In June 2000, the state agencies responsible for services for people with disabilities including the Departments of Aging, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, Health, Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, and Job and Family Services along with the Office of Budget and Management undertook a comprehensive review of the current system and made recommendations for improving these services. This update of the state's Olmstead plan shows progress made towards meeting benchmarks set in the 2004 report. Three principles were developed to guide recommendations. These principles are:
- Increase Community Capacity: Publicly financed delivery systems should be responsive to consumer demand for choice of services and supports and the need to develop additional capacity in community based services. Current delivery systems must be improved to assist families, communities, and state and local governments in meeting their responsibilities.
- Prioritize Resources: Reform/expansion of any delivery system must be accomplished by balancing competing priorities within the limited resources of families, community based organizations, and state and local governments. Government agencies need to develop a process to determine where reform is most needed and can be achieved. Part of this is seeking cost efficiencies and appropriateness of care, especially in institutional settings, thereby making more dollars available to support community-based care.
- Assure Quality and Accountability: All publicly financed delivery systems must assure clinical, programmatic, and fiscal accountability and compliance at federal, state, local, and provider levels. Responsibility must be clearly defined at each level to ensure significant aspects of program design, including quality assurance, consumer health and safety, and sufficient and appropriate match.
From these guiding principles the Ohio Access agencies developed the following vision:
- Ohio's seniors and people with disabilities live with dignity in settings they prefer.
- They are able to maximize their employment, self-care, interpersonal relationships and community participation.
- Government programs honor and support the role of families and friends who provide care.
The 2004 Ohio Access Report recognized that even though Ohio was facing its most challenging budget in 40 years, there were still significant opportunities to change the way Ohio delivers long-term services and supports within a limited budget.
The 2006 Ohio Access Report is being released at a time of uncertainty in Ohio government. A new administration will take the helm in a few weeks and will likely make many changes to the operations of state government. However, the design of systems and services for people with disabilities transcend these inevitable administrative changes. The recommendations in the report maintain the momentum gained following the landmark Olmstead decision and continue to move the state towards a more balanced system with greater options for community-based services. This report is organized around the following six recommendations:
- Give consumers meaningful choice
- Focus on behavioral health
- Improve quality and outcomes for individuals
- Get the best possible value from taxpayer investments
- Prevent the causes of disabilities
- Support Employment
This update summarizes specific accomplishments since the 2004 report. It is organized by the recommendations contained in the 2004 report and the strategies detailed in that earlier report.