My blogging over the past year has been dominated by three important issues: 1) DDS’ development of policies on housing and contributions by people to the cost of their supported-living care; 2) expiration of Georgetown’s contract under the DDA Health Initiative; and 3) consideration by the D.C. council of bill B 23-0214 on DSP salaries. As the year comes to an end, none of these have reached full resolution.
With respect to the housing-related policies (see https://www.ddinwdc.com/2019/01/time-to-do-right-thing-on-housing-choice.html), Liz Seaton (firstname.lastname@example.org) is in the process of updating them, after a delay while the new DDS complaint system was completed (https://dds.dc.gov/publication/dda-formal-complaint-system). The DDS complaint system was mandated under the Disability Services Reform Amendment Act of 2018 (https://code.dccouncil.us/dc/council/laws/22-93.html), and many advocates felt it was important for the complaint system to take effect before far-reaching changes affecting supported living were implemented. The complaint system goes online on January 1, and this means that revised housing-related policies will likely roll out soon in the Monday afternoon DDS meetings on the I/DD waiver. (See https://www.ddinwdc.com/p/blog-page.html for terms that may be unfamiliar to you in my blog posts.) As for the policy limiting intake for residential supports to those in emergency situations (https://www.ddinwdc.com/2019/06/dds-lets-talk-about-where-youre-headed.html), no doubt this also will be re-emerging in the new year.
In spite of a great deal of advocacy, media and D.C. council attention (https://www.ddinwdc.com/2019/07/dc-government-please-dont-stonewall-on.html), Georgetown’s contract under the DDA Health Initiative contract was allowed to expire at the end of August. The D.C. council’s human services committee chair, Brianne Nadeau, requested weekly reports from DDS with respect to people who had been benefiting from Georgetown’s services, and no doubt we will hear more about this at the time of the DDS performance review on February 7, which kicks off consideration of the FY 2021 budget. However, even though the contract itself was terminated, the dialogue around it has given new impetus to plans for a broad-ranging visioning process on the needs of the entire community of people with developmental disabilities in D.C., across the lifespan. The DD council, which I currently chair, will be in the thick of this effort, so I’ll be writing more about this and you’ll also be able to find information about it on the DD Council website (https://ddc.dc.gov/).
As for B23-0214 (https://www.ddinwdc.com/2019/06/a-fair-deal-for-direct-support.html), the legislation has passed in both the human services and health committees, and is expected to move on to the council’s committee of the whole in January. Since the bill will have budgetary implications if it passes, though, the D.C. council is hoping for the Bowser administration’s cooperation as budget season approaches.
I’ll be watching these and other important initiatives in the new year, which promises to be important nationally as well! Like many of you, I’ll have my eye on the upcoming AAPD-sponsored presidential forum on January 13 (https://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/2020-presidential-forum-on-disability-issues/ and https://www.ddinwdc.com/2019/11/make-difference-in-presidential-election.html). I hope that a local watch party will be arranged, and I’ll post it here if so. Happy New Year!