University of Iowa (IA UCEDD) Partners with the State to Expand Community Living Options

November 25, 2008

The University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development (Iowa's UCEDD) has worked closely with the State Medicaid agency for over five years to transform the way long term supports are delivered to people with disabilities.  By partnering with the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise (IME) on a Robert Wood Johnson Cash and Counseling grant, CDD helped the IME to implement self direction as an option for Home and Community Based Services Waiver participants who want more flexibility and control over the budgets for their services.  CDD is also helping to implement IME's 2005 Real Choices Systems Transformation grant.  The funds are being used to expand choices for Iowans who need long term supports by improving access, building community capacity, strengthening the management of Medicaid-funded services, and forging a partnership with the Iowa Finance Authority, which finances affordable and accessible housing in the State.

This close working relationship now includes a prominent role for CDD in implementation of the Partnership for Community Integration, Iowa's Money Follows the Person grant.  The IME asked CDD to coordinate stakeholder involvement in the project design, including development of the transition process, service menus and a marketing strategy to help over 500 residents of intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities to move to more independent community settings.  Seventy stakeholders representing consumers and families, advocacy organizations, ICF/MR and community providers and State agencies played a prominent role in the development of the Operational Protocol for MFP which was drafted by CDD.

IME recently expanded the scope of the collaboration by contracting with CDD for the recruitment and training of six transition specialists to assist MFP participants in planning their move, locating the supports they need, and monitoring their progress in community living.  A team of highly experienced and committed specialists has now been deployed throughout the State, and is building the family and provider contacts necessary to open the door to community integration for hundreds of Iowans.  Moving to the community entails expenditures outside the scope of traditional Medicaid, such as security and utility deposits, furniture and house wares.  A CDD staff member embedded at IME as MFP Project Coordinator is working with other CDD and University staff to craft unique procurement and billing procedures that get people the supports they need while maintaining the necessary accountability both to the university and to Medicaid.

For more information contact Amy Mikelson.