Going into the 2023 legislative session, ARRM had an ambitious legislative agenda. Six separate pieces of legislation were introduced, dealing with a variety of issues from sustainable rate adjustments for waiver and ICF/DD services to licensing changes, service delivery modifications, and recruitment and retention grants; all with the common goal to make a positive impact on the workforce crisis we are facing within disability services.
I am happy to share that while not all our priorities made it across the finish line this session, many important funding and policy provisions were included in the final Human Service Conference Committee report.
ARRM staff are working on a full analysis of the bill and will get that out to members soon, but we wanted to start the weekend by sharing some really positive news, highlighting some of the pieces of ARRM’s legislative agenda that were passed and will soon become law.
Disability Waiver Rate System Changes: The legislature invests an additional $87 million in the first biennium (24/25) and an additional $225 million in the second biennium (26/27) in new spending within the Disability Waiver Rate System. Specifics include moving the next inflationary adjustment that was scheduled for November 2024 up to January 2024, moving the inflationary adjustment that was scheduled for July 2026 up to January 2026, and every two years after that. The legislature also changes the data used for the adjustments, using one-year newer data and increases the Competitive Workforce Factor by 2%, changing it to 6.7%. ARRM is currently working on putting together our estimates on what this means for you in terms of percentage and will share that data with members soon!
ICF/DDs Rate Adjustments: ICF/DDs will also see an adjustment to their rates. Both Class A and Class B facilities will have their daily operating payment increased by $40 per day. In addition to this increase, a new rate floor of $275 for Class A and $316 for Class B has been established and beginning January 1, 2025, and annually after that, rates will be updated based on CPI data.
Workforce Recruitment and Retention Bonuses: The final bill creates a “Long-Term Services and Supports Workforce Incentive Grants” fund and allocates $90 million in one-time dollars to this fund. We still need to get details from the Department on the process and criteria providers need to follow to request money from this fund, but dollars can be used for such things as recruitment and retention bonuses, money to cover childcare or transportation expenses, or other ideas to recruit and retain staff.
I am also happy to share that two items that have been on ARRM’s legislative agenda for multiple years have made it over the finish line this session.
- The legislature has granted approval to remove Unit-Based Respite from DWRS, making the service a market-rate service. Operating as a market rate service is how Daily Respite rates are currently established and we are happy to see Unit Based Respite follow the same path.
- Second, we are happy that after two years of discussion with the Department and work with the legislature, the need for a separate license or variance for Alternative Overnight Supervision with Technology will be going away.
ARRM had other priorities that we brought forward this session that did not make it over the finish line and we are already talking about how those can be reworked and reframed for next session. For now, however, we want to take a moment to celebrate the victories we have, thank our legislative team, and thank every member who took time out of their busy schedules to lend their expertise, testify at hearings, participate in meetings, respond to action alerts, come to the Capitol and help make this session a success for ARRM.
--Sue Schettle, CEO