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Connecting individuals with developmental disabilities with service information

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

The Parent Network of Western New York will be launching a new effort to help families of individuals with disabilities. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley has a preview on the "Guide & Connect" campaign that will be launched Wednesday.

"More than anything, what often puts families behind the eight ball is not knowing or really understanding what all their options are,” said Susan Barlow, executive director, Parent Network of Western New York.   

The Office for People with Development Disabilities (OPWDD) is making changes and replacing its Medicaid Services Coordination Program with a new program called Health Home Care Management. 

Barlow tells WBFO News as the services are being put into place, they want to make sure families understand and receive important information and that’s why they’ve created the "Guide and Connect" program.

"Which is a subscription, you can subscribe to keep informed and every month or so, we will unveil a new topic related to what's going on right now and it will either be a webinar, a podcast a video, along with written materials on our new website - for just this project called care&connect.org,”

Care Coordination Organizations will soon coordinate all services for those with development disabilities. That includes their health, wellness and mental health services. Six new Care Coordination Organizations will begin providing services July 1.

WBFO News asked Barlow if she's pleased with the changes.

"We're not displeased by the changes. I think what we're mostly concerned about is they are happening at a really fast rate and people are just getting overwhelmed with the information. It's hard to say whether the services in five years from now are going to look worse, better or the same, but we do know that with managed care, and the concept of managed care is a new concept for this disability service office,” responded Barlow.

Barlow noted The Parent Network reached out to the Tower Foundation and received a grant to help create the “Guide & Connect” to help keep families informed of any changes.

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