A Message From JOHN C. BRAUER, M.A. President and CEO – April 2023

The Final Rule

Dear Friends and Supporters,

There’s a lot going on both the state and national level related to the disability field. Here in California, the Little Hoover Commission (LHC), which is an independent state oversight agency, is reviewing the California’s Department of Developmental Services system (DDS). The Commission is looking at current disparities in service access, the causes of the disparities, and how the state may address these challenges. Next the LHC will provide recommendations on how the state government can improve the consistency and timeliness of service delivery for the individuals and their families who are in the system. The Commission conducted public hearings and roundtable discussions in October and November.

Pathways to Advocacy further reported that the Association of Regional Centers (ARCA) submitted a letter to the Little Hoover Commission with their ideas, which cover topics including examining family fees, eliminating the requirement families appeal denials from general resources to letting social recreation be easier to use, and updating regional center funding calculations. The letter goes on to provide specifics on:

● Systemic barriers – challenges in navigating the system including accessing generic services, statute to use the least-costly vendor, median rates, and family fees
● System capacity – overall funding, high caseloads, inadequate service provider network, and data needs
● Racial, ethnic, and linguistic equity initiatives – equity data, equity grants, individualized services, and flexibilities in social recreation
● Opportunities for Greater Consistency across regional centers in the areas of family supports, website transparency, vendorization process, and intake

In other news, I’m pleased to report that New Horizons is in compliance with the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule, which went into effect on March 17, 2023. The Final Rule states that individuals have full access to the benefits of community programs and services, and that Members receive services in the most integrated setting possible.) HCBS  mandates were developed to offer support to individuals in community settings, as an alternative to more sheltered care. In 2014, new federal rules were released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requiring homes and programs where HCBS are delivered to meet new criteria. Everyone who receives, or provides, HCBS services may be affected by the CMS Final Rule. The guidance can be found here: https://www.medicaid.gov/Federal-Policy-Guidance/Downloads/smd20003.pdf. While we currently meet the requirements, this will be an on-going change as agencies like NH continue to find innovate ways to create great inclusion in the community.

Wishing each of you a glorious spring!

With respect,