Re: Senate bill 17
Governor Malloy's proposal to eliminate the legislative process and eliminate Public Hearings for changes to the ABI Waiver, as well as all other Waivers.
This proposal appears in section 32 of the Governor's bill S 17 which would repeal § 17b-8. This is a critical protection for brain injury survivors and MANY others. The fact that Waivers and Amendments to those Waivers, have to go before the committees of cognizance (Appropriations and Human Services) serves as an important moderating force, when DSS proposes changes that are harmful to Waiver participants.
Public and written testimony.
My name is Craig Sears I am a brain injury survivor receiving services from the ABI waiver; I am here today in regards to Governor Malloy's proposal to eliminate the legislative process and stop holding Public Hearings for changes to the ABI Waiver, as well as all other Waivers in CT. I can't begin to tell you how wrong this proposal is to the citizens of Connecticut - this proposal is nothing but in direct response to the legislators denial of the proposal to outsource the ABI Waiver at the Public Hearing in December! It is clear, that if this proposal was passed it would only be because governor Malloy doesn't want the citizens of Connecticut to know that they are being taken advantage of and being discriminated against.
If the public hearings are taken away, where are we to go when there's a problem? In December at the last public hearing, I spoke on the fact that every change DSS has made to my ABI waiver has hurt me so much that I had to get the office of protection and advocacy for persons with disabilities involved in my last team meeting. Which makes it a perfect example of the type of errors that can occur if there are not multiple eyes looking at these issues. And yes, I was able to have my services reinstated because of the sections in DSS regulations I spoke about on December 17. (see below). Think about it, DSS went through the committees to allow them to modify the waiver to change prevocational and cognitive behavioral. The committees agreed! All ABI Waiver clients lost services with their doctors due to the CBP change.
For example, I had 8 hours at $83.22 = $665.76 But they increased the rate to $105.00. As a result I could only see my doctor 6.34 times per month in a face-to-face format. That is a loss of 21% of the service I had prior to the change. Now I have won a victory and every client will have to have their CBP budget increased by 21%. That is a cost that should be reviewed by Appropriations.
The loss in services should have been properly vetted by Human Services.
What about clients who are right against the budget cap and have no room for this increase in cost to CBP. Does this place their waiver at-risk? Does it open up the State to Claims or a Class Action Lawsuit since a client who may be at his cap limit say $139,700.00 for Level 1 but had four hours per month of CBP at $332.99 now needs a monthly budget of $420.00 and for 12 months which is an increase of $1044.00 for the year and places the client over budget.
The admission by DSS that there is a service loss places the state in a vulnerable position and again, this change was done with the approval of Appropriations, Human Services, and DSS.
Governor Malloy and Commissioner Bremby I am ashamed of what you did, and continue to do to brain injury survivors, veterans and disabled children and adults in this state.
I am asking this committee and all legislators not to pass this ridiculous proposal for the good of the community.