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April 17, 2013 - Special Edition

Open Line

2013 Legislative Session - The FY 2013-14 DIDD Budget
The Legislature is completing their work on the fiscal year 2013-2014 state budget and there are several budgetary actions that ultimately affect the people we serve.  While the budget reflects the times we live in, with limited resources requiring very tough choices by public policy makers, I am pleased that this budget includes many provisions that move the systems of support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities forward.
As you may already know, the budget proposed by Governor Haslam funds:

  • The Arlington lawsuit exit plan including growth of 191 people into services.
  • The natural growth of 96 people in the home and community based waiver program.
  • The Family Support Program at the FY2013 level of $7,383,600 fully with recurring money.
  • The temporary continuation of operations at the Clover Bottom Developmental Center through June 30, 2014.
  • The Accreditation contract at a cost of $194,000 ($106,700 in state funds; $87,300 in federal funds).

The budget also recognizes programmatic changes at the Harold Jordan Center to allow DIDD to collect some Medicaid funding for certain services.  In addition, this budget reduces 101 state positions in DIDD.
This past week, I have received additional news on the budget reflecting the support of our elected leaders for important services provided to the population we serve.

Governor Haslam’s amendment to the budget allows for the reappropriation of $12 million in capital funding to allow for construction of intensive behavioral residential homes, as well as behavioral respite homes.  This funding authority is important to DIDD especially when combined with two other big wins for the department over the last few months.  First, in January and at my urging, the State Building Commission changed state policy: reducing the time it takes to acquire real estate from an estimated 225 days to an estimated 90 days.  Second, in February the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) authorized a new service to be funded through the waiver programs called Intensive Behavioral Residential Services.

Finally, the Legislature appears on the verge of passing two funding provisions of significant interest to our community as well.  The budget very likely will include $2,000,000 of state funding, drawing $3,797,100 in federal funds, totaling $5,797,100 for a provider rate increase.  An amendment also very likely to be included in the budget will earmark $192,000 of Lottery funds to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) for the purpose of providing scholarships for postsecondary education to students with intellectual disabilities.  This budget amendment funds SB 36 / HB 21, the "Tennessee STEP UP" scholarship program bill, still pending before the General Assembly, that would put this program in general law.

Jim Henry