State budget cuts would be devastating to persons with disabilities, eliminate Helena Industries, and cost our communities.
Posted on October 19, 2017
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Helena Industries is a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to empowering persons with disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives in their communities. We reach our objective by providing training, work opportunities, and case management services to over 900 persons statewide. For over 45 years, Helena Industries has partnered with local business owners and government agencies to generate skill building employment opportunities that benefit both the individual and the community. The proposed elimination of Medicaid funded targeted case management for persons with disabilities, and reduction in funding for both Extended Employment and Developmental Disability Services would drastically reduce the opportunities Helena Industries is able to provide and devastate the lives of the population we serve.
At our vocational campus in Helena, we directly provide jobs and job training opportunities for a segment of the population that would otherwise have extreme difficulty finding and maintaining employment. We provide employment through a variety of businesses that include: textile products, wood products, janitorial services, document destruction, electronic recycling, mailing services, and a retail thrift store. Helena Industries has well-established methods that serve a diverse population accommodating person individual interest and abilities.
Many persons with disabilities or in recovery from an illness or medical condition have the opportunity to work on our campus and in the community. Extended employment, another of our key programs, provides support to individuals in partnership with local businesses to overcome challenges that may otherwise limit their employment. Each month, we find new partners through our community who make a commitment to employ persons with disabilities. Extended employment allows for an ongoing relationship from teaching job skills, assistance with the interview, and ongoing support on the job.
Through our offices in Anaconda, Bozeman, Butte, and Great Falls, our twenty-six case managers serve over 700 people in communities large and small throughout southwestern and central Montana every year. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), the individuals we serve, and their families have entrusted us to provide these services. Our caring case managers are absolutely dedicated to being independent, neutral advocates for those we serve. This includes creating and implementing Medicaid plans to ensure services are coordinated to serve the individual effectively while providing critical oversight to ensure state and federal dollars are used effectively.
Case Managers develop and monitor cost plans, facilitate plans of care, help with crisis intervention, conduct need assessments, and documentation of all services provided under the Medicaid waiver. Case management services are a practical, far less costly way to prevent crises from occurring rather than shifting the responsibility to emergency response teams and putting out the fires afterward. Retroactive responses to crises increase the cases of emergency medical services, corrections, and other institutional situations significantly increasing the consequences for the individual and raising the overall cost of the assistance needed.
The proposed cuts to DPHHS would eliminate the opportunities we provide for all 900 persons we employ and serve through case management, extended employment, and on our vocational campus. The cuts would eliminate critical services and devastate standing organizations. Any savings from these proactive, inclusive services through case management and supported vocational opportunities will hurt countless individuals striving to live in and work in our community. These opportunities empower individuals, provide a safety net and play a critical role in reducing traumatic and costly instances such as incarceration and emergency medical care.
Please contact your local legislators. Let them know you support case management, extended employment, and the community organizations across the state helping persons with disabilities be part of our community.
The Helena Industries Board of Directors
Andy Utick, Chair, Andrea Fox, Immediate Past Chair, Chuck Siefert, Vice President, Ryan Stavnes, Secretary, Deanna Tierney, Treasurer, Jane Smillie, Michael Brandt, Josh Romandia
How to be involved? Visit www.leg.mt.gov or call (406) 444-3064 to contact Montana Legislators, the Governor, and our State Delegation. Write a letter to the editor sharing your support for maintaining critical services for Montanan’s such as case management. Share your concern with friends and neighbors.