Higher Costs, Less Revenue, and An Uncertain Future for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Their Families, and Community Supports
A recent survey of the ten local chapters of The Arc in Maryland showed startling statistics that point to a pending system-wide breakdown which will leave thousands of people with I/DD at risk—potentially stranded with no support services and no available providers.
While the numbers reflected in the report are representative of the 10 chapters of The Arc, we believe the data has much wider applicability and should be viewed as a sample of what is happening more broadly across the state of Maryland in provider organizations funded through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA).
With CDC recommendations to limit group sizes, expand distances of proximity, expand cleaning protocols, and place additional consideration and care on the needs of people with underlying health conditions and advanced age, everything must be re-examined.
The data in the report exposes the true conditions of provider organizations and illuminates considerations state leaders should heed for the rebuilding, stabilization, and future health services for people with I/DD. The state has a responsibility to ensure the safety, quality, and viability of the DDA community-based system of services and supports.
What You Can Do To Help
At this time, emails and calls are urgently needed to Governor Hogan, Comptroller Franchot, State Treasurer Kopp, and Secretary David Brinkley to save developmental disabilities funding in the state budget.
Developmental Disabilities providers and people with I/DD who self-direct their services have been greatly impacted by the pandemic with added costs for personal safety equipment and other needed supplies, hazard pay for essential healthcare personnel, and declines in revenues.
As the Governor tries to deal with budget shortfalls brought about by the pandemic, we are counting on him to protect the 4% increase that is in the budget as mandated by the Minimum Wage law passed last year. Without this funding, providers will not have the resources needed for compliance with the law to increase worker pay.
Please contact your state leaders as soon as possible! We have created a toolkit to assist you with your advocacy which can be accessed by clicking the button below.
If you follow The Arc Maryland on Social Media, please share and spread our stories, and add your own, using the campaign hashtags #SaveDDFunding and #WeAreEssential.
Stories Around Maryland
Aaron has attended his day program since 1999 and moved into a group home in 2018. When he left the Kent County school system in 1999, Linda and her husband were able to continue working full time because they knew their son, Aaron, would be safe and engaged and supported in productive work through his adult developmental disabilities day program.
In 2018, they were faced with the emotionally difficult decision for Aaron to move out of the family home and into his group home in Chestertown. While they would have preferred to keep their son at home with them, Linda and her husband are now 73 and 78 years old, and Aaron is 41 years old with a need for constant support from Direct Support Professionals. “I feel extremely lucky that Aaron will be able to live out his life close to home in the community he has lived in for all of his 41 years.” said Linda recently.
Providing a safe home is particularly important in the midst of a pandemic. People can only shelter at home if they have a home in which to live. For many people with disabilities, that also means having full-time staff support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the case of the DDA provider organization that supports Aaron, every one of the providers’ group homes is open and fully staffed right now to keep the people they support safe and healthy. For the people who live in those homes, many of whom have underlying medical conditions, having a safe place to live means surviving a pandemic.
Maryland residents, Susan and George Hartung are the proud parents of four children. Two of their children are adults with developmental disabilities who receive services and supports from DDA provider organizations.
“Our son is 35 and has a rare genetic disorder (KAT6A) that has left him with a variety of significant developmental disorders including autism, I/DD, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. My daughter is 30 and has been diagnosed with autism and epilepsy,” explained Sue. “We have spent over 30 years fighting for them to have the opportunity for lives as fulfilling and happy as their two siblings. We have had to fight for fair funding for the essential healthcare services they need for, what seems like, every year. It is disheartening that now, in the middle of a pandemic, we not only are faced with fears that one of them will become ill, but we are also fearful of the future and whether the services they need will continue to be there.”
Cutting community services funding for people with disabilities is not fiscally prudent because it has a greater risk of sending people to higher cost delivery models such as hospitals and institutions.
Many states, including Maryland have evaluated Long Term Care programs’ costs and have supported efforts to move more resources toward Home and Community Based services such as those funded through the Developmental Disabilities Administration, rather than institutional care.
“Everyone deserves to live and be supported (if they need the support) to live in the community. We need to take care of the providers that do this important work for our sons and daughters.”