 2011 that the state may have paid Walter Christian, the CEO, and other executives of the May Institute more than the state’s approximately $143,000 regulatory limit on individual executive salaries.
The auditor also found that Christian was improperly paid roughly $140,000 for a home health aide for his wife, day care fees for a grandson, the use of a minivan in Georgia, and a separate vehicle that he used when visiting Massachusetts. Christian, who retired in January, had been living in Georgia for a decade while running the Massachusetts-based company, according to the audit report.
Our blog posts in 2011 specifically noted that the May Institute appeared to be under-reporting Christian’s and other executive salaries as well as the number of people receiving those salaries, on Uniform Financial Reports (UFRs) submitted to the state Operational Services Division.
The two posts also noted that the same under-reporting of salaries appeared to be the case with Vinfen and Seven Hills, two other DDS providers. The state auditor focused solely on the May Institute, however.
The state auditor’s report noted that a state regulation capped state reimbursements to providers for salaries and other compensation paid to their executives at $143,986 in FY 2010 and $149,025 in FY 2011. Providers can pay their executives more than those amounts in salaries and other compensation, but the state is permitted to reimburse the providers only up to the threshold amount in a given year. The state attempts to keep track of those payments via the UFR’s, which the providers are required to submit to the Operational Services Division on a yearly basis.
We noted in our April 2011 post that the May Institute’s UFR listed only Christian and one other executive as making over the state salary threshold in 2009. Yet, a federal tax form, which was filed by the May Institute with the IRS for the same fiscal year, listed 13 individuals in the company as making over $150,000 each.
An OSD official maintained at the time that the state agency allows the state to pay costs in excess of the salary limit for clinicians working for providers. However, COFAR’s May 2011 post noted that all 13 May Institute employees who made over $150,000 were not listed on the IRS form as clinicians, but as executive-level employees, starting at senior vice presidents on up to the president and CEO.
In its report, the state auditor also found that several May Institute employees who were paid over the threshold amounts were managers and not clinicians.
We think this report by the state auditor lends strong support to our call for a comprehensive, independent study of outsourcing of care by DDS. The auditor’s findings also support the need for more funding for state-operated group homes for the developmentally disabled as an alternative to provider-operated residences.
But as I noted in a previous post, House leaders last month rejected budget amendments that would have both authorized a study of the DDS system and restored cuts made by the House Ways & Means Committee in the governor’s budget for state-operated residences. There is one more chance for these amendments coming up in the Senate, of course.
We applaud the state auditor for examining the May Institute’s payments to its executives. We hope, though, that Auditor Suzanne Bump expands her review to include additional providers in the wake of our concern that this is a potentially wider problem than just one company.
Have our legislators forgotten about the most vulnerable people in our society?
Unfortunately, that’s the message we’ve taken away from last week’s actions by the House on the state budget.
First, we urged legislators to approve an amendment calling for a comprehensive, independent study of the Department of Developmental Services system, along the lines of a similar study that was approved last year of the Department of Mental Health system.
Among the questions we think need to be examined are whether the ongoing privatization of services to people with developmental disabilities is really resulting in improved care. Or is this trend simply padding the ample salaries of the executives of the hundreds of corporate providers that contract with DDS?
We also urged legislators to approve additional funding to prevent the layoffs of state service coordinators, who make sure that people in the DDS system are getting the services they need. And we asked for additional funding to prevent the possible closures of state-operated group homes, to which many former residents of state developmental centers are being sent as those centers are closed down.
The House rejected all of those amendments. But they did pass an amendment that provides all kinds of goodies to the corporate providers, including a state subsidy if residents of their group homes opt to leave those homes. That amendment will implement the so-called ‘Real Lives’ bill, without bothering with the need for a public hearing.
Could all this have anything to do with the fact that legislators nowdays seem to act solely in the interest of those who contribute the most to their political campaigns? Is there anyone out there who still doesn’t believe that’s the way our modern “representative” system of government works?
Apparently, lawmakers don’t feel under much of an obligation anymore even to fulfill promises made to those who don’t have political clout on Beacon Hill, or Capitol Hill for that matter.
What else are we to make of the virtual promise that state Representative Patricia Haddad, a leader in the House, who spearheaded last year’s legislation to study DMH, made to support the DDS study?
