Assembly Bill (AB) X2-1 is the bill passed in the 2nd Extraordinary Session to increase annual funding for the community-based developmental services system. This is a much needed gift to our service system after so many years of funding cuts. Most funding increase go into effect starting July 1, 2016. Highlights of the bill are listed below using the Welfare and Institutions Code citations:
Section 4519.5 – The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) will provide funds to help regional centers implement programs to reduce service disparities, including pay differentials for bilingual service provider staff, parent/caregiver education programs, cultural competency training, and culturally appropriate service types of service delivery models.
Section 4519.8 – Requires DDS to do a rate study addressing “sustainability, quality and transparency” of the community service system (regional center vendors and services). The study will be done through the Developmental Services Task Force process, by March 1, 2019.
Section 4639.5 – $29.7M General Fund (plus additional federal matching funds) for regional center staff wages and $1.4M General Fund (plus additional federal matching funds) for administrative costs, including clients rights advocates, starting July 1, 2016. Not to be used for executive staff or unfunded retirement liabilities. Regional Centers must report how the money was spent and other related information, or lose the funding.
Section 4652.5 – Vendors earning at least $500,000 per year must get an independent review. Venders earning at least $2M per year must get an audit. If the audit or review is unmodified, or modified with no material issues, the vendor shall receive a two-year exemption.
Section 4689.8 – All supported living service providers get a 5% increase starting July 1, 2016.
Section 4690.5 – Family member-provided respite services get a 5% increase starting July 1, 2016.
Section 4691.6 – In-home respite and independent living services gets a 5% increase starting July 1, 2016.
Section 4691.9 – Transportation rates will be increased by 5% starting July 1, 2016.
*Section 4691.10 – All services with rates set by DDS or through negotiations between the regional center and service providers get a rate increase for the purpose of enhancing wages and benefits for staff who spend a minimum of 75 percent of their time providing direct services to consumers.
*Section 4691.11 – All services with rates set by DDS or through negotiations between the regional center and service providers get a rate increase for administrative expenses.
NOTE: * To determine the amount of the rate increases described in WIC Sections 4691.10 and 4691.11, DDS is conducting a random sample of eligible providers within each service category. The information submitted will be used to determine, by category, the average percentage of costs for staff who spend a minimum of 75 percent of their time providing direct services and the average percentage for administrative expenses. Using this information, DDS will calculate the rate increase for each service category. Once calculated, DDS will post the rate increases, which will be effective July 1, 2016. The list of providers selected for this survey, the list of services within each service category and information about how to complete the survey can be found on the DDS web page http://www.dds.ca.gov/vendorsurvey.