ALERT! ALERT!! ALERT!!! ACTION IS NEEDED TODAY!!!
March 02, 2017
It is not our intent with this letter to ALARM anyone, but to ALERT you of changes that are coming out of Austin and to let you know that ACTION is needed TODAY!!!
Since the legislative session has begun, our son Jason, has been in Austin every week working alongside our lobbyist and Private Provider Association Sr. Executive Director to let our legislators know how important it is for them NOT to reduce funding and make drastic changes to the Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) and Texas Home Living (TxHmL) programs as we know them to be at this time. For those of you that receive Community First Choice (CFC) services we already know that come July 1st there is going to be a reduction in rates, to what extent – the final amount has not yet been determined, but we have been assured it will be cut. This means the amount the attendants receives is going down. This is not a good thing, as it is already difficult to find quality attendants at the rate we pay of $15.00 per hour. When rates are lowered it will be twice as hard. So, what is next, we do not know. Will it be therapies? Day Hab? Host Home? Group Home?
Last night Jason called to let us know the climate is not favorable. The key people that can make decisions on the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees were not talking to anyone, not even their peers. This is not a good sign. We are being told it is very IMPORTANT that the legislators/representatives hear from those receiving the services. They need to know the impact it is going to have on your family and most importantly your loved one. You cannot sit back and hope for the best. You need to pick up the phone, start making calls, send emails and better yet, get up and go to Austin and meet them face-to-face. I realize it may be hard to do with your jobs and other things in your life, but how much harder will your life be when you have to quit your job to stay home to care for your loved one.
We have enclosed the names, phone numbers and email addresses of the people you need to contact. Please feel free to share this information with those that you know that may not be with Berry Family Services. This is not a Berry thing this is a problem that is going to affect everyone in HCS and TxHmL. There is a very strong chance that your friends’ providers may not be aware of the problem, as they don’t have someone in Austin to learn about these things. Ask your family members, church family, neighbors and anyone else that you can think of to make calls and go, if they can, to help let the legislators/representatives know how important these programs are to you, your family and your loved one. Providers can only do so much – the legislators/representatives need to hear from YOU!!!
If you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call and we will do our best to answer them. In addition, we are in the process of updating our website with information as we receive it and we will be sending out email blast, as well, with updates. We strongly feel it is our duty to keep you as informed as much as we can.
Sr. Executive Director
Of Programs and Services