Dear Governor Brown,
I know that your budget revisions will be coming out later this week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that you’ve heard everything we’ve been saying. I’m hoping that you’ve understood the importance of restoring funding to the developmental service system; I’m hoping that I wasn’t wrong to vote for you. I’m hoping that you do care about people and that you understand that every person’s life matters and everyone has something to contribute.
I’m sure you’ve seen Senator Jim Beall’s letter. I hope you’ve taken it very seriously. He clearly explains the situation and the steps that need to be taken. Please listen to Senator Beall and the 62 other Senators and Assemblymembers who have signed this letter. Please support a 10% increase in the regional center operations and purchase of services budget.
Thank you so much for your consideration. Again, you can also read this at http://www.valeriesweekinreview.wordpress.com
VALERIE’S WEEK IN REVIEW
Friday, May 8, 2015
We spent a fair amount of time this week finishing up Valerie’s annual eligibility paperwork. For In-Home Operations (the nursing portion of her IHSS), I need to fill out a 13 page report twice a year, then get it to her primary doctor for his signature, pick it up when his office calls, and mail it off to Sacramento. Fortunately, there were no major roadblocks this time around and I was able to get everything in the mail by Wednesday. I also reviewed a draft of Val’s new IPP and spoke with her case manager about it.
Val had two small seizures this week – not big enough to keep her home, but reflecting a definite increase in seizure activity this last month and worth scheduling a neurology visit. I called for an appointment, left a message, then called again two days later when I hadn’t received a call back. Another message; I’ll call again on Monday. Valerie was able to go to her day program all week, but she slept through her Tuesday night dance and drama class, which is one of her favorite activities.
Later in the week we attended a rally to Save Our Services at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. Around 100 people participated, individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers. Our concerns – the same concerns I’ve been mentioning over and over – are inadequate rates for services, insufficient funding for regional centers, and the impact of this funding shortfall on the quality and availability of services.
We need 10% this year!
Service providers have been pushed to the edge. Where new programs once opened, long-serving ones now close or cut back on services, leaving fewer and less satisfactory choices for consumers. To be clear, 10% is only a band-aid. 10% will bring the system up to 1996 levels and hopefully will serve as a stopgap measure that will mitigate the damage long enough for real reform to occur.
Then, we need a 5% annual increase.
Real reform is complex and takes time, but the system is so far behind; inflation and the growing numbers of people needing services force us to keep moving forward. California’s service system needs the assurance of 5% annual increases while work is ongoing to prevent the temporary gains of the 10% increase from being eroded.
Finally, we need reform.
Most service provider rates have been frozen for well over a decade. Most salary levels in the “core staffing formula” used to create regional centers’ budgets haven’t been updated since 1991. Service provider rates and the core staffing formula must be reformed to guarantee that future funding levels are both adequate and sustainable.
As our good friend Liz Grigsby said at the rally: “We didn’t ask to be disabled, but since we are, we want to have a life just like everybody else. Please help us, Governor Brown, to maintain our independence and stay in our community”
*If you’d like to read Senator Beall’s letter, go here: