AFAM offers testimony on proposed DDS regulations affecting people with ASD
In early August, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) received public comments regarding the revised Statewide HCBS Transition Plan for compliance with the 2014 federal rule for Medicaid-funded residential and non-residential home- and community-based waiver services (also known as the "Community Rule" or the "HCBS Rule"). The Community Rule took effect March 17, 2014 and states were required to submit transition plans to CMS within one year of the effective date indicating how they would comply with the new requirements ensuring participants have access to and are integrated into the broader community. Massachusetts first submitted its Statewide Transition Plan (STP) regarding residential HCBS services to CMS in a letter dated March 2, 2015, followed by an addendum that addressed non-residential services in a letter dated September 3, 2015. The current version of the STP reflects updates responsive to all feedback and guidance received from CMS in 2015 and 2016. A copy of the STP is posted on the EOHHS webpage on the mass.gov website.
Updates since the original 2015 submissions to CMS include several technical, structural, and formatting changes; however, the state’s overall approach to transitioning all HCBS settings to full compliance with the Community Rule has not changed since the initial STP submissions to CMS in 2015. Substantive changes in the current version of the STP did include the addition of detail and updated information, including additional details regarding the “heightened scrutiny” and “participant relocation” processes, as well as the state’s plan for continued monitoring of all HCBS settings for ongoing compliance with the Community Rule.
Click here to read the testimony submitted to EOHHS by AFAM with respect to the current State Transition Plan.
At the end of August, the Department of Developmental Services held hearings on proposed changes to 115 CMR 2.00 and 115 CMR 5.00, promoting the safety, well-being, and dignity of individuals with developmental disabilities. The regulations are intended to promote the independence, inclusion, and dignity of individuals with autism through rules and policies that incorporate Positive Behavioral Supports. AFAM expressed concerns, however, with specific elements of the rules the Department, including the “one size fits all” approach of the proposed regulations, given the wide-ranging needs of the affected population, and instances where the proposed regulations fail to cross-reference the existing regulations with scientifically validated best practices and in so doing may not fully reflect the complexity of provider’s legal requirements. In addition, AFAM is concerned that while DDS is including more requirements for providers, the proposed regulations fall short with respect to ensuring provider accountability to affected individuals and their guardians. You can see AFAM’s testimony here.