State Budget and Rate Increases for Service Providers
Governor Newsom’s Budget Brings Reimbursement Rate Increases for Service Providers
Direct Support Professionals and an estimated 407,634 developmentally disabled clients will benefit
In 2018, the California Department of Developmental Services conducted a rate study to assess the sustainability, quality, and transparency of community-based services for individuals in the intellectually and developmentally disabled (I/DD) community. Although a funding gap of $1.8 billion was identified, there were no significant actions taken until 2021 when the California Assembly and Senate Budget Committees proposed implementing the rate study recommendations over a four-year period. With Governor Newsom’s signature, it was signed into law with a rate increase effective April 1, 2022.
With the decision to implement comes an increase in reimbursement rates for Service Providers in California. This rate increase will help Service Providers become more viable as they are better able to cover the cost of doing business. Life Services Alternatives (LSA), a Campbell-based nonprofit providing housing and person-centered programs for adults with developmental disabilities, has firsthand experience maintaining a business in the most expensive county in the state. While LSA is committed to increasing the wages of its Direct Support Professionals (DSP), the organization must also work to cover ongoing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a persistent staffing shortage. These costs include overtime and the cost of working with outside staffing agencies, which is costing LSA tens of thousands of dollars a month to cover.
The wage increase that DSP’s will soon see is long overdue for these deserving individuals. Although DSP’s care for one of the most vulnerable and medically fragile populations, they have not been viewed as professionals that are worthy of a wage which reflects their work. Throughout the pandemic, DSP’s have prioritized the health and happiness of their clients while simultaneously putting themselves at risk while struggling to make ends meet. There has been no consideration for the fact that DSPs have critical skills necessary for quality care of adults with developmental disabilities. Professionalizing this field by increasing wages and training will improve the quality of care residents receive while also improving the quality of life for DSP’s.
The Regional Center system that reimburses Service Providers is something that exists solely in California. The Lanterman Act established this system to help coordinate services and provide necessary support for adults with developmental disabilities. While LSA and other Service Providers in California provide services for as many individuals as they can serve, critical shortages remain and hopefully the new rates will lead to additional services and capacity coming online. LSA encourages and supports other states to reflect on the systems they have in place and follow the lead of California to improve the quality of care for their developmentally disabled population.
Having empathy and understanding the needs of a population goes far beyond politics and LSA commends Governor Newsom and the CA Legislature for properly funding the I/DD community.
Life Services Alternatives is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide exceptional community living and programs for adults with developmental disabilities. Founded in 2002 by parents who dreamed of establishing homes for their adult children, LSA delivers quality residential services and nurturing programs to the I/DD community in Silicon Valley.
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