Alexandria, Va., July 15, 2013 — A coalition of 18 disability service providers in Northern Virginia have expressed concern that the level of funding being provided to transition individuals with significant disabilities from State operated training centers to community-based settings is inadequate to ensure safety and quality of services.
In response to a suit brought against the Commonwealth of Virginia by the U.S. Department of Justice alleging a lack of community options for persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities, the Commonwealth of Virginia negotiated an agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in which closure of four of five state training centers was stipulated. The agreement provides a plan to increase the amount of community services and transition individuals living in the training centers to community settings. The Commonwealth cites lower costs to serve people in the community. The coalition of providers disputes this assumption, noting that, although community care may ultimately cost less than the total state allocation, both capacity building and the transition period require adequate resources in order to move people safely into the community of their choice and within the schedule agreed to in the DOJ Settlement Agreement.
Bruce Patterson, Chief Operating Officer of ServiceSource, commented, “As community service providers, we are very concerned that the Commonwealth has not adequately addressed the issue of funding for the level of care that is needed for those transitioning into the community. In Northern Virginia families are being asked to chose from options that don’t exist or have their loved ones moved to another training center over 100 miles away. We support transitioning individuals into community-based settings, but this must be done in a way that doesn’t put quality of care at risk. To do that, comparable funding is needed to what is currently being provided by the state, not half. Families and caregivers are rightfully concerned.”
The coalition of providers has released a position paper detailing concerns about the implementation of the DOJ Settlement Agreement and provides recommendations as to how a safe, effective and timely transition could be accomplished.
The current Medicaid wait list in Virginia for individuals needing services is in excess of 6,000 people, nearly 4,000 of which are deemed urgent. Virginia ranks 47th among the 50 states and District of Columbia in terms of Medicaid funding to support its citizens with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Signatories to the paper include the following organizations:
The Arc of Greater Prince William/INSIGHT, Inc.
Chimes Inc., Virginia
Community Residences, Inc.
Community Systems, Inc.
Job Discovery Inc.
The Hartwood Foundation
L'Arche Greater Washington, D.C
Resources for Independence of Virginia, Inc.
St. Coletta of Greater Washington
St. John’s Community Services
Volunteers of America Chesapeake