After years of waiting, my severely disabled daughter was placed in an ICF-MR (Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded) group home last year. These group homes, located throughout the state, were established to meet the needs of the state’s most severely disabled population. Rigid criteria were set to document and develop service programs to meet these individuals’ needs. These programs are constantly monitored to assure compliance.

To reduce costs, the governor is proposing the elimination of ICF-MR homes and converting them into Level 4 Waiver homes. Costs would be saved by the elimination of much of the documentation and monitoring of service programs, reduction in the highly trained staff, and reduction of staff salaries approaching $3 per hour.

The proposed funding source does not pay for room and board and it would be expected that the individual’s Social Security payments and food stamp allocation would pay for the operations of these homes. That is not feasible in many of these homes. The state would provide transportation funding for medical treatment but not for any recreational needs. Any cost savings would be offset by the loss of payment to the state of a 6 percent provider tax that each ICF-MR home pays.

These proposed budget cuts will have a negative impact on the quality of services provided to my daughter and other people served. Those who are concerned with social justice should protest to all levels of state government about the proposed cuts.

Linwood E. Gilbert, Turner

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