Home > Uncategorized > Once again, we’re waiting for the administration’s cost records

Once again, we’re waiting for the administration’s cost records

It has been more than a month since we asked Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby for public records detailing the costs of specified services in a particular group home program for intellectually disabled persons in Massachusetts.

It has been almost two months since we asked Commissioner of Developmental Services Elin Howe for the budgets of the Templeton, Monson, and Glavin developmental centers.

To date, we’ve received neither set of records.

As we’ve previously noted here, we’ve been attempting to compare the cost of an apparently typical vendor-run group home program with the three developmental centers.  We wanted to see whether the Patrick administration was comparing apples to apples in claiming to the Legislature in the last two fiscal years that closing the Templeton, Monson, and Glavin centers will save tens of millions in state funds.

As we reported,  a group home contract, which we did receive last May from DDS, specified a yearly cost per resident of $104,400.  In its cost savings analysis, the administration compared a very similar residential cost based on group home contracts with an average calculated cost of care at Templeton, Monson, and Glavin.

The potential problem with the administration’s analysis that we found in examining the single group home contract was that it specified budgeted costs for only direct-care, supervisory, and minimal nursing staff.  What about the extensive nursing, medical, clinical, and therapeutic staffing that exists at the developmental centers and to which the residents of DDS group homes are entitled? 

The fact that those additional medical, clinical, and therapeutic costs were not in the group home contract we examined appeared to raise the question whether the administration’s savings analysis was accurate.   One immediate question was: if those additional costs are not paid through DDS contracts, how are they paid?  Secondly, what is the total amount of those community-based costs that the administration may have missed in its analysis?

Once we get the answers to those questions, we can determine for ourselves whether there would be a savings or not in closing the developmental centers.

On July 29, we sent Public Records requests to both Secretary Bigby and Commissioner Howe, asking for copies of any documents detailing funding for medical, nursing, clinical, and therapeutic services for individuals residing in the community-based group home program we had selected for review.  About three weeks prior to that, we had asked DDS for the Templeton, Monson, and Glavin budgets for the same time periods as the group home contract. 

On August 9, I received a letter from the records custodian at EOHHS, stating that the agency was in the process of identifying the records we had requested regarding the group home contract.  Last week, I called the records custodian, and was told EOHHS was still working on our request.  He wasn’t able to tell me when the records would be found.

We’ve appealed to the Public Records Division for the Templeton, Monson, and Glavin budget documents.  We’re close to filing an appeal for the group home contract records.

But one piece of useful information may have emerged here.  The fact that the August 9 response to our request came from EOHHS and not from DDS does appear to confirm that it is not DDS, but some other source at EOHHS, that funds medical, clinical, and therapeutic services in the DDS vendor-run group home system.  We believe that other source of funding is MassHealth. 

In any event, it’s getting clearer and clearer that the administration wasn’t counting all the community-based costs of care it incurs when it told the Legislature there would be major savings in closing the developmental centers.

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  1. Ed
    September 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Getting this information is like pulling teeth from a patient with lockjaw.

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