On Tuesday, July 16, the conference committee on House Bill 166 (FY 2020-21 State Budget) made its final recommendations to both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly. In addition to many other DD-related policy and funding provisions, the report recommended compromise language related to how county boards of DD must discuss 24/7 residential care facilities (Intermediate Care Facilities, or ICFs) with people with developmental disabilities and their family members.
OACB supports the compromise language recommended by the conference committee because it provides people and families with more information to make an informed choice on residential service options when those service options are being discussed. Specifically, the compromise language maintains the Senate’s requirement that county boards offer additional information on residential service options in several specific ways; however, it modifies the requirement to apply only when a person requests information about residential services, and not at any time a person contacts the board for any service.
Before the conference committee reached its compromise, county boards would have been required to notify families of 24/7 residential service options any time a person contacted the board regarding services of any kind. OACB opposed this requirement because it was overly broad and ignored the practical reality of DD service provision.
The compromise language maintains the House and Senate requirement that the Ohio Department of DD maintain a list of operational ICFs online, and that boards of DD will be required to link to that resource from their websites. Furthermore, it maintains a Senate provision requiring county boards to provide contact information for ICFs in the county (and contiguous counties) if a person or family member requests it. OACB does not oppose these requirements and will work with the Ohio Department of DD to ensure they are implemented in accordance with the law.
Additional guidance about the implementation of these new requirements will be prepared and distributed to members after the budget process officially concludes. Governor DeWine is expected to sign HB 166 this week.
OACB would like to sincerely thank the members of the Ohio General Assembly Conference Committee for their time and work on this issue and the advocates and county board professionals who reached out to their state lawmakers on this topic.
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