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Monroe Co. MRDD reports its acitivites

WOODSFIELD — Helen Ring, director of the Monroe County Board of Developmental Disabilities, reported told Monroe County commissioners about a new labor contract last week.

Ring said the contract terms were largely unchanged.

“It’s a very conservative contract,” she said, adding that the board and union membership agreed to negotiate without attorneys to save money through interest-based bargaining. Ring said many staff members agreed to take on additional responsibilities and provide direct services, as well as drive a bus or van route.

She said Monroe County MRDD funds and provides services to more than 150 children and adults with disabilities and their families. In most cases, MRDD serves people during the course of a lifetime.

Ring said the board continues to manage a conservative budget without asking for additional mileage reimbursement. Carryover funds have been set aside for future improvements to the MRDD building, including the 30-year-old heating and air conditioning system, the roof, restrooms, floorings and furniture at the school and workshop at Woodsfield. Other carryover funds are used to offset reductions in state and federal Medicaid funds and to pay the non-federal share of Medicaid services to private providers. Ring said these funds support individuals at work and day programs, in homes and in residential settings.

She said Medicaid pays 60 percent of residential services and adult services, while the county board levy dollars pay for 40 percent.

“Right now, our county board match for those services is about $240,000 a year,” she said.

Like 90 percent of Ohio’s MRDD programs, Monroe County’s board has privatized adult services based on Medicare and Medicaid regulations for conflict-free case management. Monroe County’s transition took place in July of this year. The board contracts with private agencies to provide employment, transportation and integrated day services for eligible adults. The school and workshop collaborates with the private agencies to provide adult services.

The agency funds 19 full-time and 15 intermittent employees and operates staff levels at minimum capacity. Ring said only four people serve in administrative positions, and they take on several responsibilities and “wear additional hats.”

“Instead of hiring additional personnel, the board continues to explore the long-term benefits of acquiring and sharing certain administrative functions and resources from other county boards,” she said. “I’m very proud of my staff, and they work very hard, every day, to provide services for individuals with disabilities.”

She added that federal law requires community integration of MRDD clients.

“We also work with Ohio for Opportunities with Disabilities,” she said. “We work jointly with them to provide job training and job assessment and employment.”

MRDD also operates two group homes in Monroe County.

Commissioners Mick Schumacher, Carl Davis and Tim Price commended the agency’s work.

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