On Tuesday, leaders from Ohio's DD support system and state legislature gathered at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to mark the inclusion of a direct support professional (DSP) wage increase in the recently passed state budget bill.
Spending approved in the budget will increase the statewide average DSP wage to $12.82 per hour starting in the second half of FY2020 and to $13.23 per hour starting in the second half of FY2021.
The is the first meaningful raise for DSPs since the previous Medicaid reimbursement rate was set in 2005. Stagnant wages have led to high turnover rates and a statewide shortage of DSPs, negatively affecting the lives of many people with developmental disabilities.
As organizations that continuously work to empower and support people with developmental disabilities throughout their lives, county boards of DD understood this workforce shortage to be one of the pressing issues impacting Ohio's DD system and the people and families it serves. As such, talks began early in this year's state budget process to craft a first-of-its-kind spending partnership.
"It represents a historic partnership between the State of Ohio and all 88 county boards of developmental disabilities," said Licking County Board of DD Superintendent Jason Umstot at Tuesday's event. "State funds make up a significant portion of the total increase over the next two years. However, the full impact of the rate increase would not have been possible if county boards had not stepped up to support the increased rate with local dollars."
The state's contribution to make the DSP wage increase possible will be $83 million over the next two years (and $54 million per year after that) for homemaker/personal care services. County boards will contribute $10.7 million in 2020-21 and $21.4 million per year going forward. The state will also provide roughly $20 million over the fiscal biennium for on site/on call services.
OACB is grateful for the passionate advocacy of our county board members, parents, families, and staff in addition to the advocacy of many system stakeholders. This increase would not have been possible without spending commitments from the state and county boards, legislative leadership from policymakers, implementation planning from providers, and support from disability advocates.This increase would not have been possible without spending commitments from the state and county boards, legislative leadership from policymakers, implementation planning from providers, and support from disability advocates. OACB would also like to thank Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for prioritizing this and other DD issues in his as-introduced state budget bill.
From left: Jan Dougherty, mother and advocate; Pete Moore, CEO/President, Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA); Hon. Larry Obhof, President, Ohio Senate; Jason Umstot, Superintendent, Licking County Board of DD; Hon. Larry Householder, Speaker, Ohio House of Representatives; Hon. Scott Lipps, Representative, Ohio 62nd House District (Warren County); Hon. Brigid Kelly, Representative, Ohio 31st House District (Hamilton County)
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