Transforming and Listening: Summit DD Hosts a Series of Community Meetings to Discuss Changes in Services and Listen to Concerns

Late September, nearly 150 people attended three community meetings throughout the county to learn how Summit DD will adapt to the changes called for by Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) and Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) in how Ohio will provide services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Several factors are key motivators in driving this change.  Recently DODD announced that CMS had accepted the state’s plan of compliance regarding Conflict Free Case Management, giving County Boards until 2024 to come into compliance.

“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 individuals still get the services and programs they need,” commented Summit DD Superintendent John Trunk at the meeting.

Currently Summit DD serves 4,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Of that number, 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 services that are funded through a Medicaid Waiver, including Transportation, Day Programs, and Community Employment.

To explain how changes will look, Superintendent Trunk emphasized that we are all in this together.  Trunk reviewed what we know, what will happen, and the Agency’s plan.

What we know

  • State and federal issues have been resolved
  • Conflict of Interest must be resolved within 9 years
  • Transition will likely occur faster in Summit County
  • Changes are statewide
  • Increased integration reflects a national movement

What will happen

  • More community integration, regardless of provider
  • Individuals at Akron Center will select other options or providers – of their choosing- by July of 2016
  • Gradual phase out of Board delivered day, employment and transportation services
  • Redistribution of resources
  • As good as we have been at delivering services, we will be even better at coordinating services for people

What this means

  • Summit DD will look differently to the public
  • Increased support and development of community providers
  • Increased quality assurance
  • Greater focus on helping individuals and their families find the “right fit”
  • Reassurance the Board will support every person on their life journey
  • Continue the path that early advocates created

“Above all, it is important to remember that Summit DD is not going away”.  “If you current get services from Summit DD you will continue to receive those services from another provider of your choice in a more integrated setting”, reminded Trunk.

In addition, Superintendent Trunk explained how the Agency will make fiscal adjustments to responsibly position itself as a community support for years to come.

After his presentation, Superintendent Trunk opened the floor to questions.  Some you might find helpful and interesting were:

What are other states doing?

All states who use federal funds are required to comply with the mandate from CMS to provide more integrated services for individuals who choose them.  Ohio is unique in that it uses a local county board system to administer federal medicaid dollars.  We have been learning about other state’s successes and opportunities for improvement as we implement a best practice model for community inclusion.

What will you do with the buildings that were designed for these purposes?

Many buildings are leased, such as Akron Center and Ellet.  While it’s too early to speculate about each specific building, the re-purposing of each building will discussed with each transition plan.  Some buildings are situated that may make sense for them to become a hub for integrated day services, others may serve as community use buildings, some may be sold.  Our buildings have always been open to the community and we will continue that practice into the future.

Check out our facts at-a-glance and frequently asked questions.

Our commitment is to be as inclusive as possible in walking through this system evolution with the employees, persons-served and their families.  We are happy to answer your question and we welcome your feedback.  Contact us or call our information line at 330-634-TALK (8255). And continue to check our blog for updates on how we are adapting and communicating changes through this transformation.

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