COLUMBUS – On August 20, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities held a press conference to discuss the historic state-local partnership that resulted in the first meaningful compensation increase for direct support professionals (DSPs) in more than a decade.
Stakeholders, lawmakers, and family members were on hand to discuss the intended impact of this DSP rate increase, the importance of DSPs in the daily lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, and the long-term goal of supporting the DSP profession in Ohio.
“Direct support professionals play a critical role in enhancing the quality of life for Ohioans with developmental disabilities," said Larry Householder, speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. "These men and women are some of the most caring and compassionate individuals you’ll ever meet. This state-local partnership really is historic and will make a difference.”
“What we did in this budget on this issue is historic. We invested $370 million specifically for Ohioans with developmental disabilities," added Larry Obhof, president of the Ohio Senate. "I appreciate all the hard work that went into listening and understanding the needs of these Ohioans and their families, as well as the needs of the support professionals who help them live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Jan Dougherty, a mother from Stark County shared how her son has experienced a revolving door of DSPs. “He just recently lost a professional that he truly loved. Not anything to do with the provider, but because he was able to find a job with better wages to support his own family. We understand this, but this is difficult not only for our family but for thousands across the state of Ohio.”
Bethany Toledo from the Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (OADSP) said, “The recent historic investment of dollars into Ohio’s DSPs carries with it a very important message to them about their value, and puts us on the path to developing a recognized and sustainable workforce.”
“This is a celebration for us, for some very hard work, and a thank-you,” said Jeff Davis, director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD). “I cannot say how grateful I am on behalf of our system.”
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 from Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio 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.
A recording of this press conference is available on ohiochannel.org.