For Immediate Release - January 23, 2014

Governor Patrick Announces Investments to Enhance Community Services for Individuals with Disabilities

BOSTON — As part of his FY15 budget proposal, Governor Deval Patrick this week announced investments to help individuals with disabilities live with greater independence in the community, and increased support for fair and adequate payment rates for health care and social welfare providers.

“Human service workers provide critical support to our most vulnerable residents, ranging from social work, to child care to nursing,” said HHS Secretary John Polanowicz. “The Governor’s budget reflects his long-time commitment to Community First principles that will also save taxpayer money by reducing our reliance on institutionalized care."

To support human services providers’ vital role in the lives of many, the Governor’s budget provides an investment of $163 million above FY14 levels to support the commitment to fully fund and complete the implementation of Chapter 257 human services rate regulation legislation to ensure fair and adequate payment rates for providers. Currently, the Commonwealth contracts with 1,800 group homes across the Commonwealth that provide 24/7 care to individuals with diverse needs.

On Monday, Governor Patrick visited the Cape Abilities farm in Dennis as part of the National Day of Service where he worked alongside individuals with disabilities as they prepared a greenhouse for the spring growing season. The visit underscored the importance of investments in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), which works alongside Cape Abilities to provide a broad range of services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Since 2007, the Patrick Administration has helped nearly 150,000 seniors and people with disabilities access integrated long-term services and supports that allow them to receive high quality care where they live, while reducing health care costs.

The Governor’s budget also helps individuals with disabilities live independently by supporting employment training opportunities and placement, and strengthens support services to young people with disabilities. The budget provides funding for day, transportation, respite and family support services. This investment in community-based services and supports is a nearly 12% increase above FY14 estimated spending and an over 21% increase above FY13 spending.

“The Governor's investments will enable the Department to increase employment opportunities and better serve the more than 20,000 families who support loved ones in their homes,” said DDS Commissioner Elin Howe. “Funding for fair and adequate service rates for our private sector partners will also help them best provide supports and services to thousands of individuals they work with across the Commonwealth.”

In 2008, the Governor signed Chapter 257, An Act Relative to Rates for Human and Social Service Programs, which allowed the Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) along with the then newly established Center for Health Information and Analysis to diligently implement standardized reimbursement rate regulations for human service programs and providers. Collaborating across agencies and with a Provider and Consumer Advisory Council, the purchase of services will be standardized for direct care, adult long term services and supports, adult residential services, and workforce training.

# # #