Saturday, October 2, 2010

First Steps changes effective Oct 1

We hope that many of you took the opportunity to share your comments regarding changes to First Steps at If you still have concerns regarding these changes, Family Voices suggests that you contact your state legislators. You can find that information here:

DDRS released this notice regarding changes to First Steps on Oct 1:

First Steps

The Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) is responsible not only for meeting the financial obligations of the First Steps program today, but for supporting an
early intervention system that is sustainable for future generations. With this in mind, DDRS looked closely at the First Steps program to determine where reasonable budget
adjustments could be made and to identify potential sources of additional program revenue. The resulting changes are aimed at increasing accountability and improving
communication among providers and families, while maintaining a system of quality services.

Effective October 1, 2010:

Prior Approval Requirement
o Delivery of an individual service at a frequency of two times per week or
o Delivery of an individual service exceeding 60 minutes

Enrollment Requirements for Developmental Therapists
o Degree in early childhood or special education with a focus on early
childhood development
o Developmental Therapists must be enrolled at an associate level for the
first year. After one year, the provider may request advancement to a
specialist level

Newborn Hearing Screenings (NBH)
o Infants that do not pass their newborn hearing screening will be directed to
their primary care physician for follow up and necessary audio evaluations

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
o Removal of payment authorization for ongoing providers to attend IFSP
meetings as a separate authorization. Parents may request provider
attendance at the IFSP meeting as a component of their ongoing service

Provider Education for Appropriate Services
o Eligibility Required
o No Post Operative Services
o Appropriate use of Informed Clinical Opinion

Clinical Setting Guidelines
o Provide clarification on when it may be appropriate to discuss with families
the option of having services in a clinic setting.

Parent Participation
o Active parent participation is required during sessions within the home
o Active caregiver participation is required at every therapy session
o When services are provided outside of the home, active parent
participation is required a least once per month
o Parents must be present and involved in all evaluations

Three Month Authorizations
o A progress report with justification is required to continue authorization of
o Reports must contain documentation of the ICD-9 code directly addressed
by the service
o An evaluation must be completed and the ICD-9 code obtained, prior to
the addition of a service

Contract Reductions
o A 15% reduction for the System Point of Entry and Local Planning and
Coordinating Council (SPOE/LPCC) funding

Cost Participation
o Suspension of services for past due accounts of 60 days or greater

Assistive Technology
o Elimination of orthotics as a First Steps service

For updates, please visit DDRS online at

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