Dear Arc Members and Friends,
These are very scary times. Our advocacy approach at The Arc Maryland has always been to provide facts, figures, education, and advocacy in an honest, transparent and trusted manner. Throughout time, we have been recognized for our resourcefulness; we, as a community of parents, self advocates and provider chapters, have always "made it work" despite experiencing years of insufficient funding while at the same time complying with the additions of unfunded mandates. We do not ever identify something as an emergency unless it is truly an emergency.
This is an emergency.
e need your advocacy now. Decisions are forming this weekend and are expected to be final by the beginning to middle of next week. The Fight for $15 bill has been sent to a Conference Committee and our fates are being discussed right now.
We are hearing, and the newspaper is also reporting that the Senate version of the bill was rejected by the House due to some of the amendments to the bill, including the amendment restoring DD funding in the bill and the amendment extending the timeline for implementation. A Conference Committee has been assigned to negotiate and find a compromise. We are at risk.
As soon as possible, PLEASE do the following:
nd email the Speaker of the House (Michael Busch) and the Senate President (Thomas "Mike" Miller), and ALL of your legislators in the House and the Senate, and tell them that we need them to fight for us.
We need them to save developmental disability services by ensuring that the conference committee knows they support the Senate
funding level with no reductions.
Prior to making your call or sending your email, please review the attached
- Share this action alert far and wide immediately. Send it out to your email contacts and post on social media, asking your friends and family to take action!
- Come to Annapolis Monday afternoon / evening to join other advocates for another Action Night. We need to make this issue visible as legislators walk back and forth between their committees and the State House. Since Monday is "Cross-over day," legislator schedules will be unpredictable.
of any powerful connections you or your network members have with leaders in the General Assembly, especially with Speaker, Delegate Mike Busch, the Senate President, Mike Miller, and Conference Committee members. Ask them to make personal contact with the legislators to urge them to adopt the Senate DD rate increases with no reductions.
We understand that the House members of the Conference Committee are Chairman Dereck Davis from Prince George's County, Delegate Kathleen Dumais from Montgomery County, and Delegate CT Wilson from Charles County - they will also be key decision makers. We are waiting to hear who the Senate conferees will be.
Please scroll further down in this action alert for your call and email "talking points", as well as to the link for contact information for all of the members of the House and the Senate. If you are not sure who your delegates and senator are, please click here and type in your address to find out.
Action Night: Implore Our General Assembly members to
Fight for DD ("FIGHT FOR ME") in the "Fight for $15"
Monday, March 18 3p-8p
We will be gathering with fellow advocates and coalition partners in Annapolis TOMORROW, Monday March 18th to be a visible presence to legislators as they move from Committee meetings to full sessions in the State House. We need you; the self advocates, family members, Arc staff and volunteers and our other supporters to come and to rally. The legislative schedule will be unpredictable, so we are asking you to exercise patience as you arrive on Monday.
Our goal is to educate as well as to be visible with signs that call for our elected officials to do the right thing. We will have some signs available for you, and you should feel free to bring your own as well. Please note that the DGS police will not allow any signs with sticks - they must be paper or cardboard signs that can be held in your hands.
Please post urgent action alerts on your personal and professional social media pages to share information about Action Night and what we need in the Fight for $15 bill.
Their phone numbers are: Mike Busch
410-841-3800 | 301-858-3800 and Mike Miller
410-841-3700 | 301-858-3700.
When you call and email them, please tell them (personalize this message please and do not cut and paste)
1. We are counting on you to save our supports and services
2. We need you to support the Senate rate increases for developmental disability services with absolutely no reductions.
Under the Senate version of the bill, DD services receive the highest rate increases, and we have been asked what justifies developmental disability services receiving higher rate increases.
Why are DD services different from other Medicaid providers?
no other substantial source of funding for services other than the Medicaid funds from DDA. The federal government does not allow DD providers to charge fees for Medicaid-funded services. DD services do not have a "private pay" side of their services to complement the Medicaid-funded services.
75% of our total workforce earn less than $15 per hour (as compared to other medicaid provider groups that indicated in their testimony that 26% of their workforce earn less than $15 per hour).
People with developmental disabilities receiving supports have a very low employment rate, and
have not had a lifetime of work in order to save money to private-pay for their care. Their families have typically spent much of their income caring for their child with a disability and have no funds to pay for private services either.
DD services are
now required by the federal government (CMS) to be provided in the community. Unlike nursing homes, medical day care, and home health, they are required to be go out into the community which requires a workforce with higher skill levels who can work with little or no direct supervision.
DD direct support staff have to be able to manage multiple responsibilities, unlike staff in other types of services. where there are separate staff to provide care, clean, cook, etc.
ONE DD STAFF can be required to have ALL of the following skills and responsibilities:
- Manage health and medications
-Support people with behavioral issues that can jeopardize the person's own safety
-Provide personal care
-Help people get and keep jobs
-Help people manage their benefits and their finances
-Help people build friend and family relationships and deal with sexuality
-Home maintenance, meal prep
Services for almost 25,000 Marylanders with developmental disabilities will be in serious jeopardy if the Senate rate increases are not adopted!