Thursday, November 10, 2011

Agency Returns Unused Money to Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The beleaguered Developmental Disabilities Administration, with thousands on its waiting list for care, left $25 million in state funding unspent over the last two years, and wound up having to return the money to the state's general fund.
The agency also had a $12 million surplus in its federal Medicaid match, meaning there was a total $38 million left over.
The surpluses had apparently been going on for some time, leaving millions in the kitty that were supposed to be spent on people with some of the most severe physical and mental disabilities, many unable to care for themselves.


  1. Service Coordination, Inc. is an organization that provides resource coordination case management to more than 13,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Maryland.  Our organization is one of two independent nonprofits that have a contract with the Maryland Disabilities Administration (DDA) to provide these services. 
    The news that DDA had a budget surplus of nearly $38 million in the past two years ($25 m in FY 10 and $12 m in FY 11) that was not used to serve more individuals is unconscionable.  It is unconscionable that funds approved by the State Legislature were not used and that surplus in FY 10 has already been returned to the general fund.  The adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are eligible for assistance from the state require these funds to meet basic needs and to live independently in the community.  These individuals have very low incomes and have been hit especially hard by the downturned economy.  In FY 09 our organization absorbed a 15% budget cut and a reduction in force of more than 70 positions.  Other service providers absorbed 2% budget cuts and reductions in force as well.  These cuts impacted thousands of individuals receiving services. 
    Since absorbing these cuts the team at Service Coordination has helped the State continue to serve eligible individuals and along the way has helped to leverage millions of dollars of federal funds and local in-kind services and supports that individuals would not have otherwise been received. 
    Service Coordination and the five members of our state DD Coalition are on the move in a proactive way to find a way forward with DDA leadership to continue collaborating and partnering to get money and support to individuals that need it.  We recognize that the actions that produced the budget surplus do not speak to a lack of commitment to provide quality services and that while there are unspent funds Service Coordination and DDA have continued to work together to insure that people who need services are receiving them. 
    The state DD Coalition is urging that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the legislature restore funding to the DDA community services operating budget for people receiving supports.  When this happens service providers and resource coordination organizations will work closely with the state to insure the system is in place so that people who need services receive them.   
    John Dumas, Executive Director
    Service Coordination, Inc.

  2. John,
    Thank you for your comment.

    It seems incredible in this fiscal environment, that the funds would go unused and returned to the general fund. People with disabilities are relying on these services. You're right, a system needs must be in place to insure that the people who need services get them.