Is it the End of the Beginning...
or the Beginning of the End?
ARE YOU ONE?
Did you know? 809 Family Living Providers are destined to be OUT OF WORK in the next 12 months? That's right, 809!
Why? Plain and Simple...the SIS Test!
There are currently 343 individuals who have been assigned SIS Group "A" and 466 individuals who have been assigned to SIS Group "B", comprising a total of 809 DD Waiver recipients.
In 2012 it was announced by the Developmental Disability Supports Division (the DDSD) in Santa Fe, that individuals receiving a letter group of "A" or "B", would NO longer receive Family Living (see more below).
Are you one of them? Truth be told, this number represents nearly 30% of all DD Waiver recipients who have had a SIS Test to date.
On March 11, 2013, CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), approved the application for New Mexico's DD Waiver program.
The "new" DD Waiver was approved to go into effect as early as April 1, 2013 however, it is anticipated that DDSD (the Developmental Disability Supports Division, the State agency responsible for the DD Waiver) will begin implementation of the cuts and changes to the program beginning May 1, 2013.
What does this mean to you? As an individual on the DD Waiver, it almost certainly means a reduction in services depending on your score and resultant grouping from the "SIS" (Supports Intensity Scale) Test. To learn more, be sure to click our link (to the left) titled: "The SIS Test".
If you receive Family Living and, if after your SIS Test you are scored and then grouped into a category of "A" or "B", you will LOSE your Family Living services. You will be transitioned to a newly renamed program known as "Customized In-Home Supports". That "transition" alone will represent anywhere from a 60 to 75% loss in Provider-Household income, not to mention it becomes YOUR responsibility to find others to pick up the slack as "natural supports" to provide your residential assistance, whether that be someone to provide help while your former Provider moves into today's workforce or you require supports for outings, transportation or just to get through your day. The only "good news" here is that you will NOT be required to move out of your home, unless YOU choose to.
If you provide Substitute Care to a DD Waiver recipient, the total annual service hours you can provide (once the individual you support moves on to the "new" waiver"), are cut* from 1,000 to 750 hours per year. Granted 750 hours is "3 weeks", however, it seems there are few Providers that can actually take "3 weeks" off at a time (as in a vacation) and probably there are far fewer Providers that get "3 weeks" off, without supporting their individual at some point in that time...hence, it really isn't "3 weeks" off?
Substitute Care should be used just as importantly to give Providers time-off, away from the individual(s) they support, as it is to give individuals the opportunity to get out in the community away from their Provider. Too much "constant contact" with anyone, be that a spouse, loved one, employer, employee, whomever, is simply NOT healthy. Cutting Substitute Care only furthers the burden Providers already experience.
You are likely to lose therapy services as well as therapy hours in nearly all of the letter categories being assigned to groups resulting from the SIS Test and even if you don't lose those therapy services or hours today, you will likely lose them at some point over the next three years.
The DDSD (Developmental Disability Supports Division, the State agency responsible for the DD Waiver), and the DOH (Department of Health, which oversees the DDSD) for State of New Mexico contend the cuts to these and nearly every other aspect of DD Waiver service i.e., Day Programs, Supported Employment, Supported Living and the like, were necessary to address the programs "unsustainability". This has been an ongoing argument and was the basis of program cuts to paychecks and budgets in January, 2010.
Most concerning is the position the State of New Mexico has taken regarding "unsustainability". DD Waiver Direct Service Providers received a 5% across the board pay cut and every DD Waiver recipient's budget was cut 8%. All this to address the "unsustainability" issue in early 2010. As pay for Family Living Providers has not been raised in ten (10) years, and now cut twice, it is difficult to believe the Family Living program is the culprit.
And what's to say after all these cuts, the DD Waiver won't reach "unsustainability" again...and again...and again?
After all, there are still 6,000 families on the massive (and continually growing), WAITING LIST!
*In a September 13, 2012 presentation to the Disability Concerns Subcommittee, the DDSD (Developmental Disability Supports Division, the State agency responsible for the DD Waiver), reported Substitute Care hours were increased from 500 hours to 750, which is not true. The hours are being cut from 1,000 to 750 per year.