Requests for disability services on the rise in county

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

Social Services Director Brad Vold and Social Services Supervisor Paul Bukovich, outlined for the Morrison County Commissioners the services and support available to disabled persons.

So far in 2014, the requests for some of the services have increased nearly 100 percent.

“Morrison County provides and arranges services and supports for persons with disabilities which help people meet their basic needs so they can live in dignity and achieve their highest potential,” Bukovich said during the Tuesday meeting.

“There are many conditions that are considered disabling. They are broken into two categories: developmental disabilities and long-term care. The funding for these services is a combination of county and state and federal (waivers services) dollars,” Bukovich said.

A developmental disability is define as a severe, chronic disability which: originated at birth or during childhood, is expected to continue indefinitely and substantially restricts the individual’s functioning in several major life activities.

Bukovich explained developmental disabilities are also defined to include individuals with an IQ of 70 and under. Examples of developmental disabilities include autism, behavior disorders, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, mental retardation and spina bifida.

Currently, 233 persons with developmental disabilities are served in Morrison County.

“This number has remained steady from 2012 thus far through 2014. However from 2011 through 2013, there has been an almost 50 percent increase in requests for Developmental Disability services,” said Bukovich. “Thus far in 2014 we have seen almost a 100 percent increase in requests for Developmental Disability services, for only the first half of the year.”

Long-term care covers all of the other disabling conditions from chronic medical issues, physically disabling conditions, acquired brain injury and some mental health conditions for both children and adults.

At present, 75 people are receiving long-term care services.

“We have seen a significant increase in the access and costs to long-term care services for children with mental health and behavioral health issues,” Bukovich said.

Examples of the county’s services to help people meet their basic needs and to remain in their community include: adult day care, behavioral support, chore service, customized living, family training and counseling, foster care, home delivered meals, respite, transportation, etc.

Funding for these services is available based on financial eligibility, and functional need. Functional need is determined by a risk assessment which defines the person’s needs and, their risk for institutional level of care.

In 2013, Morrison County budgeted $307,550, in county dollars for developmental disability services. For 2014, $333,750, which is approximately a 25 percent increase, was budgeted.

“This is directly related to the increase in the number of requests for developmental disability services as well as increased costs for those services,” Bukovich said. “Morrison County’s waiver services budget for developmental disability services is $8.354 million in state and federal dollars. There is a total budget of $8.699 million to provide for persons eligible for developmental disability services.”

Morrison County’s total budget for long-term care services in 2014 is $4.227 million.

Anyone who wants more information may contact Morrison County Social Services at (320) 632-2951.

Morrison County Board Briefs

In other business Tuesday, the Morrison County Commissioners:

•Approved a professional agreement with the Little Falls Airport Commission, and Mead and Hunt Inc. to provide an environmental assessment and planning services for the proposed land acquisition near the airport;

•Approved conditional use permits for: Marvin Tretter to rezone a portion of agricultural property to commercial for the purpose of a billboard; Federated Co-ops to expand an existing bulk facility; David and Joann Voller to expand to a Tier II feedlot; Melvin and Brenda VanHeel to expand a shoreland residential Tier I feedlot, and Leslie Russell-Martin to expand an existing mental health facility;

•Approved filling a public health nurse position in the Public Health Department;

•Approved a tax abatement on parcel of tax forfeited property;

•Approved an exempt permit for the Hillman Area Whitetail Management Association to hold a raffle Dec. 6 at the Brothers Porky Pine Bar and Grill; and

•Awarded a contract to Marvin Tretter Inc. for culvert repair on County Road 235 in the amount of $221,349.

The next regular meeting of the Morrison County Commissioners will be held Tuesday, July 22, at 9 a.m.