department of human services

Exclusive: DHS Got $30 Million For Developmentally Disabled Program; Now It Needs $12 Million To Fix Errors

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A year ago, state legislators approved $30 million to improve a program run by the Oregon Department of Human Services for the developmentally disabled.

But on Wednesday, DHS officials were back before the Legislature, asking for more money.

DHS Director Tries to Calm Concerns over Budget as Bates Sounds Alarm

Sen. Alan Bates, the Senate chairman of the budget committee for human services, raised concerns that spending increases for people with disabilities were getting out of control, a point echoed by two Republicans on the Senate floor. But a DHS program director explained that structural changes at the agency were all hitting at once.

Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, raised alarm bells that Department of Human Services spending is getting out of hand, and steps may need to be taken in the new budget and future budgets to tighten its belt and ensure that safety-net services are sustainable.

Legislature Eyes Shifting Money from the Health Authority to DHS

Part of the $26 million earmarked for seniors has hit a snag as legislators ask for more details before they are willing to fund training for elderly caregivers. The money for the spending package came from increased revenues when the state scaled back the senior medical tax last fall.

The Legislature has found the money to bridge the $101 million gap in funding for the Department of Human Services by reallocating surplus funds from the Oregon Health Authority.

Before the session, DHS Director Erinn Kelley-Siel reported to a group of legislators who oversee her agency’s budget that the Department of Human Services faced a $101 million budget gap due to a number of factors such as increased labor costs, higher-than-expected case rolls and a 2 percent holdback in funding placed on the agency by the Legislature.

Legislation Aims to Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse

The Lund Report
House Bill 4084 makes it easier for law enforcement to access financial and medical records of seniors during an abuse investigation

March 8, 2012 – Before adjourning, the Oregon Legislature passed a law making it easier to investigate abuse among people over age 65. House Bill 4084 allows investigating agencies to look at the financial and medical records of seniors, extends the statute of limitations on certain elder abuse crimes (including theft and robbery) from two years to six years, and removes the ability to expunge these crimes from a person’s criminal record.

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