|Posted on June 23, 2020 at 11:20 AM||comments (9)|
Policy and Advocacy Summary and Update
The Arc of Iowa Advocacy Committee
June 24, 2020
In August 2019, I was excited to be asked to become The Arc of Iowa policy and advocacy liaison. My own personal journey involving my daughter, Katie, sealed that this was a match for my passion and the needs of 94,000 Iowans with intellectual and related developmental disabilities. I have been grateful for the opportunity! The overarching goal for this position is that, through the combined strength of Arc chapters, Arc members and like-minded partners the lives of individuals are adequately supported in the community.
In the months since then I share that there has never been a time quite like this – at least in my lifetime. In August it appeared that we were developing a plan for relationship building, broader awareness and potential new partners at the state legislature. COVID 19 knew nothing about “our” plan. In spite of a pandemic I feel proud of the progress we made.
Let me share the following timeline that supported our initial goals.
I will be spending the summer preparing a work agenda for the next session. Any thoughts are most welcome.
Scope of Work - What do we focus on?
Resources to Become Educated, Empowered and Engaged
Ways to Keep Advocacy Happening – new chapters expanded members (foot soldiers)
Nobody’s going to move that agenda for us. That’s why we must build independent and compelling advocacy. It’s up to us to engage and deliver One way to do that is by meeting with your elected officials, expanded opportunities for people with disabilities by reducing barriers, changing perceptions, and increasing participation in community life.
Collectively, Iowans with disabilities could make up one of the state’s largest blocs of influence; however, research shows that a lack of confidence, apathy and other barriers prevent that. Let’s break those barriers.
|Posted on January 6, 2020 at 9:15 AM||comments (9)|
First Report to The Arc of Iowa Network –
By Julie Beckett
Hello, although the legislative session is still just days away, as your policy/advocacy liaison, I want you to know we are already laying the foundation to work on the 2020 goals. The policy committee has designed a process to build relationships, uncover resources and implement partnerships that will produce positive outcomes. We intend to give you timely updates on the progress and develop a way to provide back and forth communication. This will help everyone to monitor and contribute to our success.
Step 1. Meetings are being sought with ranking members for the House Human Resources and Appropriations and the Senate Human Resources and Appropriations Committees. We feel that since The Arc has not had a strong legislative presence for several years it is important to renew old acquaintances and make new friends; and support The Arc membership in presenting their stories. It is time to rebuild our bond with those who make decisions on behalf of our families, children and young adults.
We have done outreach opportunities over the last few months and have followed up with several leads and suggestions presented to us by Senator Liz Mathis particularly in “social determinants of health.” We have looked at the crisis in Direct Care supports for our families and feel that the “Last Chance Education grants” might be useful to those people who are interested in the field but who cannot afford community colleges. This could be expanded to small private school supports. We also believe that the private non-profit world could and should be helpful to meeting this need for expansion. Several of our Arc chapters that provide services and many other service providers have long lists of individuals needing services but cannot hire people to fulfill the need. Can we establish a career path program that will attract entry level employees and give them help in establishing education and training programs? This would allow interested individuals to grow in their careers and increase their earnings as they progress through life. Is there a way to establish a non-profit organization to assist in a workforce development initiative that would help resolve this shortage situation in the future?
Step 2. Exploration - Is a way that volunteer labor could be utilized effectively to provide immediate relief? The service provider agency could supervise, train and manage the volunteers.
Step 3. We recognize the hourly reimbursement rate has not increased since the implementation of the MCO programs. This is a contributor to the worker shortage. There must be some way to review this and find economic solutions to help with this crisis. It is clear that Managed Care is not going away in our our state but are there ways that shortages can be addressed? It it possible to set up programs with the state for tax compensation and other creative ideas to help these agencies--- and the people who need care-- out.
Step 4. Finally, there is a great communication issue around the MCO’s. While there has been 4 companies in 3 years, we know that confusions, frustration and fear exist. We want to be planful. The Arc wants to set a format that delivers messages that prompt dialog and resolution. We want to help people present the facts, in a limited format that does not just place blame but finds solutions. When the HCBS waivers were first authorized 30 years ago, it happened through collaboration. Energy was spent on working together. We worked hard not to place blame that the government was ignorant or against people with disabilities. The intention was to educate and show how important this program was…and better yet help them to improve them. As a result, across America, every state successfully implemented programs for those with ID/DD diagnosis. We have had many gains and we will have more.
As I shared in the introduction, we must help our most vulnerable citizens to improve their lives and join in our communities-Direct Supports are critical. In the coming weeks, we will share AND ask for your inputs, stories and partnerships. The Arc is committed to be the BEST advocate for 94,000 Iowans by understanding current policy and creating new and improved ways to support individuals.
|Posted on November 14, 2019 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
Direct Support Professionals are the backbone of publically funded long-term supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. These professionals are integral to helping individuals with disabilities live successfully in the community, avoid more costly institutional care, and enable states to comply with the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the National Core Indicator's 2016 survey of 17 states, the average turnover rate for direct support professionals is 45 percent. This frequent churn of staff is highly disruptive to the development of skills critical to gain independence and access community living, compromises health and safety, and is increasingly impacting the ability of states and providers to serve people and families on waiting lists for services. This affects individual and family income, health and safety, and participation in society.
In order to cast a spotlight on the Direct Support Professional workforce shortage, which is a national public health crisis, ANCOR has written a report on its causes and potential solutions. Click here to access the full report and a summary.
|Posted on September 4, 2019 at 6:40 PM||comments (2)|
The Arc of Iowa Board of Directors and I would like to thank Liz Matney for taking the time to meet with us, listen to concerns over issues relating to the implementation of Managed Care and how it is affecting individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The Arc of Iowa is an advocacy organization that supports individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and we have been hearing that their are many challenges in the system from our local members.
In response to the article in the Bleeding Heartland Blog, we would like to re-state our impressions of the meeting. We did not feel that Liz or the Governor were claiming ignorance to the issues but that they have not been hearing from families that their needs are not being met by managed care. Since the meeting we released a statement outlining what was said at the meeting and recommending how you can improve the system if you are not getting results after working with your Managed Care Provider.
We have found Liz to be responsive and willing to assist individuals with disabilities, families and/or care providers in finding results. We stand behind our press release and advocate that individuals who are not getting results through regular manage care channels reach out to Liz, your local legislator and advocacy organizations to support you in accessing the services that you need.
You may read the contents of the story and our press release here.