Cuts in funding creating reduction in programsPublished 5:47pm Saturday, February 2, 2013
A headline in a Minnesota House Internet article about the Governor’s Health and Human Services budget proposal reads, “Healthcare proposal includes reform initiatives, provider pay increases.”
This is a misleading headline, because there are no provider increases for long-term services and supports programs for people with disabilities. There is a 1.1 percent increase in provider rates for nursing homes.
In the past 10 years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been cut from our programs. In fact, this year it gets even worse.
Under current law, our programs will have a 1.67 percent reduction for six months (July 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013). These cuts have meant long waiting lists for our waiver programs, no increases in wages for direct support professionals, and limits on the number of days some individuals can attend their day training programs (or DT&H’s for short).
There is plenty of talk at the Capitol about restoring the school shift, as there should be, but there is no talk at the Capitol about the disability shift. In addition, the Governor’s budget failed to fund the Region Ten Quality Commission and the establishment of regional commissions in other parts of the state that we have been working on for 15 years.
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In an historic change for people with intellectual disabilities (ID), the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced its intent to stop using the phrase “mental retardation” and start using “intellectual disability” in its official Listing of Impairments.
This change, which The Arc and many other organizations advocated for, comes a little over two years after President Barack Obama signed Rosa’s Law.
In 2010, The Arc was very involved in efforts to end the use of the “r-word” and worked to enact Rosa’s Law, which substituted the stigmatizing word with the terms “intellectual disability” and “individual with an intellectual disability” in federal health, education, and labor policy statutes. While the legislation did not cover programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, it was an important stepping stone for shaping future legislation and efforts that will transform these outdated terms in all federal laws. The Social Security Administration’s actions are a welcome result of the success of Rosa’s Law.
•Jan. 3 to Feb. 15: Special Olympics Raffle. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at The Arc office. Grand prize is a Polaris 600 Indy Snowmobile. Other prizes include an entertainment package (60” LED TV, Surround Sound System and XBOX 360 Kinect) and $1,000 cash prize
• Tuesday, Feb. 19: The Arc’s 18th annual Rose Sale begins. We are recruiting Rose Sale Captains, Contact The Arc for details.
Jamey Helgeson is the Program Director at The Arc Mower County and can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 507-433-8994, Extension 102. You can also visit our website (www.arcmowercounty.org) and follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/arcmc).