Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ohio budget cuts may send disabled people in institutions home

From a sidebar about budget cuts in The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio. Here are some of the cuts that might affect programs connected to people with disabilities.

If state agencies have to cut a quarter of their spending, here's what those cuts could look like. Important: These cuts merely illustrate the possible impact; no decisions have been made.

  • Ohio's subsidized child-care and preschool programs would be slashed by $300 million, forcing about 56,000 children from the programs.
  • Alcohol- and drug-treatment services would be eliminated for more than 10,000 Ohioans, and prevention services chopped for another 15,000.
  • An additional mental-health hospital would have to be closed (two were shut down last year), and several counties (many in Appalachia) that rely on the state for mental-health services would be cut off.
  • State mental retardation and developmental disabilities officials would have to send about half of the 1,459 patients in state hospitals to other facilities or home.
  • Enrollment would be severely restricted in the popular PASSPORT program, which provides in-home services aimed at keeping the elderly in their homes as long as possible. The changes are expected to create a wait list of 6,500; there is none today.