Connecticut residents with intellectual disabilities could start moving into new apartments and groups homes as early as July now that the state legislature has added $4 million in funding for such placements, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Developmental Services said. In approving a state budget Saturday, the General Assembly agreed to the new funding to move some clients off a waiting list for residential placements, Joan Barnish, the DDS spokeswoman, said. The legislature also added $600,000 to DDS’ budget for 2014-15 for more grants to provide support to families whose children or grandchildren have intellectual or developmental disabilities, she said. Each person’s individual needs will be assessed, so some could receive services soon while others might wait six months or more into the new fiscal year that begins in July 1, she said. The additional funding came as a relief to members of Our Families Can’t Wait, an advocacy group formed in the fall by parents and caregivers of DDS clients.
A bill requiring for-profit nursing homes that receive state funding to report their profits and losses from related businesses won legislative approval early Tuesday – a win for the union representing nursing home workers, which had the Malloy administration’s backing. The state Senate voted 24 to 11 to approve the bill, which also empowers a Nursing Home Financial Advisory Committee to examine quality of care, staffing levels and the financial solvency of nursing homes. The bill passed the House last week. The legislation requires nursing homes to disclose the financial status of any “related party” businesses that contract with the homes – such as associated companies that own the facility properties, or spinoff businesses that provide rehabilitation or management services. The original proposal required that the nursing homes report profits and losses for any related businesses that receive more than $10,000 a year, but that dollar amount was upped to $50,000 in the final proposal.
The state’s nursing homes call it excessive and intrusive. The Malloy administration calls it a move towards transparency. At issue is a proposed bill that would require nursing homes to disclose the financial status of any “related party” businesses that contract with the homes – such as associated companies that own the facility properties, or spinoff businesses that provide rehabilitation or management services. The bill would require that the nursing homes report profits and losses for any side businesses that receive more than $10,000 a year from them. The Malloy administration – backed by the union representing nursing home workers, New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 – has pushed the bill through legislative committees, touting it as a way to increase transparency in an industry marked by bankruptcies, takeovers and several high-profile scandals in recent years.
Debbie Hardy, a home health care aide, is the reason that Frank Geraldino, 48, a paraplegic, is able to live in his Seymour apartment – rather than in a nursing facility. Hardy, of Ansonia, is an independent worker providing in-home personal care services, such as bathing and feeding, for people with serious disability. Medicaid covers the bill, but the patients are technically the employers, hiring and scheduling their own in-home care. More than 6,000 personal care workers are listed on various registries as providing in-home care services. The lists include home health aides, who are trained and licensed as certified nursing assistants, and personal care assistants, who are not licensed.