The Resource Exchange
Legislative Town Hall on Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
Wednesday, November 15 – 6:45 pm
Chapel Hills Mall Event Center
(Located on the lower level across from Dick’s Sporting Goods)
Do you have a question or issue you’d like to submit for discussion with our legislators? Below are issues and impacts that may be of interest to you.
Click HERE to send your comments by Friday, November 10.
ISSUES AND IMPACT TOPICS OF POSSIBLE INTEREST
Rates for services for Coloradans with IDD in fiscal year 2018 were increased by 1.402%. This contrasts with Denver-Boulder-Greeley inflation forecast at 2.7%.
Impact: Loss of providers, who can’t afford to provide service (e.g., homemaker services, respite). Diminished system capacity—at once serving more Coloradans than ever before, while losing critical capacity. Fewer choices of providers. Greater difficulty in finding/maintaining services.
Transition from Early Intervention (EI) services, which end at age 3, to school is difficult, as families who have received EI as an entitlement bridge supports until enrollment in kindergarten under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Impact: Discontinuity/interruption in services and loss of trusted therapists and support staff. Transition to new system (Part B—the school special education system), with different language, different priorities.
Transition at high school graduation. Young adults with IDD graduate from special education, generally at age 21. Colloquially referred to as ‘the cliff’ or ‘the black hole’, the funds that have accompanied them/paid for their services during school years ends, literally overnight.
Impact: Discontinuity/interruption in services at a critical transition to adulthood. Chronic unemployment rates of 70-80%. Skills learned in school ‘atrophy’ while young adults wait on waiting lists for service/support. Economic impact on families.
Unemployment among working age adults with IDD has hovered at or near 80% since the advent of Supported Employment in the 1980s. In Colorado, FEWER THAN 10% of adults with IDD are in individual (non-enclave or ‘clustered’) jobs. There is little to no discussion with people with IDD about a career—getting a job is a transaction; building a career is a relationship with the future and a journey to independence.
Impact: Greater reliance on public benefits, versus the sense of connection and purpose that comes with a career. Economic impact—a two income household in which a young adult with IDD is living becomes a one-income household. Social impact—strain on family systems, less integration of people with IDD into community.
Coloradans with IDD are living longer. There are more than 9,000 Coloradans with IDD living with caregivers (most often parents) who are themselves aged 60 years or older. We estimate that about 1100 individuals with IDD in the Pikes Peak Region in this situation.
Impact: Caregivers are desperate to make alternative living arrangements for their loved ones; however, the waitlist for residential services remains long, with waits that can extend to 10 years. No meaningful system investments are being discussed or made to address these imminent transitions. When these people need services, the system cannot, in current form, accommodate, leading to homelessness and/or more expensive services in less impactful systems (e.g., nursing homes)
Direct Service Professionals—the workforce. Persistently low pay rates, along with increased demand for caregivers to negatively impact continuity and quality of care for our most vulnerable citizens. In Colorado, the average wage in 2016 for full time direct support professionals serving people with IDD was $11.30/hour, approximately 200% of Federal poverty guidelines.
Impact: Chronically high turnover rates, leading to critical interruptions in continuity of services.
Access to culturally competent healthcare. While there has been progress in breaking down barriers to healthcare, health status of people with IDD remains poor when compared to people without IDD. Financing systems, lack of formal training for physicians and other healthcare professionals, and longstanding biases continue to make accessing healthcare difficult.
Impact. People with IDD use high-cost emergency departments at a much greater frequency than their peers without IDD. People with IDD experience disproportionally high rates of obesity and related hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes—all treatable. These chronic conditions drive costs.
Transportation. There continues to be significant challenges to accessing affordable public transportation in/around Colorado Springs. While public transit service has been largely restored to pre-2010 cuts levels, there remains public transit ‘deserts’.
Impact. People with IDD lack the ability to access healthcare, basic community services (from recreation to grocery stores), and to jobs.