DRO, other organizations form Home and Community-based Services Coalition

November 18, 2020

Forty-nine organizations and four individuals have joined together to form the Ohio Home-and Community-Based Services Coalition (Ohio HCBS Coalition). The coalition includes members from across the HCBS system, including providers and non-profits, and is led by well-known advocates Disability Rights Ohio, Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council, Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, and Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice. The Ohio HCBS Coalition has launched an informational website at www.ohiohcbscoalition.org.

“Ohio HCBS Coalition strives to ensure that home- and community-based services and supports are available to any Ohioan,” said Kerstin Sjoberg, Disability Rights Ohio executive director. “We maintain that all Ohioans have the right to choose where they receive services, and it is the state's responsibility to ensure that there is adequate HCBS capacity to make an individual's choice a reality.”

Four areas of focus have been identified and prioritized by the Ohio HCBS Coalition as necessary to strengthen HCBS in Ohio. They include:
• Expanding transitions from long-term care facilities to the community;
• Identifying those most at-risk of institutionalization;
• Preventing a reduction in individual services; and
• Supporting and bolstering provider and workforce capacity.

Long-term care facilities have struggled, in recent months, to combat COVID-19. “More than two-thirds of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities,” said Jeremy Morris, executive director at the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council. “It is critical that Ohio maintain and continue to invest in the HCBS system.”

To offset the burden placed on providers during the pandemic, the coalition will work to increase reimbursement rates, expand access to providers in the community, ensure that providers have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) without putting a financial burden on them, and provide additional funding to offset costs incurred during this pandemic.

Any individual or group that believes in the ‘Better At Home’ mission and goals of the Ohio HCBS Coalition is invited to go here for more information on how to join.

About Disability Rights Ohio
Disability Rights Ohio is the federally and state designated Protection and Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program for the state of Ohio. The mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of people with disabilities in Ohio. Disability Rights Ohio provides legal advocacy and rights protection to a wide range of people with disabilities. Find more information at www.disabilityrightsohio.org.

About the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council
The Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council (Ohio SILC) is a federally mandated board for the State of Ohio. The Ohio SILC is responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of the State Plan for Independent Living, a three-year strategic plan for Ohio to work towards goals of greater access, inclusion and independence for individuals with disabilities. Find more information at www.ohiosilc.org.

About the Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice
Established in 1965, the Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice (OCHCH) is a non-profit association that represents the interests of health care at home providers in Ohio. OCHCH advocates for ethical, compassionate, and quality home and community-based care, as well as for the individuals and families our members serve. As the voice of health care at home, we strive to provide value, resources, and partnership for those who provide care for our most vulnerable citizens. Find more information at www.ochch.org.

About the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council
The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is one of a national network of state councils, committed to self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. The Council’s mission is to create change that improves independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life in Ohio. Find more information at ddc.ohio.gov.

About the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging
O4A is a nonprofit, statewide network of agencies that provide services for older Ohioans, people with disabilities and their families. The Association engages in national and statewide advocacy to address issues which have an impact on the aging and disability network and older Ohioans and people with disabilities, provides services to members, and serves as a collective voice for Ohio’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). Find more information at www.ohioaging.org.

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