In a meeting with families of residents of the state-run Glavin Regional Center in September, Haddad had this to say about the proposed DDS study, which would have included a study of the closure of Glavin itself:
“Someone has to be the first to say we’re not afraid to have an outside study done to tell us what’s wrong and what’s right,” she said. That day, she also said a number of other things that the Glavin families desperately wanted to hear from her, including the statement that “there are more horror stories than good stories” in the privatized system of DDS care.
It initially came as a shock to us, therefore, when we found out just before the budget debate last week that Haddad had declined even to co-sponsor the amendment to undertake that outside study of DDS. Maybe she truly feels that someone has to be the first to say we’re not afraid to have the study, but it wasn’t going to be her.
Why won’t legislators like Haddad support these critically important initiatives for our most vulnerable residents when push comes to shove? Is there anyone who doubts that we need to re-examine the DDS system? It is a system in which, as Haddad herself said, there are often more horror stories than good stories.
As the state has increasingly come to rely on corporate-controlled care for people with developmental disabilities, the waiting list for services only appears to be growing longer. It’s a system in which the state does a mediocre job at best in monitoring the care provided in thousands of dispersed residences whose staff are largely poorly paid and do not receive adequate training.
It’s a system that is beginning to resemble the “warehouses” of yesteryear, when thousands of people with developmental disabilities were packed into institutions that did not have the staff or resources to care for them. Now, they’re simply packed into corporate-run group homes, which don’t have the staff or resources to care for them.
When will our elected leaders wake up to this and care enough to do something about it?
Apparently unable or unwilling to resolve a dispute over the proper residential placement for a developmentally disabled man, the state is seeking to remove the man’s mother as his guardian.
The Department of Developmental Services has filed in Middlesex Probate Court to remove Patricia Feeley, a COFAR Board member, as guardian of her 27-year-old son, Michael, and to appoint James Feld, a Woburn attorney, in her place.
Feld is described in the petition only as an “advocate” for Michael Feeley, but DDS acknowledged in a court document that Feld had never previously met Michael.
DDS is not alleging any abuse or neglect of Michael, and in fact, has described Feeley in court documents as “devoted to him” and “concerned for his well-being.” However, the Department contends that Feeley has rejected several suggested residential placements for Michael and is not acting in his best interest. And DDS is further alleging that Feeley’s home, where Michael has lived his entire life, is not safe because it has excessive “clutter” in it.
Feeley has actively sought for several years to place her son, who has type 1 diabetes, in a suitable DDS facility. She maintains that the real reason DDS is seeking to remove her as her son’s guardian is that the Department doesn’t want to provide a residential facility for him with 24-hour nursing care.
“The Probate Court is the wrong forum for this case,” Feeley maintains, adding she would be “devastated” if DDS succeeds in removing her as Michael’s guardian. A pre-trial conference in the case was scheduled in Probate Court on Thursday.
Michael, who has profound intellectual disability, is non-verbal and is unable to dress or bathe himself. Feeley said she was told his IQ was too low to measure. DDS’s petition to appoint Feld as guardian suggests that Michael be moved to a group residence in Chelmsford that Feeley noted does not have continuous, on-site nursing.
A friend and advocate of Feeley’s, who visited the North Chelmsford residence with Feeley last summer, maintained that the nurses there travel among several residences, one of which is in Lynnfield, about an hour away. The friend contended there are no nurses on site in the Chelmsford residence during the evening shift.
Feeley contends her son, who requires as many as seven injections of insulin per day, needs a residence with 24-hour, on-site nursing care. Feeley, 65, who works as a part-time clinical lab technician and is a certified nurse assistant, currently administers the injections herself, monitors Michael’s blood glucose, and personally provides all other care at home for him. Michael’s extensive care needs prevent her from working full time.
Feeley’s assessment of her son’s medical needs is backed up by a May 28, 2010 letter from a physician at Children’s Hospital in Boston, who wrote that Michael’s blood glucose spikes at times “for no apparent reason,” and that “it is not possible to predict when that might occur.” The doctor’s assessment continues: “A nurse needs to be present and able to attend to Michael’s needs at any time to avoid a delay in Mike receiving appropriate medical intervention.”
DDS, however, contends that Michael does not need 24-hour, continuous nursing. The Department has also alleged that Feeley’s home, where Michael has lived for his entire life, is unsafe for him because it contains stacks of newspapers and magazines in the hallways and other rooms, including the kitchen.
