Budget Agreement Fails to Boost Payments for Services Provided to People With Developmental Disabilities
Californians with developmental disabilities, such as autism and cerebral palsy, are eligible for a range of supports and services under state law. Nearly all of these Californians – roughly 280,000 – live in their own communities, rather than in state-operated institutions, and receive services coordinated by 21 Regional Centers throughout the state. Payment rates for a wide array of such services have not been increased since 2006. Providers and advocates argue that this rate freeze, along with various policy changes, has reduced both the availability and quality of community-based services and supports that people with disabilities need in order to thrive. The Legislature’s initial version of the 2015-16 budget package would have increased these rates by up to 5 percent, with some increases taking effect on July 1, 2015, and others on January 1, 2016. However, the budget agreement reached with the Governor deleted these provisions. One of the goals of the special legislative session on funding options for certain health and human services programs (see page 14) is to identify ongoing revenues to support a payment rate increase for services provided to Californians with developmental disabilities.