From the Superintendent - August 2015 - Aug 31, 2015

Posted by: hamiltonddsadmin

In our ongoing desire to share relevant information, we recently asked people served and their families to tell us about any concerns or questions they have regarding our present or future. Here’s what we heard:

  1. Do you know the fate of the developmental centers? Several people from Hamilton County are very happy living there.
  2. Will people with multiple disabilities be able to find a job with an employer who will take the time to understand and work with them so that they are kept safe?
  3. If my grandson works, he will make too much money and lose Medicaid. Medicaid is the only thing that has kept him healthy. It’s given him health care he wouldn’t otherwise have.
  4. What is the plan for a student who is on a waiting list and deemed ineligible for competitive employment?

I will answer the first question and have asked members of our management team to answer the other three.

  1. Developmental Centers

The Ohio Department of DD (DODD) oversees several developmental centers throughout the state for people with disabilities whose needs cannot be currently met in their own homes or communities. At this time, DODD is planning to close the Montgomery and Youngstown centers by July 2017, not the Southwest Ohio Developmental Center in Batavia.

More Information about the future of these centers is available on the DODD website. DODD also has a Budget and Developmental Center Closure toll-free hotline for families to call with questions and concerns: 855-611-6446.

 2.       Employment First and people with multiple disabilities

Answered by Matt Briner, Director, Office of Integrated Services

If someone wants to work, we will do everything possible to support them and to ensure successful employment. The person served and their team, which includes family and others who support that person, will determine what work situation will best fit their needs. Our staff will also work with the employer to make sure proper supports are in place for the person’s health and safety.

Under Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Employment First Initiative, which was passed in 2012, we must discuss with every person served who is of working age where they are on the path to employment. Having this discussion, which occurs at each person’s My Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting, does not mean that the person has to work.

There are several steps on the path to employment with varying levels of support based on the person’s needs and wishes. More information about Ohio’s Employment First is available online.

3.       A job might cause loss of Medicaid

Answered by Antonio Akins, Benefits General Manager, Office of Medicaid, Contracts and SSA

Working rarely causes someone to lose Medicaid. In fact, several work incentives are available to support those who wish to achieve competitive community employment while maintaining their health insurance as well as other disability benefits. For instance, the Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities (MBIWD) allows individuals with disabilities to earn money from a job (income) and to keep their Medicaid health care coverage.

Each person served with a job or exploring work receives a benefits analysis. To learn more about how work incentives apply to your particular situation, call 513-794-3300 and ask for the HCDDS Benefits Department.

4.      Students who are on a waiting list and deemed ineligible for work

Answered by Kristee Griffith, Director, Office of Inclusion and Collaboration

Decisions about a student’s fitness for work are not made lightly. Students are given many opportunities to explore options for their life after high school, starting at age 14. HCDDS Transition Coordinators arrange visits to potential employers, service providers and community programs to help the student successfully transition after school. Just like in the path to employment, the student and his/her family drive that student’s plan for the future based on individual needs. These discussions occur throughout the IEP process and beyond.

For those on the waiting list, our team of specialists determine immediate needs for individuals on the waiting list and connect them with resources.

Our Commitment to you

These topics and many more are driving our state and local system of services to look very different than they have in our past. We know we have to change and services will likely be delivered in different places and in different ways. Change can be hard and we are committed to supporting a smooth process. We will walk this journey together staying focused on what is best individually for each person. Please stay connected so you can receive information and updates!

 

Alice C. Pavey

 

 

 

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