On behalf of the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities we serve, we are grateful to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for taking the time to listen and understand our direct care worker crisis in the 2022 Legislative session, a vital first step in ensuring that we continue to provide programs that promote CHOICE AND INDEPENENCE.
We still need your help as we are experiencing unprecedented increases in gasoline, health insurance, business insurance, and other non-wage operational costs which threatens our service delivery. While this initial step was instrumental in ensuring program delivery, previous funding increases have been strictly earmarked for staff wages and these cost increases have not been addressed.
Operational costs need to be addressed when funds are added to the Home and Community-based Waiver Program. The iBudget gives individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities THE CONTROL AND FLEXIBILITY TO CHOOSE SERVICES to choose services that are important to them, providing resources for them to live as independently as possible in their own home or in the community and achieve productive lives.
Direct Support Professsionals (DSPs) provide essential, hands-on care accounting for approximately 70% of the total cost of providing services.
Providers using the iBudget waiver have been covering operational cost deficiencies at a loss.
A joint survey conducted by Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (FARF) and The Arc of Florida showed that 85% of providers said the new rates do not cover their costs. If not addressed, the providers committed to providing services that supports client choice may have to reduce their service, impacting our neighbors, friends and family member with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
As the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 20% over the last five years, an increase for non-wage operational costs for iBudget providers has not been addressed in even longer. For the 2023 Legislative Session, we are seeking $44.6 million in General Revenue ($67.7 million in Federal Match) equating to $112,286,417 critical dollars to address this funding gap.