Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Setting the Record Straight

I’ve been writing this blog for nine months now, and I find there are things that don’t look completely accurate anymore.  Since I want to give out correct information, in this post I want to provide a few updates:

  • In several posts I’ve said that the closeout of the  Evans lawsuit was nearly complete.  In September I said it was only months away, but things are unfortunately moving more slowly than expected.  In her most recent budget testimony Laura Nuss specified that DDS still has six of the 70 so-called “outcome criteria” to resolve before the case will be closed.  Nuss says she has made a commitment to the new mayor, and she likewise promised the council last month, that this will happen by fiscal year 2016 (which will run from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016).   Immense progress has been made over the past year on this 39-year-old lawsuit, but unfortunately the time has not yet come for court oversight of D.C. disability services to be lifted.

  • I’ve also spoken a number of times about a new waiver, the Individual and Family Services (IFS) waiver, which would provide more flexible in-home supports than the current waiver does.  (This wouldn’t change the eligibility requirement of intellectual disability.)  There’s mostly been silence on this waiver for months now, but the last I heard DDS was going to turn its attention back to it once the state transition plan on compliance with the federal rule on home and community based waivers had been submitted (see March 10, “Why Friday the 13th Matters”).  The transition plan went to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in March, so I hope we’ll be hearing soon about progress on the IFS waiver.  If someone from DDS can provide an update, feel free to comment in response to this post!

  • I’d also like to provide some clarification about my own information concerning the likely number of people with developmental disabilities living in D.C.  In “The Way Ahead,” January 26, I used the proportion of Americans with developmental disabilities nationwide to estimate that there should be around 10,000 D.C. citizens with a developmental disability.  Since then I’ve become aware of a report commissioned by DDS and the DDC in 2011 that approached this in a more analytical way and came up with a number closer to 9,300.  Just this week I’ve heard from a local disability group that the number probably falls within a range of 8000-10,000 D.C. citizens.  Even though the overall number may turn out to be slightly lower than the 10,000 I estimated – we really don’t know what the right number is – and even though not all of those people would require Medicaid waiver services, it’s a long way between any of these numbers and the less than 1700 people now getting services from DDA under the waiver.