Many of us are all too aware each year when the state agency budgets come out how hard it is to keep doing the good work we do with the limited public funds we receive. I recently testified before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities on behalf of Riverside, alongside colleagues and representatives of the Association of Developmental Disability Providers, in support of House Bill 156, a bill that could dramatically improve funding for community based human services providers like Riverside. This important bill, “an Act to Reinvest Savings for the Financial Health of the Human Services System,” would pick up where the legislation left off when Chapter 257, a law which established a new and better way for community based service providers to be reimbursed, was passed – but not funded – in 2008.
HB156 provides an ingenious and intuitively “right” way to bolster funding for Chapter 257 as it would redirect a portion of the savings achieved from closing old, expensive and crumbling institutions, like Fernald, to state agencies for funding the new Chapter 257-related rate increases. If the Joint Committee was persuaded by testimony and perceives enough support for the bill, it may “report it out” to the Ways and Means Committee for consideration for enactment sometime next Spring.
Stay tuned for progress on this important bill as it winds its way through the political process!
Guest Blogger – Laurie Burgess Hutcheson, Director of Strategic Planning