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Budget Update

OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
Developmental Disabilities Services Division
P.O. Box 25352
Oklahoma City, OK  73125
(405) 521-3571 

April 30, 2010

Dear Provider:

I want to bring you up to date on the latest budget discussions affecting the services of the Developmental Disabilities Services Division. Although nothing will be certain until we have an appropriation from the legislature, our current reduction target for FY-2011 is $24 million state dollars. This equals a total budget reduction of $72 million when the lost federal match is included. 

The impact of a reduction of this magnitude will result in most of our service programs being unsustainable. Community service rates in the home and community-based programs could experience reductions as high as 14.5%. State funded vocational programs could be eliminated since funding cuts would not cost any federal dollars.  However, individuals living in their own homes or group homes could well be left homeless.  For DDSD, an FTE (Full-time Equivalent) reduction of 27% (474 positions) in addition to the already announced furloughs could be expected. 

As you know, our services are very interrelated. A reduction in vocational services directly increases the cost of residential services since people stay home.  However, the rate for traditional group homes is based on people being out of the home for the work day. The pressure on community service providers to maintain services irrespective of the negative cash flow is extreme. Even the waiting list is affected. There are more than 500 people on the waiver request list who receive state-funded vocational services, and another 100 who receive state-funded group home or assisted living services. 

Time is short, and I do not have a clear picture of where we will be once the legislature adjourns. Because of this, we have reissued our FY-11 service contracts at the FY-10 amount so there will be no delay in claims processing. The FY-11 amounts will change once our appropriation level is certain.

We should prepare ourselves to adjust to a radically different world over the next few years. I appreciate your help to increase the awareness of legislators and the media of the potentially devastating impact of these reductions to service recipients, their families, and the people who serve them.

Sincerely yours,

James M. Nicholson, Director
Developmental Disabilities Services Division

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