A Note from Allison: Use Your Voter Voice

A Note from Allison: Use Your Voter Voice

Happy New Year!

I hope 2019 is off to a great start!

Things are off to a good start at New Hope! One of my main focuses this time of year is around the Indiana General Assembly. As some of you may know, I spent many years of my career at the Statehouse lobbying on a variety of healthcare-related issues. During my time there, I realized how much can really be done through grassroots efforts. It is no different for the disability community.

We have a very important legislative agenda to get passed this year, and we will not be able to do it without support from our friends, families and associates. Through New Hope’s trade association, INARF, and The Arc of Indiana, we are trying to get several pieces of legislation passed. The first is HB 1488 which includes recommendations from last year’s 1102 Task Force including:

  • Increasing the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) wage to, on average, $15 per hour (an increase from the current average of $11.21 per hour): This would require $40 million state dollars per year that would leverage another $80 million from the federal government.  This will be done through a 15% Medicaid waiver increase.
  • Creating a crisis management system for people with disabilities: This program would assist individuals and families during difficult times and contribute to improving the DSP workforce shortage by giving DSPs additional resources in a crisis situation.  The requested appropriation is $6 million per year that would leverage $12 million in federal funds.
  • A revision to the law regarding priority categories for Medicaid waivers that would allow for waivers at the discretion of the FSSA Secretary: This would hopefully allow more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to transition out of their family home.

There will also be efforts to better fund the First Steps program, the Vocational Services program and case management services.

To get any of these passed we are asking for your help through a new program sponsored by INARF called VoterVoice. VoterVoice is a grassroots advocacy program. Simply register online, and you will receive notifications and updates from the INARF staff when important bills are being heard. They will also provide pre-written emails that you can very easily customize (or not) and send to your legislator. It is important for our legislators to know how important these issues are to our families and friends. Our AIM group has begun learning about the legislative process as well with a visit to the State House to meet State Senator J.D. Ford (pictured). I thank you in advance for your support!

On a different topic, the New Hope board is going through a strategic planning process to determine its focus areas for the next three years. If you have something you would like us to consider as part of the strategic plan, please email me. I would love to hear from you!

Take care and stay warm this winter!


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