Home > Uncategorized > Gov’s proposed FY22 DDS budget would boost provider-run group home funding, but cut day program and transportation funding

Gov’s proposed FY22 DDS budget would boost provider-run group home funding, but cut day program and transportation funding

UPDATE TO OUR FEB. 2 BLOG POST:

A DDS spokesperson confirmed yesterday (Feb. 3) that cuts proposed in Governor Baker’s Fiscal 2022 budget in DDS community-based day and transportation programs are due to “the ripple effects of COVID-19 restrictions.”

Those COVID restrictions are expected to continue into Fiscal 2022, which starts on July 1, according to DDS spokesman Christopher Klaskin.

Klaskin said the administration has proposed transfer language to reallocate funding to the community-based day and work and transportation accounts if demand for those programs increases.

If so, that’s good news, although it remains to be seen to what degree those allocations would be made.

Klaskin also stated that DDS and its providers “have worked to accelerate” virtual programming such as Zoom sessions “that can supplement and in some cases replace in-person day services.” (my emphasis)

It is concerning to us that even prior to COVID, many day programs were apparently providing little in the way of meaningful work activities to clients. We have frequently heard from families and guardians that their loved ones have been frustrated and bored in their day programs, particularly after the closures of the sheltered workshops.

The problem has been made worse by the pandemic; and the use of remote or virtual communication formats such as Zoom has not been a satisfactory substitute for many clients, according to reports we’ve gotten.

I asked Klaskin in our email exchange this morning if DDS is considering the use of virtual programming to permanently replace some day program activities.

Our original blog post from February 2 is below:

Governor Baker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget would boost funding to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) overall; yet the governor is proposing significant cuts in DDS-funded day and transportation programs.

The proposed cuts appear to reflect the impact of the COVID crisis on the day programs, in particular.

As usual, the governor’s budget would provide a huge increase in funding to the corporate provider-based residential system. And as usual, his budget would shortchange state-operated group homes and developmental centers.

Overall, Baker’s proposal would raise the total DDS budget from $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion. Within that DDS budget, the day program line item would be cut by 14.4%, or $34.6 million. The transportation line item would be cut by 40%, or $13 million.

Among the questions we have is whether the administration believes the day programs will only slowly recover clients who were kept out of them due to the pandemic. Will those DDS clients continue to be without day programs over the next year?

At the start of the COVID crisis last March, DDS shut down all day programs. However, as the crisis appeared to be subsiding somewhat, day programs for DDS clients were reopened in late July.  Guardians were nevertheless asked by the administration to sign a release form that would absolve day program providers of legal liability if a client contracted the virus.

Many family members indicated they didn’t want to sign such a form, and an undetermined number of residential providers declined to send residents to the day programs. In mid-August, the administration appeared to backtrack on the release form requirement. DDS Commissioner Jane Ryder said guidance on the form was being revised, but confusion remained over the matter.

In an email query on Monday morning to Ryder, I asked whether the apparent retrenchment in day programs might be permanent.

I also asked what the current number of clients in day programs is, and how that number compares to the pre-COVID period. Also, how many day programs have closed entirely due to the pandemic? We think answers to those questions would be very important for our families in the DDS system to have.

Usual commitment to provider group homes while starving the state-run group homes

Baker’s budget proposes a $121 million, or 9.4% increase in the provider residential line item, bringing total funding under the line item to $1.4 billion. Much of that increase may have actually been implemented in the current fiscal year in the form of emergency funding due to the COVID crisis.

Additional funding also appears to have come from the Chapter 257 reserve fund, which is intended to fund provider residential contracts. The Chapter 257 fund received a huge increase in the current fiscal year — from $41 million last year, to $160 million. That appears to be a one-time infusion. Baker’s FY22 budget would fund the reserve fund at $79 million. That is nevertheless an increase over FY 2020 of $38 million.

As usual, the state-operated group homes would get relatively little in FY22. The state-operated group home line item would be increased by only 1.2%, or $2.7 million, to $240.5 million under Baker’s budget. That may not even be more than the inflation rate. The developmental center line item would, as usual, be cut by about half a million dollars.

The chart below shows the different trajectories of funding approved by the Legislature for both provider-run and state-run group homes, and state-run developmental centers since FY 2012.

As we’ve previously noted, the major increases in funding to the provider-based line item since FY12 have enabled the corporate providers in the DDS system to garner sizeable surplus revenues in the intervening years. Those surpluses have enabled the providers to provide yearly increases in executive salaries, but have not translated into living wages for direct-care workers employed by them.

Also slated for major funding cuts under Baker’s FY22 budget are the DDS autism accounts. The respite and family supports account would be level-funded, which amounts to a cut if adjusted for inflation.

The DDS administration account, which funds service coordinators, would get a modest 1% increase in funding under the governor’s budget, which would not keep up with inflation. However, the Turning 22 program would get a major increase — from $25 million to nearly $80 million.

The governor’s budget would continue a series of increases in recent years to the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC), which would get a $2 million or 36% increase over the current-year appropriation. The DPPC, which is the state’s only independent agency for investigating abuse and neglect of disabled adults under age 60, remains chronically underfunded.

Unfortunately, as noted, the governor and Legislature continue to maintain an imbalance in funding between provider-run and state-run services in the DDS system. Our immediate concern, however, are the planned cuts in funding to day and transportation programs. We hope to get some answers regarding those programs soon.

  1. February 8, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    come on governor. clients are getting vaccinated and staff are too. those programs can be opened and the client should decide, not the provider.
    clients are bored to tears. the day program increased self esteem, inclusion, ability to develop friendships, emotional growth, pride, sense of self worth.
    this can not be achieved in the home.
    shore collaborative in Woburn is a place clients want to spend their day.

    Like

  2. Sara
    February 26, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    Try walking in the shoes of the family members someday and maybe you might understand why it’s so important for them to have a program to go to on a daily basis. The workers at these Adult Day Centers are exceptional and caring individuals.

    Not one State Agency has lost an employee they were all working remotely from home. Your Budget Cuts should start with some of them or the “T” and their very expensive pension plan that seems to never go unfunded.

    Like

    • February 26, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      ripple effect….this is far from an acceptable excuse for inflicting emotional abuse on our friends and family. organized action is needed. I am in.

      Like

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