But Feeley denies that her home is unsafe, and her attorney, Stephen Sheehy, contended that the clutter issue is a “red herring.” Sheehy maintained that the issue is not germane because Feeley herself is seeking a suitable residential placement for her son, outside of her home. He added that DDS has failed to provide a clinical document, justifying its decision not to provide a setting for Michael with 24-hour nursing care on site.
Moreover, Sheehy noted, DDS last year informed Feeley that Michael was not entitled to a DDS care plan, known as an Individual Support Plan (ISP), which would specify nursing services for him, because he was not receiving any services from the Department.
Asked if he had any idea why DDS would seek to remove Feeley as her son’s guardian, given that her son is not currently served by DDS, Sheehy responded, “I don’t know. That’s one of many bizarre things about DDS’s involvement in this case.”
DDS contends that it first raised the issue of clutter in 2008 when an assistant DDS area director visited Feeley’s home. However, the Department did not act at that time to remove Feeley as her son’s guardian. Michael has lived at home for an additional five years since then. Feeley says that no one at DDS ever mentioned the issue of clutter in her home to her until last summer. In addition, DDS Commissioner Elin Howe stated in a letter to Feeley in 2011 that “it appears that Michael is doing well in his day program [which is not a DDS program] and living at home.”
In an affidavit attached to the DDS petition to remove Feeley as guardian, Alfred Nazzaro, director of the DDS Lowell Area Office, maintained that DDS “first tried to notify the Public Health authority (building inspector) [about the alleged clutter] but was unable to get any official to publicly confirm the danger, and on information and belief, Mrs. Feeley continued to deny both Department and Public Health officials access to her home.” Nazzaro’s affidavit did not state when the building inspector was contacted.
Feeley contends that no local health officials ever contacted her, and that she never denied anyone entrance to her home.
Also, while DDS depicts Feeley as being unreasonable in her alleged rejections of their proposed placements for Michael, court documents show that in at least one case, Feeley had accepted a proposed placement in writing, but that DDS later changed the terms of a verbal agreement with Feeley concerning nursing services that would be made available at the facility.
Nazzaro’s affidavit stated that Feeley had written him in early June 2009, accepting an offered placement at the Hogan Regional Center for Michael, and had urged that it be done as soon as possible, based on the availability of on-site nursing there. Her letter added that she had “finally found contentment for the first time since arranging for Michael’s future.” But, as the affidavit stated, it was DDS that subsequently changed the offer, in a meeting on June 30, when “it was determined that Michael did not need 24-hour nursing services.” Nazzaro’s affidavit stated that, “Once Mrs. Feeley was informed that 24/7 nursing services would not be recommended…Mrs. Feeley rejected placement at Hogan.”
Feeley denies that she actually rejected the Hogan placement at that point. In fact, she contends she was never told 24/7 nursing services would not be recommended at Hogan, and asserts that in a meeting which occurred months later, no one voiced disagreement with Michael’s diabetes treatment plan.
In a motion filed to dismiss the DDS petition, Sheehy also alleged several irregularities in the Department’s filing, including the lack of a signature of a human being on the petition document. On the signature line of the petition, which states that the document is signed under the penalties of perjury, someone had written only “Department of Developmental Services.”
“I don’t know who’s accusing me,” Feeley maintained.
Sheehy’s motion to dismiss stated that an entity such as DDS “can’t execute a document under the penalties of perjury, because such penalties can only attach to a human being…”
A state report released last week contains a number of important recommendations to begin to deal with the yawning gap in services, job opportunities, and housing for what may be the fastest growing group of developmentally disabled people in the state and the country.
The Governor’s Commission on Autism listed 13 priorities in addressing the problem, including expanding the number of people eligible for care from the Department of Developmental Services, expanding available community-based services, and expanding private insurance coverage available to families of autistic children and adults.
One apparent shortcoming of the report — and we’re not saying it would be easy to address that shortcoming — is that the report doesn’t say where the money would come from for all of these necessary expansions. It doesn’t appear that even Governor Patrick’s proposed tax increases to fund his Fiscal Year 2014 budget would come close to providing the needed funding for what the Commission notes needs to be done.
It’s somewhat ironic that even as the governor’s Commission calls for these service expansions, his proposed budget would cut funding to the state Autism Division, which manages a key children’s program that the Commission has proposed expanding.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s budget browser shows an inflation-adjusted cut in the governor’s FY ’14 budget proposal of 2.6 percent from the amount appropriated for the current fiscal year for the Autism Division.
