Tammy Hammond, CEO of Rosewood Services in Great Bend, traveled to Topeka on April 28 to meet with Governor Brownback for a ceremonial signing of a piece of legislation that will brings new federal dollars into Kansas for the Developmentally Disabled.
During the meeting, Brownback signed Senate Bill 210 into law.
Under the legislation, the community service providers including Rosewood Services would pay an assessment of 5.5 percent to the State’s Medicaid matching fund which would, in turn, be matched by federal matching funds under the Community Medicaid Service program (CMS).
Hammond said that final approval from CMS for this type of matching program is expected yet this year and, by passing Senate Bill 210, Kansas will be one of the first states to make application for the federal monies.
Rosewood Services is a member of the Alliance for Kansans with Developmental Disabilities, a group of 15 organizations that provide care for about 1200 Kansans with Developmental Disabilities.
Hammond hailed the passage of the bill as a major first step in addressing many of the funding issues affecting organizations that serve the Developmentally Disabled.
“And, in these tough economic times, we are able to draw down federal dollars without a tax increase for Kansas taxpayers,” Hammond said. “And, there will be no losers in this piece of legislation.”
“I commend Governor Brownback for his support of Senate Bill 210,” Hammond continued. “In our discussions with the Governor since he took office in January, he has exhibited a vast knowledge of our issues and support for the Developmentally Disabled population in our state.”
“Funding for programs to help the Developmentally Disabled has been virtually flat for the past 15 years,” Hammond said. “In 1995, our entry level jobs paid $7 per hour and we competed with nursing homes for good employees.”
“Today those same jobs are advertised for less than $8 per hour.”
Hammond said that organizations from throughout the state that serve the Developmentally Disabled were united in support of Senate Bill 210.
Senators Ruth Teichman and Jay Emler along with Representatives Bob Bethell and Bill Wolf, whose districts include all or parts of Barton County and Great Bend, supported the legislation.
Bethell, who serves as Chairman of the Aging and Long Term Care Committee is the legislature’s foremost expert on issues relating to the Developmentally Disabled and held a hearing on Senate Bill 210 in his committee which overwhelmingly voted the bill out of the committee.
“We are very grateful for Representative Bethell for his leadership on issues affecting the Developmentally Disabled,” Hammond said. “He was the go to person in the House of Representatives on this legislation.
Also, the Alliance employed Richard Shank, Hutchinson, and retired AT&T Area Manager, as a lobbyist for the bill. Shank is no stranger to this area in that Great Bend was a part of his district as the AT&T Manager and often attended Chamber of Commerce events and other activities in the city.