Develop​mental Disabilities Administration and Self-Direction Services

John Smith* is a 26-year-old Marylander with a disability. He also lives at home with his parents, who are his caretakers. He works ten hours a week at a local office. His interests are detective novels and fantasy football. He is not interested in a life where people try to define him by his disability, and he cherishes his ability to determine his life direction.
John has a partner in that pursuit – the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Developmental Disabilities Administration, which enables John to determine everything from the type of work he does to the nature of services he receives – and from whom he receives them.
Until December 31, 2016, Developmental Disabilities is receiving feedback and recommendations regarding the Self-Direction Services. Self-direction is a service model that empowers public program participants and their families by expanding their degree of choice and control over the long-term services and supports they need to live at home. However, within this service model there is a great risk of exploitation, nepotism, abuse and lack of accountability. As a system, it is extremely important to have policies, standards and quality measures to adhere to the federal mandate of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure the health and wellness of the individuals to whom we provide services.
This public input is tied to Amendment #3 of the Developmental Disabilities program. Developmental Disabilities will be submitting Amendment #3 during spring of 2017. Developmental Disabilities is committed to establishing a system for the success of our participants. Based on the recommendations from participants, families, providers, and national experts, the DDA has identified the primary focus areas that will improve Maryland’s Self-Direction service model:
o   Development of a clear definition for self-direction,
o   Establishing a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the participants, families and people who support individuals that are in Self-Directed Services.
o   Establishing participant criteria for participation;
o   Establishing a process for voluntary termination of services,
o   Development of a design element for participants’, case-specific budgets, and
o   Offering participants the assistance of a counselor to help participants develop the skills necessary to self-direct independently.
Developmental Disabilities is hosting listening sessions on Self-Direction in each region. If you are interested in attending, the dates and locations are available on our training calendar. Developmental Disabilities would like to thank all Marylanders who have taken the time contact it to share inquiries, questions and comments. It is greatly appreciated.
*John Smith is fictional.