As a former clinician with the CSB in Virginia Beach I supervised a program designed to keep people in need of DD services in the community or bring them back from institutional placements. At the time, it was a needed option for consumers who wanted to be a party to planning their futures. Hence, the consumers were at the center of that planning with family, friends and others who cared about them as members of the team. Fast forward a few decades and we now have consumer directed services, which should not be abandoned.
We have seen the importance attached to parents and guardians as decision makers when it comes the education of their children. Shouldn’t this same logic apply to parents or other caregivers who are responsible for their children with disabilities? Who is in a better position to provide care? Independent CSB case managers/support coordinators, in consultation with the consumers and their families, develop annual plans that are submitted to DBHDS and the Service Authorization Consultants approve the plan including consumer direct hours. Independent Services Facilitators ensure the consumer directed services derived from the annual plan are being followed, payments are in order and appropriate care is provided.
The difficulties for parents and other caregivers are well documented in this public record. As the parents of twin adult daughters with Down Syndrome, my wife and I are well aware of what parents face in caring for their children with disabilities. I urge DMAS to preserve the Consumer Directed option for these families. In addition to the instability the proposed changes may create, the cost to the state will undoubtedly increase.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on this important matter.