North Carolina and the National Core Indicators

June 30, 2011

The CIDD has partnered with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (DMHDDSAS) of the NC Department of Health and Human Services for over a decade to implement the National Core Indicators program. National Core Indicators (NCI) was established as a collaborative effort among participating National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) to support state developmental disabilities authorities in developing and implementing a standard set of performance measures used by states to evaluate and improve services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The National Core Indicators are used by the NC Division of MH/DD/SAS as part of their ongoing quality management efforts.

North Carolina joined the National Core Indicators effort in 1999 and is one of twenty-seven states that currently participate. By providing surveys that measure specific indicators, NCI enables each state to determine the effectiveness of programs serving people with developmental disabilities. The current set of performance indicators includes approximately 100 consumer, family, systemic, cost, and health and safety outcomes - outcomes that are important to understanding the overall health of public developmental disabilities agencies. Associated with each indicator is a source (type of survey) from which the data are collected. Sources of information are comprised of the Consumer survey which includes for example, empowerment and choice issues, and three family surveys which focus on satisfaction with supports.

In addition, since joining NCI, the CIDD National Core Indicators team and the Division staff have partnered with Dr. Karen Luken at the NC Office on Disability and Health (NCODH). This collaboration has led to three primary outcomes: (1) the inclusion of specific and timely health-related questions as part of the Consumer Survey, several of which have been adopted by HSRI for the national version; (2) examination of health-related data gathered from the NC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (NC BRFSS) and National Core Indicators, thus allowing comparison among persons with disabilities, persons without disabilities and persons with DD receiving state supported services; and (3) the establishment of a surveillance workgroup focusing on state efforts related to the health/healthcare of persons with developmental disabilities. This collaboration has allowed the workgroup to target specific areas of concern, such as sedentary lifestyle, obesity, mammography screening and dental care, and to begin disseminating this information.

The NCI Consumer survey consists of a face-to-face interview with an adult who has intellectual deficit and receives at least one service through the Division of MH/DD/SAS (DMHDDSAS). Interviewers are trained throughout the state on the survey process; approximately 800 interviews are conducted per year. In addition, the CIDD assists the state in distributing over 3600 family surveys. These are sent to families who have children who receive services, and families of adults who live at home and those who live in other settings. The data collected will be used to improve practice at the state level and to add knowledge to the field, to influence state and national policy and to inform strategic planning initiatives for the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services.