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A campaign to ensure access to quality services and enhance I/DD system capacity

Developmental Pathways is working with a coalition of parents, service providers, case management agencies, community centered boards, and self-advocates to END THE WAIT in 2020.  

This important campaign is spearheaded by our colleagues at Alliance Colorado and seeks to:

  1. Systematically clear the waiting list for the DD waiver over a specified time
  2. Increase Provider capacity by addressing the issues in rates; hopefully tying rates to the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Wait, what are we ending the wait for?

In Colorado, there are six adult Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers serving people with disabilities who want to continue living in their communities. These waivers are administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF). Two of these waivers specifically target adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities:

  • Supported Living Services (SLS) waiver
  • Developmental Disabilities (DD) waiver

The Colorado Legislature eliminated the waitlist for the SLS Waiver in 2014, so anyone who qualifies for this waiver can enroll in it and receive services.

The DD waiver is a different story. More than 3,000 people are waiting for a spot on the DD waiver as soon as it becomes available. HCPF has worked to clear the waitlist with the help of appropriations (funding) from the legislature, but the number of people waiting has outpaced their efforts.

What is the difference between the SLS & DD waitlist?

It’s important to know that if you or someone you care about is waiting for DD services, it’s likely that they may be receiving supports from the SLS waiver. However, the SLS waiver and DD waiver offer different services and supports. One of the biggest differences is that the DD waiver pays for residential supports for people who need more assistance to live with a roommate, in a group home, or host home. Click here for more information on services and supports provided on these waivers. 

I’ve heard this campaign is also looking to increase rates for providers of services. Why is that important? Shouldn’t we just focus on ending the waitlist?

Yes, this campaign is working to end the waiting list AND address community capacity!  

Reviewing rates is important because if we cannot pay providers enough to support individuals with I/DD, then we’ll clear the waitlist, but not enough providers will be able to serve these people. Without addressing provider rates, we would create an “invisible waitlist” where individuals and families would not be able to find trained staff to provide the needed services they now qualified for on the DD waiver.

Provider reimbursement and capacity are not issues unique to Colorado. In fact, they are national issues that intertwine with the need to respect the unique training, personality, and ongoing requirements of direct service professionals. For more information on this, click to read ANCOR’s notice.

Reviewing provider rates to increase community capacity will allow for innovation and person-centered strategies to meet the unique needs of each person served by these waivers.

What can I do to get more involved in this effort?

To learn more about the End the Wait campaign, visit www.COIDD.com. Please consider signing the petition

You can also follow Developmental Pathways and Alliance Colorado on Facebook to see updates as legislation evolves.

Written by Kim Tenure, Associate Director of I/DD Policy

DP staff showing their support at the Wait List Hearing on January 22, 2020.