Beall: Developmental Disabilities System Stabilized But More Must be Done
SACRAMENTO – The Legislature’s approval of $300 million to shore up California’s system that provides services for people with developmentally disabilities was praised by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, a joint author of ABX2-1. But he cautioned more work needs to be done to protect the promise of the Lanterman Act.
“This was landmark legislation that stabilized funding for California’s developmentally disabled community. It’s been 15 years since the service network – from the care providers and regional centers – received a cost-of-living adjustment. It’s been long overdue,’’ Beall said.
“Today’s action is a good first step. But, the work is not over. Our next step is to restore, reinvigorate, and preserve the long-term stability of the service network. In the last three years, more than 435 community care homes have closed and many healthcare providers have dropped out of the network. There is much to be done’’
ABX2-1 makes a significant investment in the developmental disabilities system, which had suffered more than $1 billion in budget cuts since the recession. The developmental services system serves about 300,000 people who are among the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
The bill allocates $300 million in state general funds on a permanent on-going basis for community-based developmental services, four months ahead of the budget deadline. The state funds will also draw $200 million more in matching federal funds.
In addition, ABX2-1 relieves rural and critical access skilled nursing facilities that are associated with general acute care hospitals from repayment of a prior budget cut. It also provides new resources to improve access to the system for families that have historically been underserved, including families of color, the undocumented, and those who speak languages other than English.
The legislation funds a rate study and streamlines audit requirements for vendors working with the developmentally disabled community.
ABX2-1 bill’s principle author is Assemblymember Tony Thurmond , D-Richmond. The bill on a 40-0 in the Senate, after Beall presented the bill. It was then sent to the Assembly, which voted 77-0 for approval.