The closure of state operated group homes for the mentally retarded and drug rehabilitation facilities grabbed headlines the past few weeks, as Connecticut’s private nonprofit network warned state officials about a precarious trend.
They say while the state is increasingly turning to nonprofit providers to serve the mentally ill, mentally retarded, and other disabled individuals, it is failing to provide funding.
In an effort to drive the point home, the Connecticut Community Providers Association sent letters to Gov. M. Jodi Rell and legislative leaders earlier this week letting them know about how the nonprofits have faired these past two months without a state budget.
“With great effort, most have managed to get through July and August with reduced funding as budget negotiations continue,” Alyssa Goduti, vice president of public policy, wrote in this Aug. 12 letter. “As we approach September, it will become more difficult for providers to offer the same level care without proper funding.”
Since most of the community providers are nonprofits Goduti said they don’t operate with large cash reserves.
In a follow-up letter Goduti requested meetings with the commissioners of various agencies to discuss future funding needs. In a phone interview Friday Goduti said staff from the Department of Social Services and Department of Developmental Services have agreed to meet with the providers to discuss their funding issues.
She said she fears if a budget is not reached by the end of August funding to providers could be cut further.
At the end of July, providers were given one day notice that funding would be cut by as much as 20 percent during the month of August for certain programs.
“No business can operate effectively under such circumstances,” Goduti wrote. “It is very difficult to properly manage the healthcare of our clients when we are being faced with random budget cuts on short notice. We need direction and clarity on these issues as we try to meet our obligations to the clients we care for through contracts with your agency.”