Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
The legislative session is upon us. Last week I met with Governor Brownback , Lt. Governor Colyer and the new Secretary of SRS Rob Siedlecki regarding the upcoming budget and vision for persons with disabilities. I was greatly encouraged that they requested the meeting. There were 14 people there representing every disability group in the state. The overall message from the new administration is that they want to work cooperatively with us, drastically cut the cost of Medicaid and increase the quality of services.
What do I think this means for communityworks inc and Minds Matter LLC? It means we have been heading in the right direction for a long time and we can continue to be a model agency in the State of Kansas. We have been working on diversifying funding for the past 2 years so our services are applicable to anyone who wants to get out or stay out of an institution. That automatically translates to decreased costs to the State and an increase in quality because people are in control of their own services.
Our accomplishments over the past year testify to our dedication to making sure people have the opportunity to live where they want to live. By utilizing Money Follows the Person (MFP) and regular TBI (traumatic brain injury) funding we supported more than 38 people to leave institutions. By working closely with Kansas Rehabilitation Services we assisted more than 12 people to become employed and no longer need services. By getting the word out about the WORK and Working Healthy Programs we made sure those who are working and still need assistance decreased their client obligation, continued to have choice of their staff and had jobs. These are but a few of the great accomplishments we have garnered over the past year.
In setting the direction for 2011, the vision is threefold. First, we must get to all of the new legislators (more than 30 who have never served in this capacity) to educate, educate and educate about the importance of providing the services that assist people to get back to work and no longer need government assistance. This message needs to be clear to the new administration as well. We need to look at all of our funding options and focus on the ones that truly allow us to help people become independent. And finally, we need to continue to support our excellent staff throughout our offices, to do the best work possible.
My professional direction will be to meet with every legislator possible to share our work. I will be looking for people who want to tell their stories to join me in this effort. I will also continue to meet with Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) to advocate for increased funding for Personal Attendants. And finally, I will continue to work with staff on finding ways to do our work effectively, efficiently and electronically.