State’s Developmental Disabilities Administration completes 2-year rate setting study

Baltimore, MD (November 3, 2017) – The Maryland Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Administration released a report today following a two-year developmental disabilities service provider rate setting study. The purpose of the study was to establish a fair and equitable rate system for services provided to Marylanders with developmental disabilities.
“This aligns with our transformation efforts to have a quality service delivery system that is flexible, person-centered and family oriented,” said Maryland Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Administration Deputy Secretary Bernard Simons. “We are committed to providing increased opportunities for individuals with disabilities to live full lives as active citizens in the communities of their choice.”
During the 2014 Legislative Session, the legislature tasked the Developmental Disabilities Administration with developing and implementing a new funding system for the distribution of federal and state funds to community-based service providers. The Administration was required to conduct an independent, cost-driven study, develop and implement a plan, provide for specified payments, develop a billing and payment system, establish a payment schedule, and consult with stakeholders. This was the first time the provider rate structure has been reviewed in at least two decades.
“This study was extremely beneficial, due in large part to the participation and input of stakeholders throughout the state,” Deputy Secretary Simons said. “The engagement of providers and individuals concerned with the needs of the developmentally disabled was essential to ensuring we designed a fair and equitable rate system.”  
The rate study will allow the Developmental Disabilities Administration to move from a prospective to a reimbursement payment model and streamline the payment process. There are four major advantages of the system recommended by the rate study:
  •  Providers will receive the same payment for providing the same level of support.
  • Individuals will be supported by a flexible system that allows for changes in service authorization to meet needs without requiring a change in contract or rate  allowing for portability so individuals can easily relocate without financial concerns about care.
  • Increased accountability in the provider community and within the Developmental Disabilities Administration, including additional rate transparency around the authorization and payment for staffing required for individual care.
  • The system will be responsive both to different levels of support needs and local economic conditions through predetermined calculations for adjustment.
Johnston, Villegas-Grubbs and Associates (JVGA) was contracted to facilitate the rate study under the oversight of the Developmental Disabilities Administration. JVGA used the “Brick™ Method” to design rates for services – a systematic approach to rate setting used by county and state governments, as well as federal programs.
JVGA formed two workgroups. The first focused on technical aspects of the study and included a cross section of community based service providers. The second focused on how the rates can affect the quality of services. Both groups contributed valuable input through face-to-face meetings and conference calls.  
The quality workgroup was comprised of family members, persons who have disabilities and advocate for themselves, and Arc Maryland representatives. JVGA used this input to incorporate quality of life concerns into concrete objectives in the rate system. Most significantly, they identified the need for more training for direct support providers. As a result, a rate component was created specifically for training. These findings allow the Administration to be more responsive to the individuals being served.
The full report can be viewed by clicking here.
A series of town hall meetings are being held in each of the Developmental Disabilities Administration’s four regions for stakeholders to provide input on the results of the study.
Date, Meeting 7 – 9 p.m.
Monday, November 13, 2017
Holiday Inn Express
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Ramada Inn
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Owen Brown Interfaith Center
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Bowie Comfort Inn
The Developmental Disabilities Administration is transforming the services and delivery processes to be person-centered and responsive to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in Maryland and their families.
Media interested in attending any of the town halls should R.S.V.P. to Brittany Fowler at or 410-767-1368.