Proposed DD Services Budget Announced
The proposed budget is not yet final, and there may still be last minute changes or additions to consider prior to passage. Below we have summarized the status of each of the Oregon DD Coalition funding priorities as they currently stand in Senate Bill 5529:
Case Management: The budget moving forward with Senate Bill 5529 sets DD Case Management funding at $170 million General Fund for the 2021-23 biennium. Full funding would have required $190 million, but this investment covers two-thirds of the gap between the 2019-21 biennium funding levels and full funding.
Regional Family Networks: With the proposed budget in Senate Bill 5529, Family Network funding sees an investment of $1.4 million for reinstatement in the 2021-23 biennium. The Family Network funding had been eliminated last year during a special legislative session.
Direct Support Professional Wages: This budget makes two increases to DSP wages that build upon one another:
Package 119: $34.3 million General Fund ($101.5 million total funds) to provide a 3.2% rate increase for providers of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities services effective July 1, 2021, and to implement new rate models effective July 1, 2022. ODDS estimates this will result in an average weighted Direct Service Professional wage of $14.82 per hour.
Package 120: $10.0 million General Fund ($29.5 million total funds) to further increase provider rates for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities services. ODDS estimates this will increase the average weighted Direct Service Professional wage to $15.53 per hour.
Though investments were made in this area of our system, it is still not enough to stabilize a provider system whose critical needs have gone unmet for years.
DD Services Data System: Nothing in the available budget information talks about funding for the DD Services Data System, but a proposal to fund this project was included in the proposal from ODDS to spend some of the one-time funds coming to Oregon from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
What can we do from here?
Continue to watch the Joint Committee on Ways and Means for a Senate Bill 5529 hearing date, the next step in the budget approval process. We know that more funding is desperately needed to stabilize and enhance DSP Wages. There are still possible avenues for legislators to commit additional funds to this work this session. We have partnered with our member organizations Oregon Resource Association (ORA) and Community Provider Association of Oregon (CPAO) this session and every session to guide our advocacy efforts on DSP funding. Once we know how best to advocate for DSP Wages here as the legislative session winds down, we will share that information with our advocacy community.
There was discussion following the presentation of the DD portion of the proposed budget bill:
Representative Stark went on the record to state that he wishes that Package 120 (DSP wages) was more and that $15.53 is only 105% of the Metro minimum wage. Senator Gelser also commented on the same issue. Senator Gelser asked what happened to the fully funded rate model and commented that she received lots of emails and they were asking for a fully funded rate model and equity with APD. Additionally, Supported Living was left out of the rates completely.
Gregory Jollivet (LFO) commented that the proposal and budget before the committee was put forward by the Governor and DHS and he was not informed that his numbers were not 100% funding and that he didn’t know figure equated to 100% funding. Senator Gelser informed him that $25.3 million would get us to 100% funding. Senator Lieber then reminded the committee that this was something that can be addressed later.
Representative Hayden went on the record to state that he was glad that $1.4 million was put into the budget for the Family Networks, but that he had introduced a bill for $3 million to expand the work of the Family Networks to reach more regions across the state. He stated that they offer important supports and adjustments are going to be made, it should be considered. The number we have currently only holds us at status quo.
Senator Gelser went on the record once more to state that this was an incredibly difficult budget and that she appreciates all of the work done here. She would like to see the DD service provider rate model funded at 100% as are other programs and that there is work to be done there.
The DD Coalition appreciates the efforts of these and so many other legislators who have been champions for Oregonians with developmental disabilities and their families this session.