Public Hearings; Private Comments

January 05, 2021

The Regional Public Hearings on the Budget are scheduled for tomorrow:
  • Details are here, and
  • Sign-up to speak is here!
We have pared back our agenda to focus on only a couple of things; this Session, like the Special Session this summer, is likely to be pretty unmanageable for every one!  The strength that we bring to the messaging is passion and consistency – so we have narrowed our message to two things!

Messages to Legislators:
We are worried that if the minimum wage goes up to $11/hour in January 2022, we won’t be able to compete with others to recruit and retain staff.  We get paid by Medicaid and can’t raise our prices!
    • Background – The minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $9.50 on May 1st 2021, and then again to $11.00 on January 1st 2022. 
    • While we do not think the first increase will be difficult, and we do support the concept of better wages for our DSPs and frontline behavioral health staff, we think that $11.00 will be difficult to manage – competition will increase and wage compression will make the costs far exceed our rates.
We support many of the budget items delayed, because of COVID, until July 2021 that you agreed to last year! These are at the top of our list — complete the DD Waiver rate refresh, increase the Mental Health Provider rates, implement the Adult Dental benefit and increase the rates for Skilled and Private Duty Nursing.
    • Background – The items above were all included in the Biennial Budget passed last winter, but were postponed because of the uncertainty due to the pandemic. 
    • These, among others, were approved again for delayed implementation during the Special Session and are included in the Governor’s budget – we really need them to stay!
All of this is available here!  You can make the biggest impact by making a call this week to your local legislators – talk to their Aide, if the are not available – give them the messages above and make sure they know it is important to you and to your staff and families as constituents!