TRENTON – The Senate Health Committee released a bill would encouraging the Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish “innovative” service arrangements for individuals with developmental disabilities.
The bill, S254, defines “Innovative service arrangements” as residential or day services for persons with developmental disabilities that involve the use of self-directed support services or other arrangements that are materially different or used in materially different ways than arrangements currently and most commonly used by DHS.
Sen. Bob Gordon (D-38), a prime sponsor of the bill, said the bill would help the more than 5,000 people who currently on a waiting list for community housing, to have other alternatives.
The bill lists such arrangements as:
· privately funded, in whole or in part, with assurances from DHS to undertake the funding of the arrangement once State funding is available or when a reasonable amount of funds are legitimately exhausted;
· not traditionally used to serve persons with developmental disabilities;
· funded, in whole or in part, by other governmental sources not dedicated to serving persons with developmental disabilities exclusively;
· designed to attract private funding which can be used to serve persons with developmental disabilities; or
· some combination of the above.
The bill also requires DHS to facilitate the establishment of a wide variety of innovative service arrangements. Specifically, the bill provides that DHS shall:
· seek funding for innovative service arrangements in any application for federal assistance or reimbursement, through Medicaid or another applicable program, unless seeking such funding for a particular innovative service arrangement would be: expressly contrary to a federal requirement for such assistance or reimbursement; or unsuitable for inclusion in an application for federal assistance or reimbursement. (This provision, however, would not preclude DHS from encouraging the development of such an arrangement.);
· ensure that the establishment of an innovative service arrangement does not unfairly benefit a person with a developmental disability with the financial means to purchase such services, in whole or in part, to the detriment of a person with a developmental disability without such financial means;
· not require certain financial contributions, which are made while waiting for assistance from DHS, to continue beyond the time that a person with a developmental disability would otherwise become eligible for assistance from DHS, in accordance with DHS procedures for its waiting list for services, provided for by regulation. The person with a developmental disability and a legally responsible relative would remain liable for maintenance, the bill would not expand any such liability or make a contributor (a person with a developmental disability, family member, guardian, friend, trust, or other similar device) liable to a claim for reimbursement which did not exist prior to the bill’s enactment;
· ensure that a person with a developmental disability shall not be removed involuntarily from a DHS waiting list for services because of a private placement in an innovative service arrangement; and
· expeditiously resolve, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” as a contested case, a dispute which may arise between a person proposing to establish an innovative service arrangement or a person seeking to use such arrangement, and DHS.