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Announcement: DODD Waiver Redesign Initiative

Redesigning Ohio’s system of waiver services that support people with developmental disabilities and their families to achieve their vision of a good life.

I am pleased to announce the beginning of an effort to bring significant improvements to Ohio’s developmental disabilities waiver system. DODD has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to bring in expertise to work with DODD and partners to modernize and simplify the funding system for DODD waiver supports. The result will be the redesign, modernization, and simplification of current processes related to assessments, funding, rate setting, data collection, and establishing individual budgets for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waivers administered by DODD.

All of this will be done with the primary goal to create a system of services that supports people with developmental disabilities and their families to achieve their vision of a good life. Read more about the announcement and find the RFP here.

County Visits

In April, I wrote to you about the wonderful tours and conversations that I have been having while traveling across the state. I am over halfway through visiting all of Ohio’s 88 counties. Learning about and seeing in action the unique and innovative practices going on in each county has truly been my favorite part of being the Director of DODD.

The challenges people have shared and the opportunities they see have been taken back and discussed with the leaders and teams at DODD. The feedback has started many conversations and resulted in actions by the department. Below are just a few of the things we have done that have been directly influenced by your feedback.

DODD Website

What we heard – DODD’s website can be hard to navigate and hard to find resources, particularly old Memo Mondays.

What we have done – Last week, DODD relaunched the Memo Monday page on the website to categorize memos by date. DODD is continuously addressing issues on the website as they are brought to our attention. Further substantial improvements to DODD’s website will be made in the coming months.

DSP Age and Education Requirements

What we heard – Providers have benefited from an increased DSP applicant pool by being temporarily allowed to hire people age 16 and 17, as well as applicants who have not obtained a high school diploma or GED.

What we have done – DODD will extend the temporary waiver for another year, through September of 2023. This increased flexibility will assist providers in hiring DSPs. DODD will collect information on the outcomes of this option.

Provider Certification

What we heard – Provider certification approvals were taking too long, adversely impacting providing services.

What we have done – We directed additional staff resources at DODD to catch up and ensure that approvals are happening in a timely fashion going forward.

What we heard – Agency and independent providers can struggle to get through the certification application, and county boards struggle to have the access or resources to help.

What we have done – Our Information Technologies and Medicaid Administration divisions are working to incorporate a tool to provide greater assistance in filling out the application. This tool will add the use of pictures and additional text to better understand what required fields and requested documentation.

Nursing Supports

What we heard - Concerns about the Nurse Quality Assessment Review (NQAR) tool, the process for reviewing medication errors, and the timelines for follow-up.

What we have done – DODD staff are meeting to examine internal DODD processes to identify issues, provide consistent expectations, and standardize the referral process for any compliance issues.

Thank you for your feedback and your insights. I look forward to more county visits and interactions between myself, other department staff, and all of our valued partners. Please continue to share feedback with us and continue to use the regional support teams if you are facing challenges or want to share solutions or great stories.

Special Olympics Summer Games

Congratulations to all of the athletes that participated in the Special Olympics Summer Games. I had a wonderful time cheering you on and watching everyone compete. Special thanks to Governor Mike DeWine for stopping by the games and showing his support. The games kicked off with the traditional Law Enforcement Torch Run. Each year, officers carry the “Flame of Hope” along with athletes into the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at The Ohio State University. Nearly 2,200 athletes, unified partners, and coaches from across the state competed in bocce, bowling, soccer, gymnastics, powerlifting, track and field, tennis, and volleyball.

Ohio State Fair

Mark your calendars for the Ohio State Fair! Opening day is July 27 and the fair runs through August 7. Join OCALI and DODD for Sensory Morning on August 3 from 10 AM – 1 PM. Ride the rides with no flashing lights or music, visit the Fair’s many educational and sensory activities, take a break in a quiet room, or use our sensory accessibility guide to find an activity that suits you. A Quiet Room will also be available throughout the fair. Find more information at www.ohiostatefair.com.