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Critical change coming to developmental disability services

New York State Office of People With Developmental Disabilities

A significant change is coming to the way New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive services. The next few months will be critical.

The state Office of People With Development Disabilitiesis moving toward managed care, in an effort it says will streamline and better coordinate the range of services many people need, make people healthier and - in the long-run - save New York money. Acting Commissioner Kerry Delaney says her office currently coordinates only its own developmental disability services.

"We recognize the need to have more comprehensive and all-encompassing care coordination," Delaney told WBFO News. "So now, instead of our care coordinators just coordinating OPWDD services, they will be coordinating all of a person's service needs and they will be doing so from a common electronic platform, so they can all share information."

Delaney says the state has authorized the creation of what are called Care Coordination Organizations, which starting July 1, will be a person's "single access point" not only for OPWDD services, but other Medicaid-covered behavioral and healthcare services needed in a person's "life plan."

"We think in the long term, by coordinating all of the services together and by using common electronic records systems, we can actually save money for the state and the federal government," she says. "Right now each of our systems have their own service coordination, have their own IT infrastructure, and by bringing that together, we think that it will be much more cost-effective."

Delaney says managing all services from a single system will also help ensure follow-up appointments happen, tests are completed, medications are coordinated and the like.

"We think that by doing things like this and working across systems, rather than in the siloed systems we have now, people will really see a benefit," she says.

Credit New York State Office of People With Developmental Disabilities

Delaney says during the months of April through June, current service coordinators will be reaching out to people to choose a CCO to join. In Western New York, there aretwo choices.

"These Care Coordination Organizations are made up of providers of developmental disability services now in our system," says Delaney. "Their role will be to employ care managers, who will be responsible for working with individuals, developing a life plan, which will be the service plan and package that contains all of an individual's services needs and how those needs are going to be met."

Enrollment in a CCO is optional, but will be the primary means to get services. Those who do not want to enroll will be set up with what is called a Basic plan - but the state warns, it is also very limited. Delaney says during the transition, a person's supports and services will not change unless it is requested and, in many cases, an individual will have the same Care Manager as they have now.

"The person will have one access point and that will be their Care Manager in this new system," says Delaney, "and we expect that that Care Manager to do the work of arranging the services that someone needs across these systems, as opposed to now, when an individual or their family has to navigate themselves all of these different systems to arrange for services."

More information about the state's transition to managed care can be found atopwdd.ny.gov.

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