PA 17-61—sSB 246

Public Health Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING A STATE-WIDE WAITING LIST FOR RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENT FOR PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

SUMMARY: This act makes various changes affecting the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and individuals with intellectual disability.

As under existing practice, the act requires the DDS commissioner to maintain one statewide, comprehensive residential waiting list for individuals with intellectual disability and update the list at least quarterly. It also requires the commissioner or his designee to do the following:

1. starting by August 1, 2018, and in consultation with the individual and his or her legal representative if applicable, annually assess the future residential funding or service needs for certain individuals with intellectual disability and

2. starting by December 1, 2018, annually review the residential waiting list with the DDS regional advisory and planning councils and the Council on Developmental Services.

The act also:

1. specifically allows the DDS commissioner, in collaboration with the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary and social services commissioner, to organize and participate in an Intellectual Disability Partnership;

2. replaces the term “priority status” with “category” in certain existing provisions on DDS's assessment of the urgency of an individual's need for residential services or funding; and

3. requires DDS to make a specified annual report available online, rather than requiring the department to report the information to the Appropriations and Public Health committees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2018, except upon passage for the provisions on the Intellectual Disability Partnership.

2 — DDS RESIDENTIAL WAITING LIST

The act defines “residential waiting list” as data DDS maintains regarding the number of individuals with intellectual disability who:

1. have requested residential funding or services from DDS,

2. have been determined by DDS to need such funding or services, and

3. are unable to receive such funding or services because of DDS's inability to provide the funding or services within existing appropriations.

The act requires the commissioner to develop and maintain one statewide comprehensive residential waiting list and update it at least quarterly. It specifies that the waiting list must (1) be organized by geographic region, (2) identify the type of residential funding or services each individual is requesting, and (3) include the estimated period during which the funding or services would be accepted by the individual.

2 — ANNUAL ASSESSMENT OF FUTURE NEEDS

Starting by August 1, 2018, the act requires the DDS commissioner or his designee to annually assess the need for future DDS residential funding or services for each individual with intellectual disability who qualifies for such funding or services and who has an individual plan prepared by the department. The commissioner or designee must do so in consultation with the individual and his or her legal representative, if applicable.

The act requires the assessment to indicate the period when each support or service would be accepted by the individual, based on information collected at the annual meeting.

3 — INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY PARTNERSHIP

Consistent with existing practice, the act allows the DDS commissioner, in collaboration with the OPM secretary and the social services commissioner, to organize and participate in an Intellectual Disability Partnership.

The act requires the partnership to include broad and diverse representation from families, providers, and advocates for individuals with intellectual disability. The family representatives must include family members of individuals with a broad range of intellectual disability and needs, including individuals with high-level needs.

The act requires DDS to post notice of the partnership's meetings, agendas, and minutes on the department's website.

1 & 2 — “CATEGORY” FOR RESIDENTIAL SERVICES

Under prior law, individuals DDS determined as eligible for department funding or services, or their legal guardians or representatives, could obtain from DDS a copy of the individual's “priority status” for residential services if the individual had an unmet need for such services. The act substitutes the term “category” for “priority status” for this purpose and retains the existing definition (i.e., the department's assessment of the urgency of an individual's need for DDS funding or services). It specifies that such individuals or their legal guardians or representatives may obtain a copy of their category for residential funding as well as services.

The act makes a similar change in terminology in another law that allows individuals with intellectual disability, or their legal representatives, to request a hearing to contest DDS's priority assignment of individuals seeking residential services.

2 — REPORTING REQUIREMENT

The act requires the DDS commissioner to annually report on the department's website on the number of individuals the department determines as eligible for DDS funding or services and who (1) have unmet residential care or employment opportunity and day service needs or (2) are eligible for DDS's behavioral services program and are waiting for funding. Prior law required the commissioner to annually report this information to the Appropriations and Public Health committees.