Thursday, March 7, 2013

Joint Budget Committee Figure Setting

This week, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) met to complete the "Figure Setting" process for the disability services within the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).  Figure Setting is where the Joint Budget Committee approves final budget recommendations from its staff for each department.  These recommendations include how much funding will be awarded to each line item in the department, and where that funding will come from.  It also includes recommendations for bills that the Joint Budget Committee should introduce during the legislative session.  The budgetary recommendations, once approved, are brought to the State legislature where they are incorporated into the Long Bill (click here to see the Long Bill for the current fiscal year).  Once the Long Bill is approved, those budgets are set for the next fiscal year.  Occasionally, changes are made to a particular budget during the process of approving the Long Bill, but usually the legislature supports the recommendations of the JBC.

Overall, the Figure Setting process this year went very well for people with disabilities.  Here are some highlights from the Figure Setting meeting:

  • A 4.0 percent increase for the Developmental Disabilities Program (to restore cuts from previous years), including:
    • Adult Comprehensive Services
    • Adult Supported Living Services
    • Children's Extensive Support
    • Family Support Services
    • Case Management, and
    • Early Intervention Services
  • A 1.5 percent increase for the following items:
    • Preventative dental hygiene
    • Legal auxiliary services
    • General fund rehab programs, and
    • Independent living centers
  • The JBC approved the recommendation to add 765 new resources.
  • The JBC approved a recommendation to have their staff draft a bill to move I/DD services from CDHS to Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF, commonly pronounced ‘Hic-Puff).  This move is being recommended in order to streamline services, improve the interface with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and to minimize redundancy.  The recommendation includes the creation of an Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at HCPF, which we think would greatly improve the management of services for people with disabilities.
Click here to read the complete JBC Figure Setting Document, and stay tuned for an update next month regarding the passage of the Long Bill.

Monday, March 4, 2013

End the R-Word!

As many of you know, there is a national movement to end the use of the R-word, which is an important step towards ensuring that all people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are treated with dignity and respect.  Click here for a link to a blog entry from a member of a Self-Advocacy group, discussing why the R-word is so painful for him as a person with a Developmental Disability.

Coming up on March 6th is the National Spread the Word to End the Word Awareness Day.  Click here to access the full website for "R-Word," the organization promoting this event.  Innovations will be participating in this campaign all month long, and will be having a special event on March 27th from 1-3 at the Coal Creek Building (1665 Coal Creek Drive, Lafayette, CO).  We are encouraging all members of our network to create a poster or piece of artwork related to ending the R-word to share with others.  There will also be a banner for all to sign to show support for this important movement.

I would also encourage all of you to click here to sign the R-Word pledge to eliminate the R-word from your everyday speech, and to encourage others to do the same.