Note: These talking points are important and timely however each organization must develop its own strategy for communicating with legislators and policy makers. Staff members should always check with the Executive Director (or equivalent staff leader) and the top staff person should in turn develop their strategy in consultation with their Board of Directors. Happy Advocating!
The following information is from a Connecticut Community Providers Association Press release that was shared at the most recent meeting of the Valley Council on Health and Human Services. Although these points were erroneously attributed to the VCHHS in a recent message to all GNH Community members they are still great talking point for anyone from the field who is planning to speak to state officials and legislators about budget or policy changes. You should feel free to pull bullets from this sheet to create a one page that captures what you’d like to say.
- As an industry community providers serve nearly 500,000 of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
- We provide essential human services that keep people out of emergency rooms, hospitals, emergency shelters and prisons. Our work plays a vital role by serving as the safety net for many of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.
- For more over 20 years, community providers have maintained a high level quality services despite the fact that we have never received adequate funding from the state.
- As the Medical Consumer Price Index has grown by over 200 %, the funding to cover costs of services for community providers has only increased 33%. That is an average funding increase of 1%, while staffing costs (wages and insurance) and the costs to run residential and clinical services (including food and fuel) have gone up exponentially.
- Community providers are facing challenges on multiple front:
- -State funding has been reduced
- Private fundraising has gone down due
- Community foundations are facing increased demands and are reducing funding
- Costs for healthcare and other costs of doing business are going up
- Connecticut’s budget problems do not lessen the demand placed on community based providers of human services. In fact, just the opposite occurs. In difficult economic times, demand for our services increase significantly.
- We need to maintain current service levels and preserve the safety net. We need to work to address the long-term system needs and provide consistent and stable funding increases to maintain a stable and viable community-based human service system.
- As policy makers grapple with this historic fiscal crisis, COMMUNITY PROVIDERS ARE A KEY PART OF THE SOLUTION.
- We provide alternatives to more costly and restrictive systems of care including institutional care, emergency rooms, inpatient hospital stays and the Corrections and Judicial systems. With adequate funding we can continue to provide basic health and human services in local communities in a cost effective and efficient way.
- Any funding cuts to community-based human services will be SHORT-TERM FIXES WITH SIGNIFICANT LONG-TERM COSTS.
- Connecticut’s community providers are committed to working with legislative leaders so that we can address immediate needs and develop a long-term strategy for adequately funding the community provider system and maintain a strong safety net for Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.