Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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People First Waiver History

08/12/14

Welcome to the People First Waiver History page.  In April 2011, former OPWDD Commissioner, Courtney Burke, announced in a letter to stakeholders that OPWDD would seek significant programmatic and fiscal improvements through development of the People First Waiver.  Some of the goals guiding this decision included coordinated service provision, true community inclusion, and protecting and enhancing the rights of the individuals we serve.  In the years since, OPWDD continues to work with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) toward making the People First Waiver a reality for individuals with developmental disabilities.  The items listed below are meant to serve as an historical record of the development of the People First Waiver. 

Committees and Work Teams 

Steering Committee

OPWDD established the Steering Committee of the People First Waiver in summer 2011 to oversee and guide the development of the new waiver and assist OPWDD and its stakeholders to define the system reforms the waiver will achieve for New York State. The Committee was made up of individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, service providing agencies, public officials, and noted experts in health care and long-term care.

At the Steering Committee's initial meeting on June 9, 2011, these experts received the suggestions and comments of individuals and family members that were communicated to Commissioner Burke during listening sessions and public forums held in May and April. They also chartered five distinct waiver design teams that would work throughout the summer to explore key design aspects of the new waiver - access and choice, services and benefits, care coordination, quality and fiscal sustainability.

At its next meeting on August 24, the Steering Committee received the recommendations of the five waiver design teams and began to articulate a shared vision for an improved service system that will advance New York's developmental disabilities service system to new standards of effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.

On November 14, 2011, the Steering Committee engaged in constructive discussion regarding the concept of risk in a person’s life and in a person-centered service system that supports people in the most integrated settings possible. The committee members also explored questions intended to elicit their thoughts and guidance related to the pilot DISCO projects, the nature of person-centered planning in the new service system, how to develop home and community-based clinical services, and new ways to make the new system more efficient and accountable.

The Steering Committee held its final meeting on March 28, 2012. The Committee members offered insight on key aspects of the waiver development process and approved the transfer of its oversight and guidance of the People First Waiver to the New York State Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council (DDAC).  This standing advisory body, established by New York State law, has the ongoing responsibility to advise OPWDD in its development of its comprehensive state plan and on the ongoing improvement, policies, goals, budgets and operations of the developmental disabilities services system. DDAC members include individuals with developmental disabilities, parents or guardians of individuals with developmental disabilities, and representatives from service providing agencies as well as others. The DDAC now advises and guides OPWDD as it continues the process of developing the final waiver agreements with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and undertaking implementation planning for People First Waiver reforms.

Targeted Work Teams

OPWDD has assembled three short-term Targeted Work Teams to explore and define specific details of system reform. The teams include individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, representatives from service provider agencies, and OPWDD regional staff. The teams will meet frequently from August 2012 through the fall and focus on issues related to “Access, Enrollment & Advocacy,” “Care Coordination,” and “Modernizing the Fiscal Platform.” OPWDD will use the recommendations of the work teams to shape a draft Request for Applications (RFA) that will describe the structure and operation of the pilot project Developmental Disabilities Individual Support and Care Coordination Organizations (DISCOs) that will provide the first managed care for New York’s developmental disabilities service system. When the draft RFA is finalized, it will be used to solicit applications for pilot DISCOs.

Waiver Design Teams

The People First Waiver design teams were made up of individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, representatives from service providing agencies, and state agency leaders and staff. At the design team Kick-Off meeting on June 20, 2011, the teams began to discuss the goals of the waiver, the need for reform within the developmental disabilities service system, and the critical design elements they would later explore. Like the Steering Committee, the team members received the suggestions and comments of individuals and family members that were communicated to Commissioner Burke during listening sessions and public forums held in May and April.

Over the course of July and August 2011, the design teams for the People First Waiver examined key policy aspects of the developmental disabilities service system. They organized technical work groups to examine in detail specific administrative functions within the system and held numerous policy discussions around system reforms that can advance the services system to greater levels of performance, efficiency and accountability. In late August, the teams made recommendations to the People First Waiver Steering Committee regarding how New York State should shape its future service system to best achieve these objectives. OPWDD staff will synthesize the reports from all of the design teams within the 2011 annual 5.07 Plan which will carry the People First Waiver reforms forward for further review, public comment and waiver implementation planning.

OPWDD Briefing Book (June 9, 2011)

People First Waiver Concept Paper 

Letter to Stakeholders Announcing Development of People First Waiver (April 14, 2011) 

Listening Sessions Report (June 2011) 

Request for Information (November 2011) 

Waiver 101: An Introductory Presentation on the People First Waiver (April/May 2012) 

Waiver 201: Understanding the People First Waiver (Summer 2012) 

Waiver 301: Strengthening Services for the Future (March 2013)