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New House bill will assist county boards of MR/DD

SOUTH POINT – County Boards of Mental Retardation/Developmentally Disabled from Lawrence, Scioto and Jackson counties met last night at the Early Childhood Learning Center to learn how a new House bill passed by the Ohio legislature will affect their ability to meet the needs of their clients in the coming two years.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

SOUTH POINT – County Boards of Mental Retardation/Developmentally Disabled from Lawrence, Scioto and Jackson counties met last night at the Early Childhood Learning Center to learn how a new House bill passed by the Ohio legislature will affect their ability to meet the needs of their clients in the coming two years.

Charles Arndt, Chief Executive Officer of the Ohio Association of County Boards of MR/DD says House Bill 94 will provide about $1.2 million annually for Lawrence County, and is the biggest change in the state’s system in 30 years.

"It provides reforms to administrative structure of county boards, and allows tax equity monies for poorer counties," Arndt said.

"Counties such as Lawrence will get additional revenue to help develop services comparable to those offered in higher tax value counties."

In Lawrence County alone, HB 94 will provide money for approximately 37 clients to be refinanced against Medicaid funding.

Sixty-one new clients will be allowed family support waivers. This means parents or other family members who choose to care for impaired family members at home on a regular basis will get respite service– short term breaks provided by other care givers.

In addition, 15 new people will be eligible for supported living assistance.

"When you add it up, it amounts to significant revenue," Arndt said. He advised that this new money is meant to be a supplement to local funding for such services, not a substitute for it.

Arndt praised the work of State Sen. John Carey, who as chairman of the House Finance Committee, was instrumental in the passage of this bill, and other legislation in previous years that funded MR/DD programs.