We are fortunate that Summit County offers a variety of great supports for people with developmental disabilities. We have a selection of services and more than 200 service providers for individuals to choose from. With that large selection comes questions like, how do I find the service provider that is right for me, or how do I get started? Below is a guide to help put you on the path to finding providers that are right for you.
Where should you start when looking for a provider?
First of all, it’s important to point out that your SSA (Service and Support Administrator) is the perfect starting point no matter who you are or where you on your journey. Whether you are new to Summit DD, your needs have changed, or you are just looking to change providers, your SSA is the starting point to guide you through the process of connecting with new providers.
“It all starts with the person-centered plan,” explained SSA Director, Holly Brugh. “Our SSAs work with individuals and their teams to really pinpoint which direction a person is ready to go, and then put that information into a plan to get them there.”
A person-centered plan uses assessment tools that help you and your team uncover your goals. These goals are used to create a plan that has actionable steps and measurable outcomes. This processes takes place at least once a year, or more often if needed. Explore more about ISPs on our site.
If your annual ISP identifies the need for new services or the desire to change providers, your SSA will use the information from your ISP to begin the search for potential service providers. Details from your ISP will help providers understand who you are, what type of services you are looking for, and whether or not they match your needs and preferences about how those services are delivered.
For instance, you may be looking for a transportation provider. Rather than posting that you are looking for just any transportation provider, it’s helpful to offer details that are important to you – details will ultimately help connect you to a service provider more suited to you. In our example, if you specify that you are looking for a transportation provider that is non-smoking due to allergies or one that doesn’t play loud music due to a sensitivity to sound, you can narrow your search of providers to those that will be a better match for your preferences. There are any number of things that might be important to you, which is why letting your team know and including it in your person-centered ISP is so important.
Selecting a provider that is right for you
Once your SSA posts your request for services on the provider referral portal – with the specifics that are important to you – providers will begin to respond. Your SSA will then work with the Referral Support Specialist (RSS) during this process to ensure that the responses meet your needs or preferences before passing those responses along to you. The RSS is also available to help provide support as you begin to interview potential providers too.
“One of the questions we are frequently asked is ‘what should I ask a provider?’” shared Joe Jordan, Summit DD Referral Support Specialist. “We can help create a list of possible interview questions specific to the service that individuals and families are looking for that will help during the interview and selection process.”
Jordan pointed out that there are a number of common questions that people should consider asking when interviewing potential providers, such as questions about certification and safety. Your SSA or RSS can help you compile a list of questions that cover the general areas of a provider’s service, as well as those that are specific to you needs. “Our goal is to help people find the provider that fits them,” he explained. “And asking the right questions is a good way to narrow your choices.”
Ultimately, you determine which service provider is right for you, but you don’t have to do it alone. Summit DD is here to help you through the provider selection process and give you the tools you need to make informed decisions about your services. Just contact us, we’re happy to assist you.
Looking to find a new provider? Contact your SSA.
Still have questions? Contact Us.