Q&A: The Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities Tells Their Story
As you are probably aware, the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities has been preparing for some big changes that are effective in July 2016. While people are aware that changes are being made, most probably don’t know exactly what the changes are or what these changes mean. We’re here to answer the questions you may have and to make sure you understand that the services we provide are not going anywhere.
Why are we making a transition?
In 2015, the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities began a transition process that will be complete on July 1, 2016. This was a very long and difficult journey in response to a 2014 federal mandate. The mandate dictated that all County Boards of Developmental Disabilities must separate their administration from their direct services or risk losing federal financial support. This support is critical to hundreds of individuals and families in Allen County.
What does it mean to separate the administration from our direct services?
Our agency is made up of many parts that serve nearly 1000 people in the Lima and Allen County communities. There is Marimor School and Marimor Industries, which both include transportation. These are the more well-known programs because they provide “direct student and adult services”. However, the biggest service we provide is case management, called Service and Support Administration (SSA) and service coordination through Early Intervention and Help Me Grow.
Nearly 600 individuals have a case manager (SSA). Nearly 450 individuals are enrolled on a Medicaid waiver to help them access much needed day and residential supports. So therein lies the “conflict”. The federal government has said we cannot be both the case managers and the provider of services for adults at Marimor Industries. Marimor Industries must become a private entity as are all other DD service providers in Allen County (For example, CRSI, RMS, IHS, Benchmark HS, Goodwill Easter Seals & Bittersweet- just to name a few).
What most people may not know is that the Allen County Board of DD coordinates the services, monitors the services, and ultimately pays for approximately 40% of all the services at Marimor Industries and all the other DD service providers in our community. The Allen County Board of DD is responsible for funding and supporting many programs in Allen County. We are much more than what you see on Ada Rd! By law, we have to ensure the individuals we serve have “free choice” of any provider they want for their residential, community, employment and day program needs.
What services do we coordinate and monitor?
The Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities coordinates and monitors all providers of service for people with developmental disabilities. We fund private providers of day services, vocational support, and transportation. We also fund a number of private providers of residential and community services.
Additionally, the ACBDD provides Early Intervention services and Help Me Grow for children from birth to age three. The services of a Developmental Specialist, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist and PLAY Project Coordinator are available for each child based on need. The ACBDD also operates Marimor School, which serves children/youth who have significant medical, or behavioral needs.
What community/waiver providers do we currently partner with for services?
- Benchmark Human Services
- Bittersweet, Inc. (Betty’s Farm)
- Capabilities, Inc.
- Excursions Unlimited
- Friends of Leroy Brown/Innovative Opportunities
- Goodwill Easter Seals of Miami Valley
- Marimor Industries, Inc.
- RMS of Ohio
- Strive @ CRSI
- We Can Too, LLC
- Allen County RTA
- Caliber One Residential Services
- Champaign Residential Services
- IHS Services
- MPA Services
- Ottawa Valley Center
What do local tax dollars support?
Funding for our community waiver/providers is approximately 40% local dollars and 60% federal dollars. We also pay for services for individuals who are not enrolled on Medicaid waivers. Local dollars also support the staff who monitor the quality of services delivered by all providers, develop the plan of support for each person, and ensure the health and welfare of all people with developmental disabilities.
One other thing to note, is that when we operated Marimor Industries, Inc as part of our Adult Services division and we operated our own Transportation Services, we also received all the federal dollars for the services we provided. With this change, we will no longer receive any revenue for these services but will have to pay the approximately 40% match on all services.
So what does all of this mean?
First, Marimor Industries board, which formed in 1969 and has always employed the individuals with developmental disabilities, was willing to expand their focus to become a private service provider and now employ all the staff who provide the services. The staff at Marimor Industries has worked very hard to get ready for this change, including planning for the provision of private transportation with vans instead of school buses. Marimor Industries will still be located in the same building it is now and to the outside observer changes will not be noticeable.
Second, the Allen County Board of DD will continue to be as busy as ever. We will work hard to ensure quality, safe, person-centered services are available in our county. Marimor School will continue to educate children who need extensive medical care or who need intensive behavioral supports. Early Intervention will continue to provide in-home supports and therapies for families of more than 100 children age birth to 3 who are referred due to developmental delays or are at risk of delays. Help Me Grow is a grant program that will continue to be administered by our board. This program provides a vast array of birth to age 3 services also. The case managers (SSAs) will continue to coordinate services for more than 600 individuals, age 3 through the end of life. This includes monitoring services in local group homes and supported living type services. We will continue to investigate abuse, neglect and exploitation. We will support our children in public schools and their families as they request.
This has not been an easy transition for our nearly 200 employees. Job loss, job changes and wage redistributions are never easy. However, we strongly believe “our story” is being written by some of the best, most dedicated DD staff in the state. Please come visit us; see what we do. Tell us your story. Our promise is that we will continue to tell the story of the individuals and families we serve with support of some of the best service providers in Ohio.
We are always happy to answer your questions.
Contact us at: www.acbdd.org