We are nearing the end of the 2017 legislative session.  Legislators were not able to achieve consensus to move forward on tax reform and revenue proposals, so those efforts have been abandoned for this session and will be continued in the 2019 long legislative session.
This means that legislators are now scrambling to finalize and pass out the remainder of the agency budgets and the few policy bills that will be lucky enough to make it all the way through the legislative process in the waning days of the session.
Yesterday, the Human Services Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means had a work session to review and pass out the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities budget for the 2017-19 biennium.
Laurie Byerly, Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) staff for the Human Services Subcommittee went over the LFO recommendations to the committee on the IDD budget contained in SB 5526:
When compared to the 2015-17 Legislatively Approved Budget, the LFO recommended General Fund budget is 19.3% higher, and the total funds (General, Other and Federal Funds combined) is a 17.0% increase.
The total funds budget is also 1.5% above the 2017-19 current service level.   Here's the LFO summary of the high-level totals:

The LFO Recommended Budget contains the following key budget actions or adjustments:
  • "Reshoot" adjustments to account for caseload growth and cost per case changes based on the spring 2017 forecast.  [Note that this means the legislature is not fully funding the "workload model," which will further reduce the budget for Community Developmental Disabilities Programs (CDDPs) and Brokerages.  The agency requested budget contained $20.8 million General Fund ($43.2 million total funds) to fully fund the workload models; the recommended budget reduces the increase to $5.8 million General Fund.]

The budget contains the following program reductions:

  • Eliminates regional programs ($4.1 million General Fund, $7.1 million total funds) that support crisis services.
  • Reduces the family support program by 1/2 or $1.3 million General Fund, could affect approximately 500 children and their families.
  • Caps bed hold payments at 21, instead of 45 days, for savings of $1.0 million General Fund. This impacts residential providers when someone they support is not at home because they are visiting family, in the hospital, etc.
  • Decreases the budget by $2.2 million ($4.7 million total funds) based on an effort to review inactive client records and work with CDDPs to remove clients from the caseload if they no longer need services.
  • Takes a $12.0 million General Fund ($24.0 million total funds) unspecified reduction. It is anticipated that meeting this target will be achieved through implementing the new assessment and other actions that may help curb costs growth; a related budget note is also proposed.
  • To help provide higher wages for Direct Support Professionals, $13.5 million General Fund ($45.5 million total funds) is added to give DD providers a 5% rate increase.  [Note:  Although this is short of the $45 million General Fund advocates were hoping for, this represents a significant investment by the legislature to stabilize this workforce.]
During the work session, legislators also discussed the Fairview Trust and confirmed on record that the trust will remain intact and will also be "walled off" from being used for any portion of the unspecified $12 million budget reduction that the agency must achieve by next summer.
There was one budget note in the DHS budget that pertains to the $12 million "unspecified reduction" in DD, which requires DHS to provide interim reports to the legislature and is described as follows:
  • The recommended budget includes a generic program reduction of $12 million General Fund in lieu of more specific actions to curb program costs.
  • While the Department has been working on sustainability options to offset program growth (primarily driven by the Community First Choice Option or "K Plan") over the past two years, the results of that work has been met with a lukewarm response by the Legislature.
  • Recently, it appears there might be other, more tenable program modification alternatives that would, however, require additional time to develop with and receive approval from the federal Medicaid authority.
  • DHS is directed to pursue these alternatives, take management actions to suppress program spending, and implement the new assessment/planning process currently under development no later than June 1, 2018.
  • At each interim meeting, the Department will provide a status update on both these efforts and the program's budget.
  • The program is hoping to achieve budget savings without having to make changes to the "parental income disregard" or other eligibility criteria. However, if the target cannot be met by other actions, the program should consider and bring forward eligibility changes for legislative review and approval during the 2017-19 biennium.
  • In addition, prior to taking any action that would close state operated residential facilities, the Department will report on its plan for that closure at the appropriate interim meeting; along with budget impacts, the report will include a description of how the closure will affect residents, providers, and employees.
Bills That Are Still Moving
With most policy committees closed and legislative efforts now resolutely focused on passing agency budgets and finishing the business of the session, there are very few policy bills moving.  The following are some bills that have been signed into law in the last week or that are actively moving and will soon make it to the "finish line" in their legislative journey:
HB 2630 EN-Governor signed; effective January 1, 2018
Makes changes to Oregon guardianship laws to ensure adequate safeguards for respondents and protected persons.
HB 2684-returned to Full JWM on 6-28-17; awaiting further action
Establishes minimum hourly wage rate of $15 per hour for employees who provide direct care to residents of residential training facility or residential training home.  Note:  This is the vehicle for the DSP work group proposal that much effort and time went into putting together. 
HB 2839 EN-Governor signed; effective on passage
Prohibits discrimination in organ transplantation.
HB 2845B-Headed to Governor for signature
Directs Department of Education to convene advisory group to develop statewide ethnic studies standards for adoption into existing statewide social studies standards for public kindergarten through grade 12.
HB 3067A-Work session in JWM Subcommittee on Public Safety held on 6-28-17
Authorizes Marion and Polk Counties to establish pilot CourtCare programs to provide quality child care to individuals and families who are participating in court proceedings at local courthouse or transacting business at local governmental office
HB 3068 EN-Signed in to law; effective January 1, 2018
Directs Office of Child Care to implement resource and referral system.
SB 231 A- Returned to Full JWM; work session scheduled 6-28-17
Establishes Task Force on Student Mental Health Support.
SB 243 A-Returned to full JWM on 6-27-17; awaiting further action
Expands definition of "child in care" to include children receiving care and services from certified foster homes and developmental disabilities residential facilities.
SB 397A- Passed vote on Senate floor; awaiting vote on House floor
Directs Department of Human Services to convene work group to develop common client confidentiality release form to be used by public bodies and community organizations to enable and facilitate appropriate sharing of confidential information.
You can review our usual weekly report of the Priority 1 and 2 bills the IDD Coalition is tracking here.  

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