This year, the New Mexico Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Supports Division completed a rate study of community providers. What they found was what providers had been saying for years: Years of rate reductions have made it difficult to provide quality services, meet individual needs, and add services to accommodate people on the waiting list for DD services.
Our state needs to take action on these findings. Parents, guardians, therapists, self-advocates and people who care about developmental disabilities services in New Mexico need to contact the legislature to get this funding into the State budget this year. The legislature needs to fund the increases dictated by the rate study. Although there is surplus money available for the State budget this year, legislators are hearing about a large variety of competing needs, so calls and emails are crucial.
Challenges We’re Facing
The Department of Health supports funding the Rate Study. The next step is for the House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC) of the legislature to include the funding in the State’s budget.
Adelante invites family members, staff and all concerned parties to contact HAFC members to let them know how serious the situation is, and how fragile the system of care has become across the state. Organizations are struggling, losing long-term qualified staff to other industries, and many are on the verge of going out of business. All at a time when the State would like to release thousands more people from the DD waiting list.
What providers are experiencing:
- Direct care staff shortages as much as 50%+
- Difficulty finding applicants to interview and hire for vacancies
- Direct service staff deserve better compensation, as the Rate Study showed
- Program and administrative staff burning out as they have to fill in direct care staff vacancies routinely
- The inability to provide quality care in the face of staff shortages
- Concerns about meeting regulatory compliance
- Financial crisis — running deficits, unable to meet payroll, little or no reserves or lines of credit
- Difficulty in assuring health and safety for your participants
While Adelante is being spared some of these issues, the organization is having significant difficulty recruiting staff members and in certain programs we are unable to support additional people with disabilities because we don’t have the resources to do so.
Please Contact the Legislative Finance Committee
If you are a person who cares about the disability community, please contact legislators on the Legislative Finance Committee. Ask them to FULLY FUND the Department of Health DDSD (Developmental Disabilities Support Division) budget request to address rate increases for DD Waiver and FIT services. (Developmental Disabilities Waiver of Medicaid and the Family Infant Toddler services)
Providers want to offer quality care for clients. They cannot serve all the individuals with disabilities on the state’s waiting list with the current unsustainable system. The funding for the rate increases and the waiting list need to be considered hand-in-hand. The State cannot expect that already strapped providers can tackle thousands more clients without addressing these issues.
As parents, guardians, and supporters of disability services, your calls and/or emails really make a difference. This funding depends on legislators hearing from concerned citizens. Thank you in advance for your help!
Legislators’ Contact Information
The chair and legislators on the committee who represent Adelante service areas are listed below for your convenience. Emails are best, but phone calls are also welcome. Please take 10 minutes today to send an email or make a call to improve the developmental disability service system across New Mexico.
Chair: Rep Patricia Lundstrom – Office Phone: (505) 722-2980; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep Gail Armstrong – Home: (505) 269-2364; Email: email@example.com
Rep Harry Garcia – Office Phone: (505) 290-7510; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep Javier Martinez – Home Phone: (505) 289-3939; Email: email@example.com
Rep Melanie Stansbury – Office: (505) 750-7079; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep Christine Trujillo – Office: (505) 235-8783; Email: email@example.com
A full list of committee members can be found at: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Committee/Standing_Committee?CommitteeCode=HAFC
Please note: they may not get voicemail left on their capital phones until the session, which may be too late.