Tuesday, February 22, 2022

DC Council Performance Hearings and Changes at Quality Trust

DC is moving into budget season (fiscal year 2023), and throughout this month there are performance reviews in the DC council on various government agencies.  On February 10 the Committee on Human Services held its performance review hearing on the Department on Disability Services and the Office of Disability Rights.  The video of that hearing can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=460507378994455.  Testimony by DDS director Andy Reese, followed by Q and As, starts about 2 hours and 45 minutes into the video.  (Note:  You’ll hear me discuss customized employment, the need for DDS and providers to adapt to changing demographics and soon-to-change eligibility requirements, and discriminatory Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortly before, at 2 hours 22 minutes.)  Tomorrow, February 23, is the performance review for the Department of Health (DC Health), where, among other topics, you’ll hear more about the impact of discriminatory quarantine requirements for people with disabilities (https://dccouncil.us/event/performance-oversight-hearing-committee-on-health-13/).  The Committee on Health will also soon hold its performance review of the powerful Department of Health Care Finance, which oversees Medicaid-related issues including waivers affecting people with disabilities.

Besides performance reviews, the DC council is scheduled to hold its second and final reading of B24-0268, the Developmental Disability Eligibility Reform Amendment Act, on March 1.  As I mentioned in my most recent post, https://www.ddinwdc.com/2022/02/an-eventful-week-on-dc-disability-front.html, at the bill’s first reading the DC council vote was unanimous in favor, so this bill looks certain to pass the council.  But again, there are further steps before the bill becomes law, so keep an eye on this:  https://lims.dccouncil.us/Legislation/B24-0268.

On a different subject – I rotated off the board of the Quality Trust (https://www.dcqualitytrust.org/) at the end of December, but I still keep a close eye on developments there.  In that regard, it was wonderful to see QT’s newly arrived legal director, Sam Crane, last week, as she replaces the irreplaceable (!) Morgan Whitlatch.  Another big change in the offing will be the arrival of CEO Tina Campanella’s replacement, Shawn Ullman (https://www.dcqualitytrust.org/our-blog/).  As founding CEO, Tina will be sorely missed.  Still, QT will be in good hands and continue its essential work in our community!

Sunday, February 6, 2022


[An earlier version of this post had errors with respect to the second reading of the DDERA, now corrected below.  Although I had checked with the DC council before posting on February 6, the timing was later clarified.  Also, DDS performance review responses are now available, so I’ve included that link in this revised post.]

The coming weeks will be important ones for those of us involved in disability advocacy:

 -          First, on February 10 at 9:00 am, DDS will have its performance review hearing (along with the Office on Disability Rights) before the Committee on Human Services. DDS’ answers to the committee’s advance questions can be found here: https://dccouncil.us/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/DDS-FY-2022-POH-Pre-Hearing-Responses-Combined.pdf. Questions?  Contact the committee at humanservices@dccouncil.us.

-         -        Second, the Developmental Disability Eligibility Reform Amendment Act of 2021 (B24-0268) had its first reading in the full DC council this past week – AND THE COUNCIL’S FIRST VOTE ON THE BILL WAS UNANIMOUS!  The second reading, and final DC council vote, is scheduled for a legislative meeting on March 1, or possibly sooner.  After so much effort from the entire community (Congratulate yourself!), THIS IS PHENOMENAL!  But there are further steps after the council’s final vote before the bill can become law – see https://dccouncil.us/how-a-bill-becomes-a-law/ - and you can follow its further progress here:  https://lims.dccouncil.us/Legislation/B24-0268.

What an important next few weeks this will be!