Public Health Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING A STATE-WIDE WAITING LIST FOR RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENT FOR PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Public Health Committee
REASONS FOR BILL: This bill requires the Department of Developmental Services Commissioner to:
1. Develop and maintain one state-wide comprehensive residential waiting list for individuals with intellectual disability and update the list at least quarterly;
2. By July 2018, develop a five- and 10-year plan for each individual with intellectual disability who is eligible for DDS services and who has an individual plan from the department, and update the plans annually;
3. Starting by November 2018, annually complete a state-wide survey of such individuals and use the survey results to update the waiting list; and
4. Starting by December 2018, annually (a) review the survey results with the regional advisory councils and the council on developmental services and (b) report to the public health and appropriations committees on the survey results and the status of the waiting list.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Sen. Len Fasano: During the past offseason DDS meet with families to develop a consistent mechanism for families to be notified of their placement on the waiting list, their priority status and how to request a status change. SB 246 addresses these outstanding concerns and codifies them in statutes.
Sen. Cathy Osten: Supports the implementation of a state wide comprehensive waiting list for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This legislation will ensure that the lists are updated annually, organized geographically, identify qualifying priority services for all individuals, and have a 20 year projection for a state wide waiting list.
Jordan A. Scheff, Acting Commissioner of Department of Developmental Services: This proposal requires DDS to establish a state-wide comprehensive waiting list for residential placement for person with intellectual and developmental disabilities that (1) is updated annually, (2) organized geographically, (3) identifies and quantifies priority services for each individual, and (4) includes a twenty year projection of possible additions to the waiting list.
The quarterly Management Information Report presents data geographically by each of the DDS's three regions as well as statewide. Individuals are identified as:
● Individuals on the Residential Waiting List with an “Emergency” or “Priority 1” need for residential services
● Individuals on the Other Residential Needs List with an “Emergency” or Priority 1” need for additional residential services, and
● Individuals on the Residential Planning List with a “Priority 2” or “Priority 3” need for services.
As of September 30, 2016, there were 657 individuals living with their families or on their own who were on the waiting list for residential services with an assigned status of “Emergency” or “Priority 1.” From June 2012 to September 2016, the size of the residential waiting list increased from 612 to 657. Additionally, as of September 30, 2016, 304 individuals who were receiving some level of residential supports still had unmet needs and had an “Emergency” or “Priority 1” need for additional residential funding. Another 1,138 individuals were on the Residential Planning List with a Priority 2 or Priority 3 need for residential funding.
In 2016 the DDS recognized and acknowledged that the current method was complicated and difficult to explain. After much feedback from the involved parties on how to considered how information is presented, a team was put together to establish recommendations for clear streamlined categories and definitions for the DDs residential waiting list.
As a result of this project, a common sense approach was developed for categorizing and defining needs represented by the traditional residential waiting list.
Starting March 1, 2017, DDS began using the following new categories:
1. Future Needs: The individual or family's services and supports needs have been identified; however, the individual or family would decline additional supports if funding and services were available.
2. Urgent: The individual or family is requesting services and would immediately accept services, if funding and services were available.
3. Emergency: The individual is at imminent risk and needs supports and services immediately.
The new process will go a long way toward the stated purpose of the bill to better serve persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Shelagh McClure, Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities: Supports the concept of the bill but questions if there are enough funds currently available to support these new functions.
Molly Cole, Uconn Health: Supports the bills concepts, but request that the inclusion of a firm timeline for the closure Southbury Training School and the Regional Centers.
Ben Shaiken, The Alliance: This bill directs The Department to better plan for the future and to be more transparent about how many people are waiting for services. The Alliance is especially supportive of DDS developing a 20 year projection for people who will need services in the future.
The following individuals support SB 246 as it will go a long way to bring clarity and transparency to one of the biggest issues facing DDS. This bill will implement changes to the “Waiting List”, notifying families of their placement on the list, their priority status, and how to request a status change.
Christina D. Ghio, ESQ
Richard D. Rothstein
Carol M. Cooney
Fran and Denise King
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Tom Fiorentino, President of The Arc of Connecticut: SB 246 must be opposed unless it is clear that no additional staffing or DDS funds will be expended in their implementation. The bill is well intentioned but will do nothing to improve or expand services for people with I/DD.
Reported by: Walter L. Morton IV