TO: DDS Community
FROM: Elin M. Howe, Commissioner
DATE: April 22, 2010
RE: Update 171

House Ways and Means FY 2011 Budget Recommendations for the Department of Developmental Services

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, the House Ways and Means Committee (HWM) released its Fiscal Year 2011 budget recommendation that funds the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) at $1,263,626,507. This recommended amount is over $11.3 million less than the Governor's proposed budget for DDS.

Within this House Ways and Means budget are funding recommendations for the Transportation account, the Respite account, Autism account and DESE/DDS account which are higher than the Governor's recommendations. The Day and Employment account is also recommended by HWM to be $3.7 million higher but the funding would still be insufficient to cover the annualized cost of day and employment services for more than 200 individuals. The HWM budget did adopt the Governor's recommendation to fund Turning 22 at $5 million and the Templeton Farm Retained Revenue account at $150,000.

However, in several other accounts, the House Ways and Means funding recommendations depart significantly from the Governor's FY 2011 budget recommendations. The HWM proposed funding reductions will have a profound and devastating effect on DDS operations and services. The HWM budget calls for a reduction of over $11 million to the DDS consolidated residential account. This cuts in half the $21 million that Governor Patrick had recently restored to this account and means that up to 150 beds and/or individuals will have to be eliminated from residential services. The Facilities account was cut $215,000 which is in addition to the $1.2 million cut already recommended by the Governor. The DDS Administration and Operations account was cut $5.7 million in addition to the $5.3 million cut recommended by the Governor. This proposed reduction of $11 million from the previous year's budget will increase service coordinator caseload and will have a negative impact on DDS operations to satisfy program requirements and assurances, make placements into new or changing services, do contracting, and maximize federal revenue for case management, facility and waiver services. This reduction is equivalent to 25% of the DDS administrative and service coordination staff.

Below are the House Ways and Means FY 2011 budget recommendations for the Department of Developmental Services by line item.

5911-1003 Administration and Operations - $57,155,673

5911-2000 Transportation - $12,037,324

5920-2002 Rolland Court Monitor - $400,000

5920-2000 Residential & State Operated Programs - $861,751,486

(New account combining Community Residential and State Operated Program accounts)

5920-2025 Day and Employment - $119,988,888

5920-3000 Respite/Family Support - $46,521,184

5920-3010 Autism Division - $4,128,480

5920-5000 Turning 22 Services - $5,000,000

5930-1000 State Facilities - $149,993,472

5982-1000 Templeton Retained Revenue - $150,000

5948- 0012 Inter-Governmental Transfer - Special Education Alternatives of Children with MR - $6,500,000

Amendments to restore the proposed cuts to the DDS accounts were filed with the House last Friday. House members are expected to begin debate on the HWM budget and the amendments the week of April 26 th.

Important Information on Dental Services

Tufts Dental Clinic located at Fernald Developmental Center

With the June closure of the Fernald Developmental Center, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) wants to assure the individuals and families served by the Tufts dental clinic at Fernald that they will continue to receive dental services. DDS has worked out a plan for Tufts to increase the availability of dental services at existing Tufts dental clinics and to maintain a certain level of services at the Fernald clinic over the course of the next 12 months until the move to a new clinic site is complete. Whenever possible, Tufts will attempt to provide services in a clinic site convenient to the homes of individuals. During this transition time, Tufts will continue to set up appointments in accordance with individuals' routine schedule of visits. Tufts will confirm an individual's next appointment, and will notify them of the location in which the visit will take place.

Each individual and his/her guardian currently using the Fernald clinic will be receiving a letter explaining the plans for the staged transition to other clinic sites. DDS providers and Area Office staff will also be receiving a similar letter. We will be asking providers and DDS staff to assist individuals and their families to understand what this change will mean.

MassHealth Adult Dental Benefits

In the near future, you may hear that effective July 1, 2010, MassHealth will only cover preventive dental services for members aged 21 and older. They will no longer pay for restorative services including fillings, root canals, periodontal procedures, crowns, and dentures.

Please note that this change does not apply to DDS eligible individuals. There will be no change in covered dental services for DDS eligible individuals. In order to assure that DDS individuals continue to get all current services, MassHealth will be notifying all dental providers that the limitations on coverage do not apply to individuals who are DDS eligible. In mid-late May, DDS will be sending a letter to each eligible individual affirming their access to all dental services that they currently receive. It will be important that individuals save this letter and bring it with them to all future dental appointments. Information regarding access to dental services will also be mailed to all DDS Area Offices and all DDS public and private providers.

If you have any questions about the Fernald dental clinic or the MassHealth Adult Dental Benefits, please feel free to call Gail Grossman, Assistant Commissioner for Quality Management at (617) 624-7779.

This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.