In an effort to correct the payment system, the Department of Mental Health has contracted with the actuarial firm Mercer to develop standardized rates to cover the cost of services for people with developmental disabilities. The inflationary cost has made the current rate structure imbalanced, and presents a very real threat to the community-based network of providers who form the safety net system for people in need of these services and supports.
For five out of the last eight years, the network of community-based providers who support Missouri citizens with developmental disabilities have been under-funded or the funds have been withheld. The salaries of direct support professionals who work with our individuals fall behind the salaries of similar staff in state operated facilities by as much as $3 - $4 per hour. It is imperative that a Cost of Living Allocation of 3 percent be implemented this year and
It is essential to the employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities that the Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation request is fully funded. Vocational Rehabilitation, as a part of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is requesting approximately $600,000 in general revenue funds which would then draw approximately $2.3 million in Federal funding.
Approximately one in sixty-eight children in Missouri will be diagnosed with autism. Our services keep families together, help children attend their neighborhood schools, and prepare them for a bright future that includes gainful employment and independent living. Easterseals Midwest supports an increase of $1 million in additional funding for the five statewide autism services.