On July 18, 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 166, the state’s operating budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, into law. The budget invests a historic $370 million over the next two years to support Ohioans with developmental disabilities. Governor DeWine introduced a bold budget recognizing that now is the time to invest in Ohio. The budget makes investments in many areas affecting Ohioans with developmental disabilities and their families, including creating opportunities for every child to succeed and supporting the workforce.
The budget for the next two years will do the following for Ohio’s developmental disabilities system.
Investments in Workforce
Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), county boards of developmental disabilities, and the Ohio Legislature have heard and responded to the need for increased wages for direct support professionals (DSPs).
In this budget, county boards of developmental disabilities agreed to a first-of-its-kind partnership with DODD to jointly invest in higher rates for DSPs. This partnership and support of Governor DeWine and the legislature makes a historic investment in the DSP Homemaker/Personal Care rate. An investment of $253 million will bring the DSP Homemaker/Personal Care average reimbursement rate to $12.82 by January 1, 2020, and to $13.23 by January 1, 2021. This is the largest investment in system history.
The budget also invests $55.3 million to raise the on-site, on-call DSP reimbursement rate from $6.09 to $8.55.
Investments in Ohio Early Intervention
Governor DeWine recognizes that services and supports early in a child’s life will give them the best opportunity to succeed. Children with high exposure to lead, who are diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or who experience other developmental delays, benefit from Early Intervention (EI) services. An investment of $24.4 million over the biennium doubles current EI funding to meet increased need for services.
Investments for Multi-System Youth
This budget, for the first time, will allow the system to build critically needed system capacity to serve multi-system youth residentially. Through intermediate care facility (ICF) franchise fees, this budget will generate approximately $11 million annually to serve multi-system youth in ICFs. Budget language increases the franchise fee and creates a structured program for ICF providers to serve multi-system youth through an add-on rate. This initiative is a critical component in building a comprehensive system of services and supports for Ohio youth with complex needs, and it is reflective of the priorities established by Governor DeWine and legislature to address the needs of multi-system youth.
Investments in Transportation
This budget recognizes that the Non-Medical Transportation (NMT) system needs improvement to meet the transportation needs of Ohioans with developmental disabilities. Investments of $26.3 million will allow for a modernized NMT reimbursement system so people with developmental disabilities can get to work and around their communities.
Additional Budget Provisions
- Adds language regarding county boards sharing information about the ICF option
- Permits DODD to immediately suspend a provider’s certification when there is serious noncompliance or substantial risk to the health and safety of a person
- Requires each county board of developmental disabilities to submit to DODD a five-year projection of revenues and expenditures
- Continues the Employment First Task Force to ensure that employment for Ohioans with developmental disabilities remains a priority and is coordinated among state agencies
- Continues the Interagency Workgroup on Autism to ensure coordination among the state agencies that serve Ohioans with autism spectrum disorders and their families
- Maintains the ICF rate reimbursement formula currently in statute
The budget process is not done in isolation. Governor DeWine and all state agencies, both chambers of the legislature, local government partners, and many stakeholder groups put in a great amount of time to get to a finished budget.
With investments in place, the department will be listening to and working with stakeholders on how to implement these new initiatives and changes. DODD will continue to provide updated progress through the DODD website, newsletters, and social media as work groups make recommendations, as rules are filed, and as initiatives go live.