The Department works with stakeholders, parents and guardians, and self-advocates to advance legislative measures that improve the health, safety, and well-being of Ohioans with developmental disabilities and their families. Monthly, the Department will update you on legislation that affects our community. To find more information on each bill, click the link attached to each bill number, which will direct you to the Legislature's website for the corresponding bill.
With an overall vote total of 220 yes votes to 3 no votes, Governor Kasich's third Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) Mid-Biennium Review (MBR), House Bill 483, passed out of legislature, last Thursday, the 26th of May. Since taking office, the Governor has transformed Ohio's developmental disabilities system by giving more individuals the opportunity to live and work in their communities. His most recent budget made a historic investment in Ohioans with developmental disabilities, allocating nearly $300 million dollars in new funds. Not willing to be satisfied, Gov. Kasich's latest MBR continues to reform and strengthen Ohio's developmental disabilities system.
Modernizing Health Care Administration: In a home care setting, the caretaker typically has a long-term relationship with an individual; a sense of familiarity is maintained over time. And yet, these same caretakers aren't allowed to administer basic health care products. By increasing the types of medications and health care-related activities that can be administered by a direct care staff member, individuals' needs can be met in a timelier manner. The list of medications that can be administered has been updated to reflect new medications and new practices, as well as the ongoing experience of both supervisory nurses and direct care staff. These medications include inhalers, some forms of insulin, epinephrine, and over-the-counter topical treatments such as sunscreen and insect repellent. The health care-related activities include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines, percussion vests and compression hosiery.
Improving Continuity of Service to Ensure Young Ohioans Thrive: Bureaucracy should never get in the way of the quality care our children with developmental disabilities deserve. Under current law, early intervention services provided to children from birth to age three with developmental delays are administered by two separate state agencies – the Department of Health and the Department of Developmental Disabilities. As these children grow older, they should expect and receive a seamless delivery of new services. By aligning this program within a single agency -- DODD-- children in need of additional services as they grow older will experience a smooth transition of care. While the delivery of services for those children in early intervention will not change, those children who need ongoing support will have a clearer continuum of service throughout their lifetime.
Other Reforms to Strengthen Ohio's Developmental Disabilities System: Other improvements made in the Department's MBR include: the removal of unnecessary Targeted Case Management language, clarification of a cost report drafting discrepancy, improved IAF guideline transparency, the forgiveness of an outstanding balance on county board buildings if certain conditions are met, and the modernization of the County Board levy process.
Today more than ever, Ohioans with developmental disabilities want the opportunity to live and work in their communities. The MBR's new initiatives continue the transformation of Ohio's developmental disabilities system, so more Ohioans get that opportunity.
HB 158, Disability Terms, would change the offensive term "mentally retarded" found in Ohio law to "person with an intellectual disability." The bill passed the House on January 26 with a vote of 95-0. The bill passed the Senate on May 24 with a vote of 33-0. The Department has worked proactively in support of this legislation and to make sure the changes do not disrupt or change any services. The bill can now be signed by Governor Kasich.
HB 299, Autism Scholarships, would allow the temporary, legal, or permanent custodian of a qualified child to apply for an Autism Scholarship. This would expand the availability of the scholarship to more children. The bill passed the House on December 8, 2015 with a vote of 91-0 and the Senate on April 27, 2016 with a vote of 32-0. The bill can now be signed by Governor Kasich.
HB 350, Autism Treatment, would mandate coverage of autism treatment in more health insurance plans. The bill was favorably reported on May 25 from the House Accountability & Oversight Committee. The bill can now be voted on by the entire House.
HB 358, Savings Accounts, would allow for an income tax deduction for contributions to ABLE savings accounts. The language of the bill was added to HB 483 on May 3 and is now part of that passed legislation. Governor Kasich signed the ABLE Act, House Bill 155, into law in July, and the Department has been working with the Treasurer's office to roll out the program soon.
HB 365, Mobility Aid Transportation, would allow transportation services, such as taxis, to transport, people who require a wheelchair but are not medically fragile. The bill is now under consideration in the House Health & Aging Committee.
SB 128, Bartter Syndrome Awareness Day, would designate May 13 as Bartter Syndrome Awareness Day. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 32-0 on September 30, 2015 and passed then House on May 24, 2016 with a vote of 89-0. The bill can now be signed by Governor Kasich. Bartter syndrome is made up of a group of similar but rare conditions that affect the kidneys.
SB 130, Disability History and Awareness Month, would designate October as Disability History and Awareness Month. The bill passed the Senate on with a vote of 32-0. The language of the bill was added to HB 483 on May 25 and is now part of that passed legislation.
SB 133, Scleroderma Awareness Month, would designate June as Scleroderma Awareness Month. The bill has passed the Senate and the House. The bill can be signed into law by Governor Kasich. Scleroderma is made up of many conditions that can affect the skin, blood vessels, internal organs, and the digestive tract.
SB 310, Capital Appropriations, to make appropriations for capital projects for the biennium. The bill has 28.4 million dollars in funds related to developmental disability services. The bill passed both the Senate and the House and was signed by Governor Kasich on May 17.
HCR 21, Developmental Disabilities Employment Services, is a proposed resolution to urge Congress to request the Federal government change its policy concerning sheltered workshops. The bill passed the House with a vote of 90-0. The bill received sponsor testimony in the Senate Education Committee on April 20.