It’s also ironic, looking back on it, that then Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby told The Boston Globe in 2008 that the planned closures of four state developmental centers for the intellectually disabled would free up some $45 million a year for community-based programs, including services for people with autism.
Since that time, close to $70 million in inflation-adjusted dollars has been cut from the developmental centers line item in the budget. But that money does not appear to have been used to boost most community-based line items. Funding for the Autism Division has, in fact, declined by about 5 percent since Fiscal Year 2009. (Again, these numbers are based on the MBPC’s budget browser.)
Nevertheless, we applaud the Commission for calling further attention to the current lack of adequate services for children and adults with autism, and for its endorsement of proposed legislation in the current session to expand DDS’s responsibility to care for people with autism who don’t currently fit within the Department’s eligibility guidelines (H. 78 and S. 908).
The report criticized inadequate staffing levels in community-based residential care for people with autism and low compensation of staff, which has led to high turnover. The report also noted that many adults with autism live with elderly parents and have “few options for future housing and support.” In addition, the report cited “an unknown backlog of people who would apply for aid if relevant programs existed.”
And the report called for hiring “highly trained service coordinators specially trained in autism.” The report didn’t discuss how this would be done, given that the state has been steadily eliminating service coordinator jobs in recent years.
Nevertheless, we’re glad the Commission put all these things on the record and showed, if nothing else, that they are of concern to state policymakers.
I’m not sure if the members of the House and Senate Ways & Means Committees are aware of this, but it appears there is a major snowstorm going on this morning.
There’s probably a foot and a half of snow out here where I live in Hvad in Central Mass., and I understand there’s close to a foot of snow accumulation in Boston.
Yet, it appears the joint Ways and Means Committees are going ahead this morning with a major public hearing on the state budget. As the communications person for COFAR, I was planning on attending the hearing and presenting testimony on our FY 14 legislative priorities.
The hearing began at 10 a.m. The problem is, the snow has been coming down all morning; it’s now past 11, and I’ve spent the last hour digging my car out of my driveway. I’m taking a break to write this. I’m assuming there are others who were planning to attend this hearing who are in the same situation as I am.
As a result, a few questions have occurred to me: Why is a major public hearing on the state budget being held during a major snowstorm? Why wasn’t it rescheduled? Doesn’t this demonstrate a disregard for the public on the part of some of our key elected officials?
By the way, why hasn’t governor announced a travel ban in the state? If he did, would the Ways and Means Committees still hold their “public” hearing anyway?
Last year, we raised a number of questions and concerns about the “Real Lives” bill, which its supporters claim would give people with intellectual disabilities more choice in the services they receive.
The measure was passed by the state House last year, but died in the Senate. It has been reintroduced this year by its chief sponsor, Representative Tom Sannicandro.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear any substantive changes were made in this year’s version of the bill (HD 1379), which, once again, would give corporate service providers both unnecessary subsidy payments from the state and a disproportionate say in how the program is designed and run.
We also don’t believe the bill, as written, would accomplish its supporters’ intent, which is to ”limit government intrusion into people’s lives and allow them to be more creative in how they design services to meet their needs.”
Aside from failing to adequately define many of the terms in the bill (as we previously pointed out about last year’s bill), the measure this year would appear to still leave it up to the Department of Developmental Services to make the key decisions about which services an individual would receive.
The bill would provide individuals with an “allocation of resources” to allow them to plan their own services and choose where they would live and who they would live with, according to the bill’s supporters. This planning process is referred to as “self-direction.” The Arc of Massachusetts, one of the bill’s key supporters, maintains that the legislation would ”allow people with developmental disabilities…to use their money as they see fit…”
But the actual language of the bill states that “The Department (DDS) shall determine an individual’s prioritization for services and the amount allocated for an individual’s services…” (my emphasis). It sounds as though the individual’s amount of self-direction under the bill would be quite limited.
But our main reservation about this bill still centers around the potential benefits that the corporate providers would appear to get from it.
In a written response to our blog post last year, the Arc maintained that far from being the intended beneficiaries of the bill, the state-funded providers almost didn’t support the measure as originally drafted because it supposedly gave so much independent power to individuals and guardians.
