Update on Waivers for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Gayle Stortz
Scholarship Lead

Virginia is in the process of redesigning three of the waivers currently in place for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities I/DD).  The Intellectual Disability (ID), Developmental Disabilities (DD) and Day Supports waivers will become the Community Living, Family and Individual Supports and Building Independence waivers.  The redesign incorporates elements of an 2013  study by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development contractor, along with stakeholder feedback, new federal requirements, and  the settlement agreement between Virginia and the United States Department of Justice based on the Olmstead vs. L.C. decision which requires states to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to live and receive services in the community instead of in institutions. 

To address stakeholder desires for a single eligibility criterion and a more fair way to determine supports needs that would qualify an individual for a waiver slot, the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) will be used across the state for determining support needs of individuals on all three I/DD waivers.  A new rate structure for various services is being proposed to assure more consistency across the state, as well as across waivers.  

Data reviewed in October 2015 indicates that there are currently over 10,000 individuals on the combined waiver waiting lists.  The hope is that this revamp will increase the number of individuals served and reduce the numbers on this list.  Through this process, individuals with intellectual disabilities should be served in more integrated settings for training, employment and living. Planning will be person centered and based on individual needs.  

Funding continues to be the biggest barrier for making these changes come to fruition.  Originally, the intent was that the conversion to the new waivers would begin January 2016.  Now the hope is that this will happen by July 2016.  Concerns regarding the funding of the waivers should be addressed through your legislative representatives.  

Sources:

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-obtains-comprehensive-ada-agreement-regarding-commonwealth-virginia-s

http://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/individuals-and-families/developmental-disabilities/my-life-my-community

Interview: D. Parker. Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Oct. 2015