Shift Could Save State Budget Dollars

10.06.2011
Issues & Policies

Connecticut could save budget dollars and still provide quality care for at-risk people by placing more individuals in privately operated group homes versus public facilities. 

A new report by the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee says that in 2010, the average cost to care for an individual at the state’s Southbury Training School was $321,983, compared with an average cost of about $168,786 per individual in a private facility. 

The findings match those of the Connecticut Regional Institute for the 21st Century, the Commission on Nonprofit Health and Human Services and others who have recommended changes to how the state provides certain services by relying more on cost-effective and quality nonprofit providers. 

The legislative committee launched its study to determine whether the private sector could provide services comparable to those of the Department of Social Services “at some fraction of DDS costs.”

Connecticut’s dual system of public and private provision of community residential services is under increased cost strain because of the state’s budget crisis, says the committee.

The committee found, for example, “a substantial difference in the average hourly wage of direct care workers in DDS compared to those employed by private providers.”

In most cases the cost difference between the state and nonprofit providers is so large, said the Commission on Nonprofit Health and Human Services, that even if the wages, benefits and costs of care were increased among nonprofits, as the group recommended, substantial taxpayer savings would remain.

Lawmakers should continue to explore ways to streamline state government and save taxpayer dollars. Recommendations of the committee and others can help achieve those goals.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Pete Gioia at 860.244.1945 pete.gioia@cbia.com. 

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