An Important Message from Board President Larry DeBoer About the State Budget and Lanterman’s Finances
Dear Clients, Families and Service Providers,
As you may be aware the state of California was without a budget for more than three months of the fiscal year that began July 1, 2010. While we have continued to pay providers and staff throughout this period, it has been extremely challenging.
Regional centers are entirely dependent upon funding from the State in order to provide direct services and services purchased through our network of community service providers. While we have had a fully executed contract with the Department of Developmental Services since the start of the fiscal year, we received only a fraction of our funding through an interim emergency fund and some federal funds. This was not nearly enough to meet all of our financial commitments. So we borrowed funds from our bank through a line of credit to honor our monthly financial commitments both to our service providers for services to clients and families, and for regional center direct services provided by regional center staff.
Lanterman, like all other regional centers, has been paying interest on these borrowed funds from its staff and operating budget at a projected cost of $25,000 this year. The State does not reimburse us for these costs.
Had the budget stalemate continued, and we were not able to borrow sufficient funds to meet all of the needs, the Lanterman board of directors with advice from our legal counsel had developed a plan for the money available to us that included reimbursing providers in full to the extent that funds were available. Should funds have been short, however, we would have reimbursed providers for purchased services provided in only in critical service categories. We would not have terminated services due to the budget crisis and were committed to reimburse providers in full for authorized services provided once we received our allocation and cash payments from the State after the passage of the budget. Fortunately, the passage of a budget means that we did not have to resort to such drastic actions at this time.
Now that a budget has been passed, however, our work is far from over. The adopted budget calls for an additional 1.25 percent reduction to service provider rates and regional center operations. These are retroactive to July 1, 2010 and are on top of the 3 percent reductions put into place in the 2009-10 budget. For many of our service providers who have not received a rate increase in many years, this makes it very difficult to remain in business and assure the quality of services they offer. In addition, the provisions of the budget trailer bill enacted in July 2009, which made permanent changes to portions of the Lanterman Act, including limitations on respite and a prohibition on the purchase of camp and social recreation services, remain in effect. Other systems that serve our clients and families are also severely impacted, such as In Home Support Services, which causes people to turn to Lanterman for assistance, and to the extent that we are able to, we will do our best to meet the needs of our community members.
On behalf of the board of directors and Lanterman Regional Center, please know that we appreciate all of the many challenges faced by our clients, families and providers over the past number of years owing to California’s continuing financial woes, and how hard everyone has worked to meet the new requirements in order to sustain the entitlement of the Lanterman Act. We are grateful for your contributions to this effort and look forward to working together in partnership with our community to continue meeting both current and future challenges to our service system.
Board of Directors