Dear Friends and Colleagues:
New York State can take pride in its transformation of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By building and supporting a community-based system of care over the past 40 years, New York is a great example of what a State can do in partnership with providers, families, advocates and communities. Through this partnership, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has been able to offer a wide range of residential and day supports.
However, as I travelled the State meeting with individuals, families and providers to assist in developing the recommendations of the Transformation Panel, it became clear that our system must evolve to meet the changing demands of today. Individuals and families want more flexibility and participation in program design and services and there is growing recognition of the need to offer a more seamless transition of school age children into the adult service system. In addition, as those we serve age, we must address their emerging needs. These challenges demand a more robust, integrated model of care; a model that not only includes the existing OPWDD services but brings together medical, behavioral health services and medication management in a single coordinated plan. Our system needs a model of care that offers more flexibility in how services are designed and delivered and rewards providers for achieving good outcomes for you and your family members.
I am very pleased to tell you about the next major step in the evolution of the OPWDD system to meet this need. We are prepared to begin a five-year effort that will start a new era of opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This new initiative, called People First Care Coordination, will enhance and expand service coordination for people currently supported by a Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) in preparation for our system’s move to fully integrated services in managed care.
People First Care Coordination will add the coordination of people’s health and wellness services to their current developmental disabilities Individualized Service Plan (ISP), which will be known as a Life Plan. Individuals currently enrolled in OPWDD services can have those services, plus those they receive from their dentists, physicians, behavioral health professionals and others, expertly combined into a single, integrated Life Plan which is overseen and monitored by their care manager.
The foundation of People First Care Coordination is Care Coordination Organizations (CCOs), authorized as Health Homes, which will be networks of existing OPWDD providers that will come together to provide integrated care coordination and work to transition MSCs into care manager roles. CCOs will offer a professional Care Manager and a specialized care coordination team to work directly with each individual served and his or her family to address all of his or her needs. The team and various service providers will be able to electronically share information and discuss an individual’s overall wellness and progress toward stated goals. CCOs and providers will report to OPWDD on the outcomes they are helping individuals achieve.
People First Care Coordination is not managed care, but over the next few years, CCOs will become or begin working with managed care organizations to further our system’s move to managed care. CCOs consisting of OPWDD providers will always be at the forefront in coordinating OPWDD services and supports.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be in further contact with you to explain People First Care Coordination, outline its timeline and respond to any of your questions. I would encourage you to read and submit comments related to the draft Application for entities who may be interested in becoming CCO’s. You can find a link to the Application on our website at https://opwdd.ny.gov/opwdd_services_supports/care_coordination_organizations .
Thank you for your continued partnership as we transform our system of supports and services to enrich the lives of New Yorkers with developmental disabilities – today, tomorrow and well into the future.
Kerry A. Delaney