We Are Morrow DD
Morrow County acknowledged and accepted the responsibility of providing the services and programs needed by its citizens with disabilities many years ago. In 1958, seven dedicated parents and interested individuals established a non-profit organization. Local industries, churches and other interested groups conducted a public education program for individuals with disabilities. The program outgrew its first location in an annex of the First Baptist Church in Mount Gilead and moved to a house in front of the HPM Division of the Koehring Company. That house is now the Morrow County Credit Union and a coatrack still hangs in the entrance way with students’ names etched into the wood. With the passage of an operating levy in 1964 and Senate Bill 169 in 1967, the transformation to the Morrow County Board of Developmental Disabilities began. The need for services beyond school-age educational programs led to the creation of an adult activity center in 1971, providing continuing education focused on vocational training.
Morrow DD has experienced many changes over the past 60 years. Expansion to serve the growing demands of an advancing population led to separate buildings for children, adults and seniors. In 1999, the Board of DD took advantage of a state grant to renovate and expand its current building, the Whetstone Center. Just a few years later, school-age services transitioned to pre-school, and Early Intervention programs for infants and toddlers began, as families chose the inclusion opportunities public education provided. The misunderstandings around this transition led to the Board losing community support, connection and awareness within the community. As a result, the Board of DD made significant budget and staffing cuts to its programs, closing two buildings and suspending Early Intervention, community support and job coaching services.
Morrow DD staff and board members remained committed to maintaining the support for the core services that individuals with disabilities desperately needed while strengthening their efforts in communication, awareness and transparency. With the passage of a replacement levy in 2014, Morrow DD was able to restore Early Intervention services and therapies and began to address the urgent needs for residential supports and services.
Ohio was notified in 2014 that it must meet federal mandates from the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to ensure conflict-free case management (Service and Support/SSA services). County Boards are responsible to provide monitoring services and are also a primary funding source, which can contribute to the potential for conflict of interest. As a result, county boards can no longer provide direct services and must transition all Adult Day, Community and Transportation Services to qualified private providers. Most counties have completed this process. Morrow DD’s primary goal in meeting this compliance was to complete the transition in a manner that avoided any negative impact to the individuals that were directly served by the county board. We established a goal of December 31, 2021 to cease providing direct services to adults.
Morrow DD completed a formal Request For Qualifications process in 2021 and MARCA, Inc., of Marion, Ohio was selected as the qualified private provider for services at Whetstone Industries. MARCA is also the private provider for Marion County DD and is a Medicaid certified provider with a good history. All individuals who participated in services at Whetstone Industries were provided with the Free Choice of Provider process to ensure their individual choices were honored. Other Adult Day providers who currently provided Day services to Morrow County residents were included in that choice process. This process was also followed for transportation and community services. All Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) employed by the county board were given the opportunity to meet with MARCA leadership and all were extended employment offers. Employees who transitioned from county board public employment to the same or similar positions due to this privatization process are given the opportunity to continue in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) so they may continue with their retirement plans. The adult services transition does not reduce the funding needed by county boards to support people with developmental disabilities. Local levy funds received by Morrow DD provide nearly 100% of the cost for non-Medicaid services and the matching funds, at approximately 40% of the cost, for Medicaid (waiver) funded services. The funding for Adult Day services when privatized basically moves from paying direct expenses in our budget, like salaries, benefits and supplies, to our waiver match and locally funded expenses
Morrow County is a very caring community and while it is important to understand and learn from the past, we look forward to an even brighter future. Morrow DD is dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities and promises to do all that is possible to provide them with opportunities to lead fulfilling, productive, engaging and happy lives! We remain committed to our vision:
We will support individuals with developmental disabilities throughout their lives by
- embracing individuality and personal choice,
- developing community opportunities, and
- fostering relationships
We strive to uphold the following core values:
- Ensure that health and well-being come first
- Be good stewards of the public’s trust and money
- Do our job to the best of our ability and value those who do it differently
- Imagine new possibilities and strive to be better
- Own our actions and conduct ourselves ethically and professionally
- Promote our valuable mission with others throughout the county
The growing relationships between the individuals and their families supported by the county board and our partner providers has provided momentum for us to proudly say, “We Are Morrow DD!”