• Report outlines plans to improve services for people with developmental disabilities

    April 05, 2012 No comments

    Indiana’s Division of Developmental Disabilities and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) issued a report outlining several proposed changes designed to improve services, contain costs, and reduce the wait list for services for people with developmental disabilities (DD). The DD stakeholder Workgroup, a panel of advocacy and provider groups and DDRS leadership, targeted three goals: 

    • Increasing employment for persons with disabilities
    • Keeping the family unit together longer
    • Serving high-cost/high-needs individuals appropriately and cost-effectively

    Last year, the Indiana General Assembly charged DDRS to identify ways to control program costs without limiting services. In response, DDRS convened the stakeholder Workgroup whose members included The Arc of Indiana, Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Indiana Association of Behavioral Consultants, Indiana Professional Management Group, and Self-Advocates of Indiana. The group spent several months evaluating Indiana’s DD service delivery systems.

    The Workgroup report highlights a series of recommendations including the restructuring of how Indiana provides and pays for DD services.  The Workgroup’s recommendation to adopt a market-driven service delivery pricing structure is expected to save the state money and significantly reduce the number of people waiting for services. “We listened to, and are acting upon, suggestions offered by our advocacy partners,” said Shane Spotts, DDRS director. “These proposals will positively impact the DD community in very significant ways.”

    Participating advocacy and provider groups were similarly encouraged. “We are optimistic that the elements contained in these proposals will provide for a fresh approach that rewards creativity and outcomes, and keeps the door open for thousands of individuals on the wait list,” said Jim Hammond, president & CEO, Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.

    The Workgroup also recommended changes to redesign the Supports Services Waiver to provide a wider range of resources to help families care for their loved ones at home and allow DD individuals to remain a part of their communities. “As a self-advocate, it was good to be part of this experience. I was able to listen and put my opinions in,” said Melody Cooper, president, Self-Advocates of Indiana. “I was able to represent self-advocates and let people know how we feel as people with disabilities.”

    The Workgroup’s recommendations also addressed lowering the unemployment rate for individuals with developmental disabilities. An increase in employment will mean more individuals are contributing their skills and talents to the workforce and becoming valuable members of their respective communities.

    The Arc of Indiana expressed its confidence in the Workgroup’s report and recommendations. “While hard work remains, we believe the proposed changes hold great promise,” said John Dickerson, executive director, The Arc of Indiana. “Our goals are to see more people with developmental disabilities in the work force, and a stronger network of supports to help families who care for their sons and daughters at home.  The state’s goals to improve employment opportunities and create a waiver that will help families move off years-long wait lists are steps in the right direction.”

    Posted by in Local News

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