MEDINA — Changes are on the way for the state’s 88 county boards of developmental disabilities, and the local board is finalizing its transformation plan to meet mandate deadlines — in 2020 and 2024.
Toward that end, the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities is exploring creating a nonprofit to provide a local resource that would maintain the level of services provided by the board and provide the best possible transition for its 1,250 individuals, board spokeswoman Patti Hetkey said.
The biggest benefit of a nonprofit, Hetkey said, would be to fill in gaps in services that either don’t exist or might not be there in the future, including:
- Community employment. It’s a huge part of what the board does, because 45 percent of its individuals are employed in the county. It’s not always profitable for private providers to employ board clients, and the nonprofit might be able to help with employment.
- Respite care. If an individual is cared for by a family and that family temporarily goes out of town, a place is needed for the individual to be cared for.
- Transportation. There always seems to be a shortage of finding rides for all the clients. Their employment depends on them getting to work.
County boards are being encouraged by the state to create nonprofits, Annette Davis-Kramp, superintendent of the local board, told county commissioners Tuesday.
“One of the jobs the state has given county boards to do is help facilitate private providers so there are enough options for individuals to choose adult providers and transportation since we have to cut down by 2020 to less than 30 percent,” she said.
By 2020, according to state and federal mandates, all county boards of developmental disabilities in Ohio can provide direct services to only 30 percent of individuals on Medicaid waivers.
By 2024, the boards no longer may provide direct service to any individual on a waiver. All services must continue to be funded by the county board but can only be provided by a private provider and must be in community integrated settings.
“A lot of (our) individuals don’t want to leave the premises. In a way to transition individuals to outside entities, we are going to facilitate a nonprofit. We are currently in development of a plan. We have brought in a consultant from New York to help us do a transformation plan, which includes starting a new non-profit. It will be housed at the agency for the time being until it’s fiscally viable to get out in the community on its own. That is our plan.”
The board has hired a New York consultant, Charles Arndt, of Public Policy Impact with People with Disabilities, Hetkey said.
Davis-Kramp said she made a promise to the parents to move as slowly as possible with the transition to outside providers.
“I’ve tried to keep my promise and I’ve done that,” she said. “They don’t want it, No. 1. Individuals with autism, specifically, are known to hate transition, conflict or any change. The slower we can move to assist these individuals, then they can make a good, informed choice.”
The board is being forced to reinvent, reshape and reinvest itself to meet individuals’ needs, according to mcbdd.org. The board has a commitment to help individuals and families find, fund and connect to the services they need.
Hetkey noted rumors of the Achievement Center closing are false.
“There’s a lot of anxiety in time of change,” she said.
“The Medina County board is not closing,” Davis-Kramp said. “As a matter of fact, it’s just the opposite. We are increasing more than decreasing.”
The board has experienced an 11-percent growth in individuals needing support since 2015, Hetkey said.
The board will host an informational open forum 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 to address state and federal mandates for changes in the developmental disabilities system in Ohio.
The forum will be at the Achievement Center, 4691 Windfall Road, Granger Township.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.