The House & Senate conference committee for the FY 2013 budget have held four rounds of negotiations thus far. Next round is scheduled for 1:30 this afternoon.

Senate negotiators (Carolyn McGinn, John Vratil & Laura Kelly) have held firm on two items that are crucial to the disability community. Please take a moment and email them our thanks and encouragement for their continued support.

The 2 issues at stake currently are:

  1. Add $1.2M (All Funds) to the Home and Community Based Services/Physically Disabled waiver to fund an additional 60 individuals to meet maintenance of effort requirements for the Affordable Care Act.
  2. Add $350,000 (State General Funds) for grant funding of Centers for Independent Living

House negotiators (Marc Rhoades, Kasha Kelley, & Bill Feuerborn) do not appear willing to fund either of these items. Please take a moment and email each of these folks. You can use the KACIL Legislative Handout for talking points.

We need to make sure they understand:

  • The importance of HCBS in maintaining dignity and independence, as well as it being a fiscally sound service delivery method.
  • The vital role that Centers for Independent Living serve in the Kansas disability community.
  • The toll that budget cuts have taken already on CILs and HCBS. (For example, downsizing staff and programs, waiting lists)


The Legislative Session has passed the halfway mark and our advocacy efforts are ramping up. There are so many big concerns for the disability community this time around and it is imperative that we get input to the Administration, the Legislators, and to our communities from Kansans with disabilities.

The Resource Center for Independent Living, is working to get as many consumer stories, pictures, and videos as possible. We are trying to find innovative ways to make a visible stand for the needs of the disability community.

Yesterday, we released a video regarding allegations from members of the Legislature that Centers for Independent Living are full of fraud. We know that isn’t the case so we wanted to create a way to simply share a powerful message, Centers for Independent Living are not Fraud. Check it out if you haven’t seen it. So, what can you do?

If you are a member of the Kansas disability community, this includes families and loved ones of persons with a disability and those who work or advocate within this community, we need to hear from you! There are a couple of different ways to share your story.

  1. Submit a digital photo of yourself holding the “I’m Not Fraud” sign – You must print off the sign and the Photo Release form we need to use your photo. Take the picture, fill out the form, and scan/email it to Summer Ludwig.
  2. Have someone video a short, 2-3 minute clip of your story and upload it to YouTube and send us the link or send us the video and the Photo Release and we can upload it to our page.
  3. Contact your local RCIL office or email Summer Ludwig and let us know that you would like our assistance in getting either your photo, video or both! We will have someone come to you.

If you decide to make a video the following are some ideas of questions to have someone ask you and you answer or topics you can just talk about. These are just suggestions, you can use them or not use them, the important thing is getting YOUR voice to the Administration and the Legislators.

Script ideas/questions for people on the Waiting List
  1. How long have you been waiting?
  2. Please describe your disability/situation.
  3. How is your life impacted by not receiving services?
  4. What types of assistance do you need?
  5. You are eligible to enter a NF, is that an option for you? Why/Why not?
  6. What would you like to say to your Legislators?
Script ideas/questions for people receiving services
  1. Please describe your disability/situation.
  2. What type of assistance do you receive in your home?
  3. What would your life be like without these services?
  4. Have you used CIL services other than HCBS? If so, how did this help you?
  5. What would you like to say to your Legislators?

For other ways to Advocate make sure you check out our Advocacy page.

It is imperative that the disability community contacts each member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. A complete list of names and contact information is available here.

They will begin debating the budget in sub-committees on March 8th. As they are working on budget issues we need to make sure they know the importance of funding the Home and Community Based services Physically Disabled waiting list and to restore the Financial Management Services(FMS) rate back to $140.

Shannon Jones assembled the following handouts to use in making your contacts with the Legislators.

Some of the talking points for funding the waiting list are:

  • As of February 1, 2012 there are 3,433 persons waiting for HCBS/PD services.
  • 30 persons died while waiting during the month of Jan. 2012
  • 10 persons entered a nursing facility during the month of Jan. 2012.
  • The last person offered PD Services had been waiting for 3 years!
  • Since 2010, 1,200 persons have come off of the PD Waiver, yet no one is coming off the waiting list.
  • Approximately $33 million (State funds) would fund HCBS waiver services for those waiting.

Some of the talking points for increasing the FMS rate are:

  • Last fall, Providers were notified of the $115 reduced rate with no justification and no opportunity for discussion.
  • Providers are asking for a fair rate for services delivered.
  • CILs anticipate additional layoffs associated with the FMS, which will amount to roughly a 25% reduction in agency staffing, the majority of which are people with disabilities.

Once you have made contact with each Legislator on the House Social Services Budget Committee, please email me any responses that you receive so we can track and amend our message as needed.

 

With the new year comes a new Legislative session in Kansas. The 2012 Session starts on Monday January 9th at 2:00pm and promises to be a busy one.

The disability community will be closely watching as the Administration and the Legislature take on huge items including an expected Executive Order re-organizing SRS, the Medicaid overhaul into a managed care system, an anticipated move to do away with income tax, Education finance reform, and KPERS reform.

The Resource Center for Independent Living will be working to make sure our consumers and community partners stay updated on the goings on within the Statehouse. We’ll utilize this blog, our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as our existing NetPals email service.

Something new that we plan on introducing this session are video updates from the Statehouse from our advocates on the front lines, our consumers giving testimony, and others. These will be posted to our YouTube stream as well as on our blog and other social media outlets.

2012 will be a year of big changes for the disability community in Kansas and for the State as a whole. Join us in getting our updates and information out to our friends, families, Legislators, and community partners.

Let us know if you would like to share your story with your Legislators or the media. We are looking for individuals who utilize services or who are on waiting lists for services, people who are working or who are struggling to find employment. Contact us today and share your voice.