DHS clarifies rumor on ODHHS Bill, SB 795

From: WEIDANZ Jane-Ellen <Jane-Ellen.WEIDANZ@dhsoha.state.or.us>
Date: Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 5:42 PM
Subject: Rumor Clarification

Hello All,

I have recently heard a rumor popping up that the ODHHS program is not "permanent" and may be at risk of funding cuts.  I wanted to assure you that this is NOT the case.

I think the confusion may be the discussion about the proposed legislation that changes language in section 2 of the Oregon Revised Statute that change the word "may" to "shall" and expands the services that ODHHS would provide.  This proposed change does not mean that ODHHS is not permanent part of state government.  That is established in section 1 of the statute.  It would take proactive steps by the legislature to eliminate or the courts to invalidate this statute.  I have not seen any such effort.  So the program is safe regardless of the outcome of specific proposed changes.

Additionally, I do not believe there is any cause for concern about the budget for 2019-2021.  DHS and APD are committed to supporting ODHHS including maintaining the increased level of staffing we have provided this biennium.  APD has not suggested any cuts to the program nor have any been requested by the Legislature.  While there may be some cuts to the APD budget, none of those cuts are likely to come from ODHHS.  Usually the Legislature asks agencies for potential cuts and accepts some or all of those cuts.  APD did not add any ODHHS funding to our list of potential cuts.  It would be extremely unusual for the legislature to ask us to cut a program that we did not include in the Reduction List.

Overall, I think we are in a good place with a permanent program and solid budget.  Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Jane-ellen Weidanz

DHS, Aging and People with Disabilities

Long Term Services and Supports Policy Administrator