The Budget for Now and What November’s Voting Results Could Mean for the Future

The budget for fiscal year 2012-13, approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, contains additional funds for regional center caseload growth and purchasing services for clients. At the same time, however, it calls for an additional reduction of $200 million in developmental services general fund spending. This is to be accomplished by:

  1. increasing eligibility for federal funding,
  2. requiring parents to use their private health coverage to purchase certain autism-related services,
  3. developing highly specialized residential options for clients who have been “difficult to serve” in the community and are at risk for admission to a developmental center, and
  4. reducing provider rates and regional center operations spending by 1.25 percent. 

This 1.25 percent payment reduction for providers and regional centers replaces the 4.25 percent reduction that had been in effect. In actuality, then, it represents a restoration of 3 percent of the prior reductions.

With regard to autism services, regional centers are required to begin implementation of recently passed Senate Bill 946, which requires behavioral health services for children with autism to be covered by private health insurers. This is a complex undertaking and its implementation is requiring an intensive coordinated effort by regional centers, families, insurers and providers of behavioral services. 

More labor intensive and complex is the effort required to develop the specialized residential resources mentioned above under an extremely tight time-frame. These facilities are intended for individuals now residing in jails, locked psychiatric facilities and out-of-state placements.

Other measures that will result in much smaller amounts of savings are also included in the budget. A complete description of these savings solutions can be found on the Department of Developmental Services Web site at www.dds.ca.gov/budget/home.cfm.

Be alert to an initiative on the November ballot. Proposition 30 is intended to increase state sales and income taxes and has been proposed by the Governor as a budget balancing measure. If this proposition fails, developmental services will be faced with an additional reduction of $50 million for the second half of 2012-13 and an additional $100 million for the 12-month period, 2013-14. Education, both K-12 and post-secondary, will also be faced with large reductions if this proposition fails.

We at Lanterman are grateful for the tremendous cooperation we have received over the past three years from our clients, families and service providers as we face the difficult and at times seemingly impossible task of implementing all of the changes to the Lanterman Act enacted during this period. As a result, we have lived within our budget, and as a community, we are doing our part in helping to preserve the entitlement of the Lanterman Act, now and in the future.