A critical public policy effort
Services for individuals with disabilities over age 21 are referred to as "adult services." Most adult services are based not on entitlement but on eligibility. Navigating service delivery systems becomes even more complex during this transition. Autism New Jersey’s Helpline staff (800.4.AUTISM) is here to assist families and professionals better understand the systems as they exist today. Autism New Jersey’s Public Policy efforts seek to improve the public service delivery system through collaboration with the Division of Developmental Disabilities, sister disability organizations, service providers, parents, and the Legislature. With dramatic funding and systems changes at the state level, our public policy efforts in this area are critical to ensure the needs of adults with autism are met.
In the last decade, Autism New Jersey brought together stakeholders and policy makers to identify the needs of adults with autism and developed numerous resources to help families better understand the resources available for adults.
Autism New Jersey recognizes the medical necessity and value of evidence-based treatment delivered by qualified and competent professionals for adults with autism. To this end, Autism New Jersey is:
- Advocating for provider qualifications that align with the standards of the profession for Behavioral Supports Services available through the Supports Program
- Requesting reimbursement rates commensurate with training and experience (e.g., masters and doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analysts)
- Reviewing DDD circulars that regulate behavioral support services and preparing comments to share with DDD, providers, and the community
- Working with Board Certified Behavior Analysts across the state to better understand current practices and collectively advocate for best practices
We are pleased to share the results of Autism New Jersey’s collaborative work with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) on the Behavioral Support Services of the Supports Program Policies and Procedures Manual version 3.0 (March 2016). Highlights of our efforts include:
- Raising the minimum degree requirements from a Bachelor’s degree to a Master’s degree for those who conduct behavioral assessments, develop behavior intervention plans, evaluate their effectiveness, and train caregivers
- Adding Board Certified Behavior Analysts at the Doctoral level (BCBA-D) among those qualified to provide this service
- Clarifying the distinction between “evaluating the effectiveness of” and “monitoring” a plan and that those who are evaluating the effectiveness of this service should be the more qualified professional than those monitoring the service
- Adding Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) among those qualified to monitor this service
- Ensuring more relevant coursework by changing some of the fields of study required to monitor this service by adding “applied behavior analysis” and removing “sociology” and “guidance and counseling”
- Expanding the pool of approved trainers for prerequisite mandated staff training from one to any number as approved by DDD
Autism New Jersey is grateful to the Division for its willingness to incorporate our recommendations. We look forward to additional opportunities to continue this increased alignment with the standards of the profession for the Behavioral Supports Services of the Supports Program during the renewal process of the Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver and the Community Care Waiver.
Autism New Jersey recognizes the critical shortage of housing and residential service options for adults with autism. To this end, Autism New Jersey is:
- Identifying and addressing obstacles to the development of housing and residential services for adults with autism (e.g., four as a maximum number of residents per household)
- Monitoring and providing input on housing-related legislation
- Collaborating with the Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey (SHA) to author a housing guide for individuals and families.
DDD Medicaid Rates Announced
On July 18, 2014, Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Developmental Disabilities Liz Shea and colleagues announced the results of a multi-year effort to develop a standard fee schedule for services provided through the Community Care Waiver and the Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver Supports Program. The services that fall under these programs include residential, day programs, employment, respite, transportation, clinical therapies, and more. The Department of Human Services engaged Myers and Stauffer LC and Johnston Villegas-Grubbs & Associates LLC to conduct a comprehensive rate study and sought stakeholder input throughout the process. Autism New Jersey provided input regarding 1) the higher level of funding required to meet the needs of individuals with severe behavioral challenges and 2) provider reimbursement rates for Board Certified Behavior Analysts.
We are happy to report that multiple recommendations presented by Autism New Jersey were included in the final fee schedule. Learn more>>