Thursday, October 23, 2014

Money Follows the Person-Community Integration and Habilitation #Waiver

To: Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) Providers 
From: Julie Reynolds, Director, Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services 
Re: Money Follows the Person-Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver (MPF-CIH) 

Date: October 23, 2014

In cooperation with the Division of Aging, the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) is excited to announce its participation in the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program beginning this month.
The MFP program is a federal grant awarded to help states move individuals from institutional settings to home- and community-based settings. The Division of Aging was awarded the MFP demonstration grant in 2007 to serve individuals who reside in nursing facilities and meet program and level of care requirements for the Aged and Disabled (A&D) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) waivers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the addition of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, who reside in a qualified institution, meet program requirements and meet 
the eligibility and level of care requirements for the Community Integration and Habilitation (CIH) Waiver to participate in the MFP Grant.
The MFP program is designed to require a contracted entity perform all of the transition activities and case management services for the participation period. CareStar of Indiana, LLC, was the most recent winner of the Division of Aging’s Request for Proposal to provide services for the totality of Indiana’s 
MFP program, which includes the A&D, TBI and now the CIH waivers. The Division of Aging, through CareStar of Indiana, LLC, and BDDS will both work to identify individuals who may qualify for enrollment in the MFP-CIH program.
As of this month, providers who are currently enrolled as a CIH waiver provider will also qualify and be enrolled to serve participants of the new MFP-CIH program. Software updates completed on September 15 automatically added MFP-CIH for qualified providers. The MFP-CIH grant program will be identical to 
the CIH Waiver program in most ways, including:
 Medicaid eligibility
 ICF/IDD level of care eligibility
 Freedom of choice
 Hearings and appeals
 Objective Based Allocation
 Person Centered Planning
 Individualized Support Plan
 Cost Comparison Budget and Notice of Action
 Budget Review Questionnaire (BRQ) and Budget Modification Request (BMR)
 Service Definitions and Requirements
 Incident Reporting and Follow-Up Reviews
Individuals will be eligible for the MFP-CIH grant for 365 program days following their discharge from their institutional setting and will be eligible to transition to the CIH at the conclusion of their MFP-CIH grant period.
As an individual’s time in the MFP-CIH program comes to an end, they will be transitioned by BDDS staff to the CIH. BDDS staff will begin to work with individuals 90 days prior to the time their MFP-CIH will end in order to ensure an appropriate transition. As part of the transition, individuals will be given a 
choice of a new case management company to work with under the CIH Waiver. 
BDDS and the Division of Aging will announce additional training regarding provider billing at a later date. An updated Medicaid Waiver Services, codes and rates chart, effective October 1, is available on the BDDS webpage. Rates and services for MFP-CIH are identical to those for the CIH Waiver.

Questions regarding the MFP-CIH program may be directed to Juman Bruce (, the Indiana MFP project coordinator with the Division of Aging, and/or Emily Larimer ( with BDDS. Local BDDS district offices are also available to answer questions. More information on the MFP program can be found on the MFP webpage. 

Receiving a #Diagnosis: The Journey from Cope to Hope

Region 4 Midwest Genetics Collaborative is happy to share our new family video: Receiving a Diagnosis: The Journey from Cope to Hope.  Please click on the postcard below to view and feel free to share it with your networks.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#Bullying of Students with #Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America’s #Schools

