Dear Service Providers:
As you may be aware, there have been significant changes enacted at the federal level which have an impact on how services are to be delivered in California. In January 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted new regulations. These regulations, which are often referred to as the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule, must be fully implemented by March 2019, in order for California to continue to receive federal funds for the services that you provide.
Among some of the expectations, of the final rule, is for clients to be afforded the same opportunities for community integration as any other member of society. Clients must be able to pursue competitive integrated employment. If living in a licensed setting, they will have the choice to have a private bedroom and to lock their room and have a key. Clients in licensed residential homes also need to be afforded the same protections through a residential lease as any other member in the community. Clients will be allowed to have visitors at anytime and leave and return to their home as they wish. Also the person centered plan must reflect the needs and desires of the client and be directed first and foremost by the client.
The HCBS final rule presents clients, families, vendors and regional centers with challenges but also with new opportunities. Sheltered locations and programs that currently do not access the community or access the community on a limited basis will need to make changes to their program to be in compliance. Residential homes will need to revisit the provision of private bedrooms and the house rules or values that they currently have.
We realize that we cannot capture all the complexities that are part of the HCBS Final Rule in this memorandum. To that end, we would like to make you aware of a new resource at our agency to help you in understanding these changes.
Ms. Lourdes Sanchez has been designated as the SG/PRC Program Evaluator. In this position, Ms. Sanchez will serve as a resource to service providers, clients, families and staff with regards to the HCBS Final Rule. In the months that follow, Ms. Sanchez will be reaching out to you to get a better understanding of the services provided by your agency and what changes, if any, your program will need to make to be in compliance with the new rule. You can also contact Ms. Sanchez directly (909-706-3574 or email@example.com) if you have questions.
In the weeks and months to follow we will be arranging meetings to discuss the HCBS Final Rule, including funding that has been made available in the 2016-17 California State Budget for service providers to submit proposals, in order to make changes to their services to be in compliance with the new rule.