In an opinion piece from 9/26/16, from a Montana news site Missoulian.com, Jesse Dunn and five other co-signers from non-profit organizations, make a case for the difficulties of providing quality services to people with developmental disabilities when funding has not kept pace with requirements for maintaining and improving care:
“The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services administers a variety of programs funded by state and federal appropriations to pay for the services provided by the nonprofit direct care providers. Sadly, the funding levels for disability services have lagged over the past decade and failed to meet the rising costs of providing essential services to this special population. Consequently, hiring and retaining qualified, experienced direct care providers has become a near crisis situation. Vacancies, high turnover rates and inadequately experienced care givers plague human service nonprofits, obstructing the mission to enhance our clients’ quality of life. Nonprofits need an adequate number of qualified staff to responsibly care for eligible individuals. Further, the laws regulating support services for people with disabilities mandate staff-to-client ratios to ensure safe and effective client care.
"However, those staffing challenges are getting worse as inflation, mandated government regulations and rising standards of care all keep driving up the cost of providing services. Those of us who belong to the Montana Association of Community Disability Services wish to highlight this issue on behalf of those with developmental and intellectual disabilities whom we serve. For us, it is unconscionable to watch our nonprofit agencies slip further behind and sacrifice quality care for those who are severely disabled. We believe we must educate the public and lawmakers to the plight of these nonprofit agencies that represent an otherwise voiceless community for whom we advocate.
"It is our wish that those who care about the quality of life and safety of individuals who experience disabilities will join us in calling for a review of the current funding mechanisms…
"The funding deficit is not limited to direct care staff but also, with such complex billing and reporting obligations that go along with state and federal programs, there is a crucial need for sophisticated financial management and internal controls. The level of expertise and experience needed to track, control, report and manage the range of different government-financed programs that fund the services nonprofits provide is expensive. Thus, we need adequate funding for both direct care services and for the required financial management and accountability that nonprofits seek.
"…Please join us in getting this message out on behalf of those who do not have a voice in the public policy process."
Well-said, Montana service providers!
Read the full article here...