Maybe, but as written now, the bill seems to be overly generous to the providers. For instance, it contains the same language as last year in establishing a “contingency fund” that would, among other things, “mitigate the impact to providers” if individuals were to choose to leave them for other providers.
This, in our view, amounts to a subsidy to the providers and has nothing to do with the stated purpose of the bill. The provision would essentially compensate providers for not providing services — sort of like paying farmers not to grow crops.
In addition, as was the case with last year’s version, the bill would create a “Self-Determination Advisory Board,” which would “evaluate and advise the Department on efforts to implement self-direction.” The legislation specifies that the Advisory Board would include providers, the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (the ADDP, which represents the providers), the Arc, “support brokers” (more about them in a minute), and a number of community-based advocacy organizations. No state employee unions or organizations such as ours with a different point of view would be included.
Also, this same provider-dominated Advisory Board would somehow “assist” DDS in developing the contingency fund, mentioned above, which would provide those subsidies to the providers.
And, if that weren’t enough, the contingency fund would be “comprised of 40% of the savings from the closure of Monson, Glavin and Templeton (developmental centers)….” In our view, this fund is being established on the backs of the residents who are being evicted from those facilities and being moved, in many cases, to provider-run residences.
No wonder the providers are supporting this legislation. But it doesn’t end there. Let’s go back to those support brokers, which are defined in the bill as persons who would “assist” individuals in developing their “person-centered plans” for services. A support broker would operate in conjunction with a “fiscal intermediary,” which the bill defines as “a financial management service…to assist an individual who self-directs in disbursing funds allocated to an individual.”
The employment of support brokers and fiscal intermediaries sounds like more business opportunities for corporate providers. In fact, one of the concerns we raised about it last year was that the support brokers sounded duplicative of the current function of state service coordinators. Service coordinators are state employees who already plan and monitor individualized services for people in the community system.
We remain concerned that the privatized support brokers and fiscal intermediaries established under the bill could take jobs away from service coordinators and other state employees who currently provide many of those same functions in carrying out DDS clients’ Individual Support Plans. This was reportedly a concern of the SEIU, a state employee union, which was engaged in negotiations over the bill last year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the SEIU was very successful in those negotiations.
We understand, for instance, that there was a proposal or agreement at one point late last year to include explicit language in the bill about using service coordinators as support brokers, but this apparently didn’t happen. The current bill does state that “the support broker shall be made available through the Department or through a qualified private sector broker of the individual’s choice.” But that still doesn’t seem to us to guarantee any of this work for service coordinators or that DDS would necessarily even select state employees as support brokers.
Finally, the only substantive change from last year that we could find in the bill was a 90-day deadline to DDS to transfer someone who wants to leave their provider to “an available alternative.” Of course, this might hinge on whether the Department determines that an alternative is available.
We’re not saying this last provision isn’t worthwhile (although we disagree, of course, with subsidizing providers who lose any of those clients), but, in itself, we don’t think it justifies the bill. Why not make this 90-day provision a stand-alone bill?
In sum, it is disappointing to us that Representative Sannicandro, after talking to us and listening to our concerns last year, appears to have made little or no substantive changes to the bill. As such, we cannot support this bill as it stands so far. We would be happy to talk again with Rep. Sannicandro if he is open to our input on this measure.
We sent an email listing our continuing concerns this week to Rep. Sannicandro’s office. We’ll report on what we hear back.
In a conference call with advocates last week, Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Elin Howe put what seems to be a highly optimistic spin on the governor’s FY 14 budget plan for her department.
Howe said that, “I think we’re entering into this (budget process) in better shape than in a considerable period of time.” Last spring, she similarly described the plan for the current-year DDS budget, as it emerged from the House Ways & Means Committee, as “the best budget the Department has had in five years.”
Governor Patrick’s $1.5 billion, FY 14 budget plan for DDS appears to be typical of his overall budget proposals for human services, but we aren’t ready to make too many rosy projections about it.
First, there’s the question whether the governor’s budget proposals are realistic, given that they depend on passage of his plan to raise taxes. And as was the case last year, Howe seems to be focusing on the brightest spots in a budget for her department that appears to have many dark spots as well.
Howe did begin the Wednesday call by noting that the governor’s proposed budget (H1) depends on legislative passage of his proposal to increase the income tax rate to 6.25 percent. The state’s current revenue estimate for the coming fiscal year “doesn’t support all of what we’re trying to do,” she said.
