Board of disabilities transition to private provider is success

WARREN — The privatization of Medicaid-funded services offered previously by the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities has gone well, said Edward Stark, superintendent of the board.

“We are in our third full week now. The transition was completed July 1. Fairhaven Industries took over and it is going well. I spoke to some people receiving services from the nonprofit provider and the feedback was positive,” Stark said.

The board had to lay off 50 employees — 30 workshop specialists, two administrative assistants, three custodians, four rehabilitation coordinators, two behavior support specialists, two registered 12-month nurses, one licensed practical nurse, two production supervisors, two truck drivers and two work procurement specialists.

The TCBDD remains intact, but it cannot directly provide the services because the board is responsible for oversight of the services in accordance with federal and state mandates.

The mandates no longer allow county developmental disability boards to provide the same services they oversee to adults participating in the Medicaid waiver program.

The board in January approved a service agreement between the board and Fairhaven Industries, transitioning the Champion Workshop to Fairhaven Industries.

The board also approved a lease agreement with Fairhaven Industries for the provision of adult day services in the Niles workshop beginning July 1, allowing Fairhaven to continue to use the Niles location.

Fairhaven Industries continues to offer assembly operations, bulk mailing preparation, law services and other jobs for the developmentally disabled.

“Although the board is not providing these services directly, our mission remains the same — to ensure children and adults have the choices, opportunities and resources they need to participate in their community to the greatest extent possible. The board will continue to fund and monitor services to ensure they are of the highest quality and meet each individual’s needs,” Stark stated in an open letter about the transition.

The board also continues to directly provide preschool and school-age services to students.

Now that the board finished the objectives in the 2016 strategic plan, board members will meet in the fall to discuss strategic planning for the future, according to the letter.

The board is expected to create focus groups, design surveys and take community comments about its future goals.