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OHI and Public Policy

Public Policy

Through its advocacy and public education activities, OHI promotes sound polices and partnerships that create opportunities for people with disabilities to live and work in their communities.

In addition to representing OHI as a member of many local, state, and national groups that exist to affect public policy, CEO Bonnie-Jean Brooks has been actively involved in a variety of policy-making committees and commissions — and other efforts — including work as a/an ANCOR board member for 21 years, including four years as vice president for public policy and four years as board president. During her tenure, Bonnie attended hearings in Washington, D.C. to advise and inform Congress and various congressional committees about Medicaid, housing, wage and hour issues, OSHA, and SSA/SSI.

Advocate for Free-Standing Day Habilitation — a Medicaid program that provides funding so people can learn skills necessary for employment — working with Senators Olympia Snowe and George Mitchell to convince Congress to grandfather this program. Recently, the State eliminted this program.

Advocate for updated life-safety codes — for both homes and places of employment — working with Senator George Mitchell.

Advocate for the release of federal Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Mental Retardation (ICF/MR) rules that had been in draft form for years so they could replace the existing, antiquated rules.

Supporter of the ANCOR National Advocacy Campaign and as an advocate for state and federal wage fairness for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), the dedicated people who provide a wide range of support services to people with disabilities every day, so they can live and work in their communities.

Former Chair of the Medicaid sub-committee of ANCOR.

Speaker to the U.S. Medicaid Advisory Commission, which made recommendations to Congress about Medicaid funding cuts.

Liaison with editorial boards and the media in an effort to influence state public policy, most recently about the state's plan to place all mental health services under a managed care model.

Advocate for resolution to the negative implications of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit for people who receive both Medicaid and Medicare, meeting with Senator Michaud as well as representatives of the offices of Governor Baldacci, Senator Snowe and Senator Collins.