Summit DD Announces Final Plans to Comply With Federal Mandate

Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, began its transition plan, Our Journey Forward, more than 18 months ago.  This plan ensures the Agency complies with Federal Medicaid rules to offer more inclusive programs and to eliminate the conflict of interest that occurs with the County Board as both a provider of service and a funder and coordinator of those same services.

Last January the Agency released a detailed timeline to eliminate the conflict of interest by gradually transitioning individuals from Summit DD provided adult day, transportation and community employment programs to private providers.

Timeline Update

Summit DD successfully transitioned all individuals attending its Akron Center to private providers of their choice by June 2016.  The Agency collaborated with staff, families and individuals to make this transition for more than 70 people as seamless as possible.

“We are pleased to report that through follow up calls, families and individuals are completely satisfied with their new providers,” Summit DD Superintendent, John Trunk commented about the process.

While some individuals transitioned from a workshop to community employment, many individuals transitioned to a program very similar to what they received from Summit DD.  “Our goal has been, and remains to be, to replace each person’s service with something better than they currently have by listening to their goals and needs,” continued Trunk.

The Agency is on schedule to transition individuals who attend Summit DD’s Ellet and Southern Centers, Dream Out Loud Studio, and some Community Employment programs to private providers by June 30, 2017.

Summit DD has worked over the last 18 months to increase capacity among private providers in Summit County, including current and new providers.  With new service options available, enrollment in the Agency’s programs has decreased at a faster rate than anticipated.

The Agency is poised to come into compliance with the federal mandate by the end of 2018, ahead of the 2022 mandate.  Individuals will transition from Summit DD’s Tallmadge Center to private providers by June 30, 2018.  By December 30, 2018, Summit DD’s Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls Center, remaining Community Employment Programs and remaining transportation routes will phase out as individuals select new providers.

Summit DD Buildings & Staff

To date, Summit DD has been able to accomplish the transition with minimal impact to staff.  However, if the Agency does not experience enough voluntary turnover, up to 51 full-time staff and 1 part-time staff may be impacted by a layoff effective July 9, 2017.

“We recognize that it is our staff who are ultimately responsible for the successful transition of individuals to other providers,” acknowledged Trunk. “We appreciate that and are committed to supporting them as much as possible as the Agency changes.”

“Summit DD will continue to maintain a presence in our Tallmadge, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls locations as our work continues to create inclusive communities in Summit County,” reiterated Trunk.  “We will work with the County on the future use of our remaining sites.”

Looking Ahead

“As we look ahead, we must focus on leading the way in building inclusive communities for people of all abilities,” explained Trunk. “With that focus on inclusion, there are several areas in the organization that continue to grow.”

Summit DD will once again ask tax payers to renew its operating levy in November 2017.  The operating levy is not a new tax and is vital to continue empowering adults and children with disabilities and to making communities more inclusive.

The Agency continues to provide and grow services for kids and families with special needs.  Services such as early intervention support for children through age six, support for community day care providers, and working with community organizations to make places we play and learn accessible for all are funded using local levy dollars.

Summit DD provides case management services by listening to the unique needs and aspirations of individuals and connecting them to paid and natural supports.  These supports empower people to achieve their own vision of success with where they work, where they live and a way to get back and forth.  Local levy dollars are used to match federal funds for the provision of these vital services.

Summit DD continues to grow its monitoring and oversight by building capacity in the community for the types of services people need.  The Agency identifies best practices in service provision, training providers, and provide quality assurance oversight.  It investigates unusual incidents in a person’s life ranging from an unscheduled hospitalization to abuse or neglect, understanding why these events occur and reduce the chance of them occurring again.

“Above all, it’s important to remember that Summit DD is not going away,” stated Trunk. “We believe communities are better when they include citizens of all abilities and will continue to connect people with disabilities to supports that empowers each individual to contribute to their own success and to that of their community.”

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