By Beverly Keller
A slow and steady progression will have the Holmes County Board of Development Disabilities operating a bit differently by 2021 in order to meet changes instituted by the State of Ohio.
“For the most part, for those adults who come here every day, there won’t be a difference that our clients will see on their end,” explained Marianne Mader who serves as the Superintendent at the Holmes County Board of DD. “It will be more about how the services are provided and who provides them.”
The change impacts those who use adult services offered through the entity. “Every county board in the State of Ohio has to do this,” Mader explained. “We have to switch service providers from public to private.”
For many of Mader’s longtime employees, the changes impacted their retirement benefits as they were using the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). “By going so far out into the future (2021), we are able to meet a lot of the retirement times that would have already been happening,” she stated. “And for others, it gives them an opportunity to find something else in the public world to continue accruing benefits.”
Right now, as people retire or find new places of employment, they are being replaced with a staff member from Lynn Hope Industries. The private business, located adjacent to the Board of DD has been offering packaging and assembly services for the past 40 years. With the new mandates, the business will need to grow exponentially over the next several years and add staff to provide direct care and services to those who need it as a vendor to Holmes County DD.
“This is really what it boils down to,” Mader explained. “We can’t be the provider and the guide. Hence we have to find people to provide those services that we will then pay for.”
In addition, transportation services must be offered privately. “We are already working on this,” Mader explained. “We aren’t just picking your average driver. They must be certified by the Ohio Department of Disabilities to work with those who require extra care.”
Holmes Board of DD is currently contracting with Precious Angels (four routes) and Midwest Community Services (one route) for about 50 of its current adult clients but would like to add at least one more to the list.
The change was also a requirement of Medicaid who noted that it was a conflict of interest for a case manager to sign someone up for services within their own organization, even if there were no other options. “What it boils down to will be that those in our care here at the Holmes County Board of Developmental Disabilities, will still be coming here, but their services will be delivered in a different manner, at least on paper,” Mader said. “For some of our clients, it means coming to this building and we will sub-lease the room, if needed, to Lynn Hope.”
One thing that won’t change is the need of the group for tax dollars and private funding in order to serve their clientele. “We rely heavily on tax dollars from Holmes County,” Mader shared. “Those funds allow us to care for those in our community who need it. Our mission is to support people with developmental disabilities in living meaningful lives who are playing, learning, working and living as valued community members.”
Anyone with questions about the change or the services offered is urged to call Mader at 330-674-8045 or mail a letter to: Holmes County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Attn. Marianne Mader, Superintendent, 8001 Township Road 574, Holmesville OH 44633.