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Letter to the Gov: Impact of SDS state budget cuts

To Governor Dunleavy and Commissioner Crum:

Community Connections serves individuals in several communities throughout southern southeast Alaska: Ketchikan, Saxman, Metlakatla and all of Prince of Wales Island which include Hydaburg, Craig, Klawock, Hollis, Thorne Bay, Naukati and Coffman Cove. Our ability to serve these very remote locations has been significantly impacted by the cuts to the Community Developmental Disabilities Grant and cuts to waiver services over the last 3 years.

If our clients receive an additional 5% rate reduction it will have the following immediate impact:

  • At least 4 Direct Service employees will lose their jobs, and benefits such as paid leave for full time staff will be cut by 50%.
  • At least 2 Service Coordinators and a Nursing Oversight Care Managing Nurse (for children with complex medical needs) will lose their jobs.
  • We will need to eliminate all of our optional training and limit our field training for new staff.
  • Our capacity to work with individuals who experience developmental disabilities and who have challenging behaviors has already become very limited. We will not be able to add any additional individuals who are trying to return from institutional care or have significantly challenging behaviors.
  • Three adults we currently serve are at risk of losing supports in their own homes and transitioning into high-cost out-of-state institutional care.

Senior and Disability Services (SDS) are not a “bundle” of comprehensive Medicaid services; they add more cost-effective, community-based solutions to the threat of institutional care. SDS has been disproportionately reduced without transparency across all Medicaid services. Properly funding these skilled and appropriate supports for the most vulnerable Alaskans remains a government
responsibility, while promoting as many natural and volunteer supports as possible.

We are asking that people be allowed to remain in their home communities and that you demonstrate your commitment to care for vulnerable Alaskans by courageously becoming their champion. Please use your authority to eliminate the proposed 5% rate reductions for Medicaid Senior and Disability Services programs.

 

Sincerely,

The Community Connections Board of Directors

Alonso Escalante, President

Roxanne Abajian, Vice President

Scott-Brandt-Erichsen, Secretary

Adam Thompson, Treasurer

Ralph Mackie

Bett Union-Jakubek

Jenn Zona

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