Home and Community Based Services Conference 2014
Thursday, October 9th 2014
Hello everyone, and welcome back to our blog this week! For any Canadian readers we may have out there, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
This week, we are writing about an incredibly important conference that took place last month in Virginia: the 30th annual National Home and Community Based Services Conference (HCBS). This event (which was hosted by the National Association of States United For Aging and Disabilities ) brought together more than 1000 individuals from the special needs and aging communities, including employees from various state disability/aging departments & administrations, individuals who work for service providers, leaders of managed care companies and advocates for both communities, among others.
So, please join us as we take a quick look at home and community based services in our country, examine why they are so important to individuals with disabilities and those who are aging, and discuss how this latest conference can help improve the quality of and access to HCBS for your family member with special needs.
What Are Home and Community Based Services?
We would like to kick-start our discussion of home and community based services by first defining the term. So, to begin: a home and community based service is any service or support that a client/patient receives either in his or her own home or community – or in other words, in a non-institutional setting. These services and supports may include (but are not limited to) case management services, homemaking services, home health aide services, personal care services, etc. For more information on what home and community based services are, please click here.
Now that we are aware of exactly what is meant by the term “home and community based services”, we think it is important to take a moment to remind ourselves why these services are so vitally important. Let us begin our discussion by first stating that – as I’m sure you will all agree – everyone has the right to live, work, and participate in a community setting. Aside from this basic human right, there are a number of psychological benefits that arise from integration into the community, including self-determination, empowerment, and a sense of fulfillment. Community integration and inclusion – absent when individuals who are aging or who have disabilities are institutionalized – is incredibly emotionally and psychologically fulfilling. In addition to this, community living provides individuals with the opportunity to build relationships and circles of support, allow for enjoyable recreational and social lives, and provide access to employment.
If you would like to learn more about home and community based services for your family member with special needs, please contact us! We are happy to help.
HCBS Conference 2014
According to the NASUAD website, the annual HCBS conference “showcases innovative, national, state and local delivery and policy developments vital for assuring that Americans of all ages and abilities receive the highest quality community living supports, care, and services possible.”
Essentially, this conference provides the opportunity for attendees to network and share ideas, while learning more about state and local agency state and disability systems and issues such as mental health awareness, emergency awareness and preparedness, medication management, housing, nutrition, and much more. As this conference started out 30 years ago as a “waiver*” conference, many of the presentations focused on changing federal waiver rules and the waiver rules for various states. For example, one of the plenary sessions featured Barbara Edwards of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, who discussed the recent changes to the HCBS waiver program. The conference also featured an “exhibit hall”, where attendees could visit and learn about advances in technology as well as innovative supports and services.
The conference took place over the course of four days (September 15-18), and featured a number of workshops and presentations. A complete listing and itinerary of the presentations and workshops, as well as many of the actual presentation Power Points, can be accessed by clicking here. A conference manual can be accessed here, and the conference also featured its own app, titled the National HCBS Conference. Click here to access. Please note that next year’s conference will take place in Washington, D.C. from August 31-September 3rd.
*Note: a waiver is a program that that provides services that allow individuals to remain in their own home or live in a community setting; each state has their own set of waivers – to learn more, click here.
Would You Like More Information? Let us know!
As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have in regards to the above topic, or special needs in general. At M&L special needs planning, LLC we have both professional and personal experience with the special needs journey, and we love meeting new people, and discussing issues relevant to the special needs community.
As well, regular readers of the blog may remember our relationship with the Coalition for Community Choice, or the CCC. A few months ago, we published a blog that discussed the work of this organization, and pledge our support to their cause. Well, CCC representative Desiree Kameka attended the HCBS conference in September, and published this incredibly thorough analysis of the conference. Desiree’s notes can be accessed here.
Thanks so much for dropping by today! See you all next week.
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