HARTFORD - State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) joined advocates and individuals that depend on critical social services provided by community non-profits on Wednesday, April 10.
Local non-profits confront a consistent struggle to provide life-changing services to individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities and often compete with state agencies for funding in the state budget due to an unsustainable dual delivery system. Community non-profits like the Kennedy Center, Ability Beyond and Oak Hill often provide comparable or superior care than state agencies at a much lower cost, making them a better investment for the State.
Sen. Hwang has long advocated for the streamlining of social services and eliminating the “dual delivery system” in Connecticut where deeply entrenched community based non-profits along with state agencies provide the same care.
In 2012, the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (PRI) prompted by the legislative requests of then State Representative Hwang and T.R. Rowe commissioned a study that found the cost of services is significantly higher for public providers than for private providers. Specifically, the study found that, on average, it costs about 2.5 times more to take care of the clients with the same level of need in a public community living arrangement as a private one. Similarly among intermediate care facilities, it costs 1.8 times more to provide public residential care for the same client mix as private.
“Because the individual costs per year differ so much between the two settings, the current dual system provision of care is very costly.” PRI Report, Provision of Selected Services for Clients with Intellectual Disabilities (Page i).
The report recommended that the CT Department of Developmental Services (DDS) accelerate their phase out of providing residential care, and transfer clients to community non-profits until almost all clients with intellectual or developmental disabilities are served by those community non-profits.
“Ultimately, the only residential care that should be operated by DDS is to provide care for extremely hard-to-place clients and for those clients that the superior or federal (not probate) court directs into DDS care. This should involve about .5 percent of the 24-hour residential care population or 25 people.” PRI Report, Provision of Selected Services for Clients with Intellectual Disabilities (Page v).
“Connecticut’s dual delivery system needs to be reformed so that the State is investing in the organizations that provide the best care at the lowest cost. Our community non-profits are the answer. By focusing funding on these incredible groups, we can get way more bang for our buck by helping more people with less money,” said Sen. Hwang. “This is a win-win-win proposition. The clients win, our valued non-profits win and the state budget & taxpayers win. Our current duplicative system in Connecticut is outdated, inefficient and costly. Our state needs a system that is effective and delivery the critically needed care and supportive services. To that end, I will continue to advocate for this common sense reform until we get it right.”
“Like the hundreds of green shirts worn today say, these incredible people ‘are essential’. Their perseverance and heart shows us all how essential they are to our society and that the services our community non-profits offer are also essential.”
Senator Hwang hosted non-profits which provide essential services to the ID/D population including The Kennedy Center, Ability Beyond, and Oak Hill along with many others at the Legislative Office Building and was impressed and inspired to hear non-profits' clients advocate for their own concerns and needs to a bipartisan group of legislators.
Senator Hwang represents Connecticut’s 28th Senate District, including the towns of Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Easton, Newtown & Sandy Hook.