On Tuesday, the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities voted 5-1 to approve the transition of all the agency's adult program services to private providers, which will go into effect on July 1, 2018.
Stark DD said recent rules by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services directed agencies across the nation to no longer provide both case management and Medicaid waiver services, such adult day services, supported employment and adult transportation.
Agencies must comply with the new mandate by 2024, Stark DD said, but a task force recommended the Board speed up its timeline and complete the privatization of services in January of 2018 instead of 2024. That way, it has the opportunity to reduce the disruption caused by a time-consuming transition.
“We know this is a challenging transition and we heard loud and clear that the people we serve, their families and our employees want more time to make this move, so we agreed to extend the timeline” said Stark DD President Daniel Sutter. “We want to thank everyone who participated on our task force, in our focus groups and who came to our public hearings to share their input.”
The mandate will affect 609 people currently served at the Lester Higgins and West Stark Adult Centers. They will have two years to decide if they wish to saty at those facilities where The Workshops, Inc. currently provides adult programs, or to choose another private provider.
More than 160 employees who work for Stark DD adult services and transportation will also be affected by the change. TWi has showed interest in hiriing current employees based on need. A financial incentive package and possible sick time payout plan for employees was discussed.
“Our mission to connect individuals with disabilities and their families with the services they need will not change, and we intend to be there every step of the way to help everyone make this required transition go as smoothly as possible over the next two years," Sutter said. “We also sincerely thank our employees for their dedication and professionalism. Many of them have provided services for decades – they are enthusiastic and passionate about their work and about our mission. They’ve worked hard and they have earned and deserve our assistance with this transition.”