New England TASH Weighs in on Massachusetts’ Revised HCBS State Transition Plan

Guest Author: Lydia Brown, Co-President of New England TASH

[clickToTweet tweet=”.@TASHtweet’s New England Chapter weighs in on Massachusetts’ Revised HCBS State Transition Plan” quote=” .@TASHtweet’s New England Chapter weighs in on Massachusetts’ Revised HCBS State Transition Plan”]In keeping with TASH’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and opportunity for all people with disabilities (and particularly those with the most significant disabilities) — which means advocating for community access and meaningful integration, with appropriate supports — I have written and submitted the following comment on behalf of our chapter to weigh in on the state’s revised state transition plan for bringing the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver funded programs into compliance with the Community Rule (finalized in 2014).

The summary of the comment is this:

  • DDS can’t rely on its existing licensure and certification requirements to make sure its vendors follow the home and community-based services rule. The process is riddled with problems, starting with not requiring vendors to actually meet close to 100% of the quality indicators/measurements. (They only have to meet 60% of the indicators and measurements.)
  • DDS can’t keep claiming that every single program and setting can be made community-based, when there are several programs known to be located on the sites of now-closed (or still open) large institutions, which are also fairly remote and isolating by definition.
  • DDS can’t claim that its Day Habilitation (DayHab) programs are distinct from the HCBS-funded community-based day services (CBDS) because DayHab is “clinical in nature,” and so possibly exempt from complying with the federal rule (except that DDS does claim to apply HCBS regulations, and they accept and use federal HCBS funding for some DayHab placements.)
  • DDS can’t say in one breath that they recognize the reasons for lack of individualized and more community-based programming (especially for people in DayHab) are lack of staff, lack of accessible transportation, etc., but then in the next breath throw up its hands and say that that’s basically just the way it is and not offer any ideas for changing it.
  • DDS also can’t insist that group supported employment settings are somehow automatically compliant with the rule, when this type of employment is often used similarly to congregate work placements and only integrated in theory (and when Massachusetts has already committed to phasing it out within the next three years).

Read Full Letter Here