Do you know people who are dedicated, loyal, and very hard-working who struggle to make ends meet because of what they get paid? Do you know anyone who has to work more than one job to care for his/her family? Do you know anyone who works full-time but still has to rely on community services, such as food stamps? Do you know anyone who can’t afford anything more than the most basic health care coverage and who worries every day about him/her or a family member getting sick?
Our answer to each of those questions is yes. As you continue reading, your answer will be yes as well. You will know some of them by name. Others you will know by their work. They are the people who make it possible for Resident Home, our partner agency Choices In Community Living and agencies like our across Ohio and the nation to serve our residents. They are our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs.) We would not and could not exist without them. They are the best advocates our residents have. Now is the time we can advocate for them.
Read the rest of this and other articles in our Home Address newsletter here.
For the first time since 2005 there has been an increase in the reimbursement rate for agencies providing services for people with developmental disabilities, including Choices In Community Living and Resident Home Association. The rate increase has been earmarked for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who provide direct care support.
Also included in the budget is an authorization to establish a ‘health home” system that may provide coordinated care for people with chronic conditions and developmental disabilities.
The Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA) played a pivotal advocacy role in lobbying for these and other provisions in the budget that will now have direct impact on the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities while benefitting our dedicated and professional direct care staff.
According to OPRA, the work is not yet finished! There was disappointment that the General Assembly has not yet acted on the extension of Medicaid to low wage workers, leaving employers to face daunting, even disastrous, increases in health care costs and further stranding 275,000 Ohioans without health care insurance. Many of these Ohioans are our own direct care employees. OPRA remains a leader in the state in working to get this done. The situation remains ‘a work in progress.’
Both Choices In Community Living and Resident Home Association are long-time OPRA members. Choices’ Executive Director Tom Weaver serves on the OPRA board. OPRA is the statewide lobbying organization for providers of residential services.