As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated—including against America's 6.5 million students with disabilities.
The Department issued guidance in the form of a letter to educators detailing public schools' responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the bullying of students with disabilities. If a student with a disability is being bullied, federal law requires schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue and, as necessary, take steps to stop the bullying and prevent it from recurring.
"While there is broad consensus that bullying cannot be tolerated, the sad reality is that bullying persists in our schools today, especially for students with disabilities," said Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. "Basic decency and respect demand that our schools ensure that all their students learn in a safe environment. I look forward to continuing our work with schools to address and reduce incidents of bullying so that no student is limited in his or her ability to participate in and benefit from all that our educational programs have to offer."
Since 2009, OCR has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding the bullying of students with disabilities in the nation's public elementary and secondary schools.
Today's guidance builds upon anti-bullying guidance the Department has issued in recent years concerning schools' legal obligations to fix the problem, including:
  • 2013 dear colleague letter and enclosure by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) clarifying that when bullying of a student with a disability results in the student not receiving meaningful educational benefit under IDEA, the school must remedy the problem, regardless of whether the bullying was based on the student's disability.
  • 2010 dear colleague letter by the OCR, which elaborated on potential violations when bullying and harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability.
  • 2000 dear colleague letter by the OCR and OSERS, which explained that bullying based on disability may violate civil rights laws enforced by OCR as well as interfere with a student's receipt of special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The latest letter makes clear that the protections for students with disabilities who are bullied on any basis extend to the roughly three quarters of a million students who are not eligible for IDEA services but are entitled to services under the broader Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. That law bars discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Help is available for those who are either targets of disability bullying or know of someone who might be, such as:
  • fact sheet for parents on schools' obligations under federal law to address bullying. The fact sheet is also available in Spanish.
  • Visiting the federal Web site,, which provides useful information on bullying prevention and remedies.
  • Asking to meet with the student's team that designs his or her individualized education program—the IEP or Section 504 teams.
  • Asking to meet with the principal or school district's special education coordinators to have the school address bullying concerns.
  • Seeking help from OCR. The office investigates complaints of disability discrimination at schools. To learn more about federal civil rights laws or how to file a complaint, contact OCR at 800-421-3481 (TDD: 800-877-8339), or OCR's Web site is To fill out a complaint form online, go to
To view OCR's guidance detailing public schools' responsibilities regarding the bullying of students with disabilities in Spanish, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#Work4LifeIN: Campaign for Vocational Rehabilitation

Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation presents #Work4LifeIN, a campaign to bring awareness about the importance of employment for individuals with disabilities throughout the state. Employment experiences are a key factor in the future success and independence of young people as they prepare to leave high school. However, youth with disabilities often face significant challenges when seeking employment opportunities. Youth with disabilities need employers and other adults in their community who will guide them to see what work they can do for their life and give them opportunities that will help them reach their full employment potential. Please join us in spreading the word that Hoosiers with disabilities are ready and able to work!
Follow @IndianaVR and join the #Work4LifeIN campaign
Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation is teaming up with the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services, The Arc of Indiana, Indiana Institute of Disability and Community, INAPSE, INARF, INSOURCE, Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, HANDS in Autism, Outside the Box, Autism Society of Indiana, Adult and Child, schools, and many other key partners to drive a social media campaign, #Work4LifeIN. This campaign is an opportunity for young people with disabilities to tell Indiana why working is important to them and how it improves the quality of their life. Everyone wants to be a part of their community by giving back through their talents.
There are no better voices than those of individuals with disabilities who are working or are interested in work.  It’s easy to be part of #Work4LifeIN!
Download and print the #Work4LifeIN card below, take a photo or video with the card in front of you and then post it with the #Work4LifeIN hashtag to Twitter. The goal is to send a strong message about what work means for young people with disabilities, and to let others know that that young people with disabilities are ready to work, are good workers, and are great for businesses and other employers.
The process is simple:
  1. Download and print the #Work4LifeIN card: #Work4LifeIN (11x 8.5) or#Work4LifeIN (14x8.5)
  2. Dress for success!
  3. Finish the sentence to include something specific to you: “I work 4 _______”.
  4. Get your camera or cell phone ready.
  5. HOLD your #Work4Life sign in front of you (inside the picture frame of your cell phone or camera).
  6. Smile.
  7. Take a photo.
  8. OR create a video, Here are some suggestions for video talking points:Hello my name is __________________
    I work 4 _________________________
    Please join us by posting your #Work4LifeIN video with the reason you work.
  9. Post your photo or video with your #Work4LifeIN sign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #Work4LifeIN,
  10. Share your post with friends and family.

If you have a disability and need help going to work, you may find information aboutIndiana Vocational Rehabilitation on our website and Twitter @IndianaVR.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alert: Section 8 #Housing to Open Waiting List in #Marion Cty 10.20

While not directly tied to our services, we often get questions about low income housing options for families and individuals with disabilities. In that vein, we share this announcement:

From The Indianapolis Recorder:

The Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) will be opening the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list – commonly known as the Section 8 waiting list – for the first time since 2004, agency officials said.
Section 8, administered by IHA, is a federal voucher program that currently helps more than 8,000 qualified low-income families in Marion County find safe and affordable housing in the private rental market. As long as their housing choice meets reasonable rent requirements, voucher holders pay no more than 30% of their monthly income toward rent and utilities. The Section 8 program subsidizes the rent balance to the property owner.
Due to the limited funding available for the program, there is a waiting list to receive a Section 8 voucher. Space on the current waiting list is limited to 6,000 new applicants, and not all applicants will make the list. As such, spots on the waiting list will be determined by a random lottery to ensure that the process is fair and equitable.
Following is information about the process:
  • The application period will OPEN: Oct. 20, 12 p.m. EST.
  • The application period will CLOSE: Oct. 23, 12 a.m. EST.
  • Beginning Oct. 20, applications can be found online at
For those who don’t have access to Internet, IHA will notify and work with library branches, community centers and other locations with public computers to prepare them for the potential of increased traffic.
When the waiting list was last open in 2004, IHA received about 27,000 applications. The number of applications is expected to be even larger this year due to the increase in demand for affordable housing and the ease of the online application process.
“The Housing Choice Voucher is a valuable tool to help provide access to safe, affordable housing for thousands of local families,” said IHA executive director Bud Myers. “We look forward to working with our community partners to help bring this essential service to as many families as we can.
More info about Section 8 can be found here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CMS kicks off effort to help #ACA Marketplace enrollees stay covered

Consumers should come back to, reach out to the call center, or visit with an in-person assister to make sure they choose the plan that best meets their needs starting November 15.

WASHINGTON, DC - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to making it as easy as possible for current Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees to renew their coverage for 2015. It is encouraging consumers to come back at the start of Open Enrollment on November 15, update their 2015 application, and compare their options to make sure they enroll in the plan that best meets their budget and health needs for next year. This week, consumers will begin to receive notices from the Federally-facilitated Marketplace in the mail and in their accounts, explaining how they can renew their coverage during Open Enrollment.
CMS is working to make sure consumers have the assistance and information they need, this communication is just the beginning of an effort to help consumers stay covered. Importantly, to help simplify the re-enrollment process, when consumers return to starting on November 15 and initiate their 2015 application, 90 percent of their online application will already be filled out or pre-populated. In-person assistance will be available to help review an applicant’s options and find a plan that best suits their needs. Also, we are staffing up an additional 1,000 call center representatives this year over last year that will be available to answer questions and walk consumers through the coverage process.
 “It’s important for people to come back to the Marketplace during Open Enrollment, because every year, insurance companies make changes to premiums, cost-sharing and benefits. And with 25 percent more issuers offering coverage in 2015, consumers have more plans to choose from and more issuers are competing to offer a better deal,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “This gives consumers the opportunity to shop and compare plans that may save them more money, offer more services or include more doctors in the network. We want consumers to have the most up-to-date information so they can make the right choice for them and their families.”  
The notices consumers will begin receiving this week explain the renewal process and how they can return to the Marketplace between November 15, 2014, and December 15, 2014, to update their application for next year, shop for the plan that best meets their budget and health needs, and determine if they are eligible for financial assistance for coverage that begins as early as January 1, 2015.
 If consumers do not return to the Marketplace to update their application, they generally will be auto-enrolled in the same plan - with the same amount of advance payment of the premium tax credit and same cost-sharing reductions – as the 2014 plan year. They can change plans during open enrollment throughFebruary 15, with coverage in their new plan starting on the first day of the next or second month depending on when they enroll.
 To help consumers better understand the renewal process, CMS is releasing today the 5 Steps to Staying Covered – to make it as simple as possible for them to choose the plan that best fits their needs and budget. The consumer tested 5-step process includes:

1) Review: Plans change, people change – review your coverage and look for a letter from your plan about how your benefits and costs may change next year,
2) Update: Starting November 15, log in and update your 2015 application - make sure your
household income and other information is up-to-date for next year,
3) Compare: Compare your current plan with other plans that are available in your area,
4) Choose: Select the health plan that best fits your budget and health needs, and
5) Enroll: The marketplace opens on November 15, make sure to review, update, compare and choose by December 15 to have any changes take effect on January 1. Contact your plan after you’ve enrolled and make sure you pay your first month’s premium.
The first piece of this education material is available at Also, CMS will continue to adapt and modify its efforts to reach existing Marketplace consumers over the next weeks and months – using a wide range of outreach strategies including directly through mail, email, digital market efforts, and calls. Serving existing Marketplace customers and keeping them covered is a top priority this open enrollment period.
To learn more about the 5 Steps to Staying Covered, visit: 
For more information about Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit:

Share Your Voice About The Needs Of #Families In #Indiana

The Maternal and Child Health Division at the Indiana State Department of Health is currently conducting their 5- Year Title V Needs Assessment. An important component of this Needs Assessment is to receive input from partners, stakeholders, and community members to assess the current needs of women, children, and families in Indiana. If you would please take the time to complete this survey and provide details on the needs in your community, it would be greatly appreciated. 

The deadline to complete the survey is November 30, 2014