Howe said, though, that she had no figures on what might happen to the DDS line items for FY 14 if the Legislature were to balk at the governor’s tax plan, which seems a good possibility.
Secondly, while Howe noted that H1 calls for increasing a number of DDS line items, she acknowledged there are also a number of projected shortfalls and cuts in it. Among the line items in H1 with projected shortfalls are DDS Administration (which funds service coordinators), State-operated group homes, and Community-based Transportation programs.
Also, the community-based Adult Family Supports and Turning 22 accounts would be only level-funded under H1, while the Autism Division account would be cut by a small amount.
In addition, the state-run developmental center line item would be cut by $10.4 million, bringing the total amount cut from this account by the Patrick administration to nearly $80 million since FY 2009. As we’ve said many times before, we have yet to see how that cut in developmental center funding has provided much in the way of benefits for the average DDS client in the community system.
Moreover, Howe said there is no money in the H1 budget for the developmental center account for the continued operation of the Fernald Center in the coming fiscal year, meaning the Department will once again have to ask for supplemental funding for Fernald.
The following is a line-item breakdown for DDS, under H1 for FY14:
DDS Administration and service coordinators (5911-1003):
H1 would increase this line item by $1.7 million, to $64.7 million. However, Howe said this increase is the result of salary increases due to collective bargaining with the SEIU state employee union. Without an additional $500,000 in the account, 10 to 12 service coordinator jobs could be lost, she said.
Service coordinators have the critical task of making sure DDS clients are receiving the right services in the community system, and their caseloads are growing out of control. SEIU is asking for an additional $2.5 million in the administrative line item in order to restore 50 service coordinator jobs out of the 82 jobs lost since 2007.
Community Transportation (5911-2000):
H1 would increase this account by $537,000, to $13 million. However, Howe said this increase will still result in a shortfall in the transportation account of $500,000.
Community Residential (5920-2000):
H1 would increase this account by $71.7 million, to $860.3 million. Howe said some of this increased funding is the result of “Chapter 257,” a 2008 “global payment” initiative, which established pre-set rates for DDS residential service vendors. The Arc of Massachusetts says the Chapter 257 increase amounts to $55 million and is a “down-payment” on a total $175 million increase in funding that is expected to be given to the vendors.
State-operated Residential (5920-2010):
H1 would increase this account by $10.6 million, to $191.4 million. Howe noted that this increase is largely for the operation of new state-run group homes for residents from developmental centers marked for closure. Overall, she said, the increase in this account is $3.5 million less than what DDS requested, meaning the Department is once again projecting a shortfall in needed funding.
Community Day and Work (5920-2025):
H1 would increase the amount by $28.4 million, to $161.9 million, which is good news.
Adult Family Supports (5920-3000):
H1 would level-fund this account at $49.5 million, which is not good news.
Autism Division (5920-3010):
H1 would cut this account by $22,166, to $4.6 million. Bad news.
Turning 22 (5920-5000):
H1 would level-fund this account at $6 million. However, it would increase the annualized amounts for Turning 22 clients in the community residential, community day programs, and community transportation accounts. Mixed news.
Facilities (developmental centers) (5930-1000):
H1 would cut this account by $10.4 million, to $123 million. The Facilities account has been cut by nearly $80 million since FY 09.
Templeton Retained Revenue (5982-1000):
H1 would level-fund this account at $150,000
Non-DDS line items:
EOHHS Salary Reserve (1599-6901):
It does not appear that H1 contains any funding for the salary reserve for wage increases for direct-care workers employed by DDS vendors. In November, Patrick froze $20 million that had been placed in the fund for the current fiscal year.
Disabled Persons Protection Commission (1107-2501):
H1 would increase this account by $23,000, to $2.3 million. The effect, however, is level-funding of the agency, which has been level-funded since FY 2009. The DPPC is an independent state agency charged with investigating complaints of abuse and neglect of people with intellectual and other disabilities.
We’ll stay tuned of course to see what the House and Senate do with the governor’s budget for DDS. All in all, we don’t share the assessment that we’re entering into this budget process in great shape.
We are no doubt well into an era of reduced public services and of having to do more with less. Unfortunately, the administration doesn’t appear to have put much thought into how to accomplish that. It’s main initiative has been to close developmental centers, which hasn’t boosted funding to most community-based accounts.