Summit DD Presents Plan to Evolve and Adapt to State-Mandated Changes

(Tallmadge, Ohio) – Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, is hosting a second set of community meetings to discuss its plan for adhering to state-mandated changes in how County Boards are permitted to provide services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the coming years.

Meetings are scheduled from 6 – 7 pm and are:

Monday, September 14 at the Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties

501 W. Market Street, Akron 44303

Wednesday, September 16 at The Natatorium

2345 4th Street, Cuyahoga Falls, 44221

Monday, September 21 at Barberton Public Library

602 W. Park Avenue, Barberton 44203

Several key issues are driving the reason for change in how Ohio’s system supports individuals with developmental disabilities.

In March 2014, the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) rules went into effect mandating that federal Medicaid funds can no longer be used to pay for Waiver services that have the effect of isolating people, such as in sheltered workshops and large group living settings. Further CMS said that the same organization providing case management services cannot also supply those recommended services without creating a conflict of interest.

In June 2015, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) announced that CMS had accepted the state’s plan of compliance regarding Conflict Free Case Management giving County Boards such as Summit DD until 2024 to come into compliance.  Summit DD believes the Agency is in a position to come into full compliance ahead of the 2024 deadline.

Due to the higher demand of Medicaid Waiver services and a decline in revenue, the Agency is forced to examine the efficiency of its operations to redistribute the budget to meet the needs of individuals on Waivers now and the expected growth in needs.  Waiver services include supports in an individual’s residential setting, a day program or employment supports, and transportation to and from where an individual goes during the day.

How the Key Issues will Impact Individuals Support by Summit DD

Currently Summit DD serves 4,000 adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Of the adults who receive support, only 40% use the Agency as a service provider for supports such as transportation and day services.  In order to be compliant with CMS guidelines by March 2024, Summit DD will no longer be able to provide Medicaid Waiver services, including day programs, employment support and transportation services.

Summit DD Service and Support Administrators, or SSAs, will continue to listen to what is important to people and focus on person-centered planning to provide choices to individuals about what they do and do not want including employment and integrated day activities.  Summit DD remains the primary community resource to connect individuals to more than 400 private providers who can meet their needs and monitor the quality of those services and supports.

Summit DD SSAs coordinate services needed around the clock throughout an individual’s lifetime.  Local levy dollars are used to ensure those wrap around services are available.  The average cost for an adult enrolled on an IO Waiver is $69,000 year.  Summit DD’s annual share of that cost is $26,373 for each person enrolled on a Waiver, regardless of who provides the services.  There are currently more than 1,000 adults funded through an IO Waiver.

“Our responsibility to ensure funding is available to support around the clock services for an individual’s lifetime is absolute,” stated Summit DD Superintendent John Trunk.  “The work we do during this transition will redistribute our budget to ensure that individuals have support needed to live a satisfying life fully integrated in the community.”

Trunk continues, “Summit DD is a mission-driven organization committed to connecting people to the community with natural and all-encompassing supports.  Having been on this path since the early 2000s with small day programs and other progressive approaches, we are in an acute position to fade out of our roll as direct service provider yet work tirelessly to ensure our persons served still get the services and programs they need.”

“We recognize that change to how things have been for years can be unsettling,” adds Board President Randy Briggs.  “The Board is committed to thoughtfully integrating these changes while staying consistent with the elevated expectations we have for ourselves as an organization.  We have been a resource for nearly 50 years and intend to be indefinitely. Absorbing these changes and rebalancing our fiscal objectives will see that we remain the primary supportive community resource that we are today.”

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