Waiver programs making headway

The last of this year’s mental health service providers advisory board meeting was held Tuesday.

As well as ongoing trauma informed care trainings for multiple service providers as well as school district employees, one of the ongoing issues of 2017 has been the changes to waiver programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ronna Tipton, Forest-Warren Human Services Developmental Disabilities Associate Director, said that the final part of the transition was the opening of waivers for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Enrollments for autism only waivers have begun, said Tipton, but the process of determining eligibility for services is neither as clear cut nor as simple as enrolling individuals for other waiver programs, as much of the determination rests with program directors. Furthermore, she said, the requirement of providing assessment documentation from the original diagnosis of ASD in each case was complicating the process. In many cases, diagnoses have been given ten or more years ago and locating those records through time and across wide geographic locations is not always a simple matter, said Tipton. She added that she has been working with the Bureau of Autism Services to establish what to do when and if original assessment documentation is not available.

Adam McNeill, Executive Director of the Forest Warren Mental Wellness Association, said that one of the things FWMWA was hoping to accomplish in the coming year was the creation of an autism family support group utilizing Systems of Care grant resources. “Now might be a good time” to get that process rolling, said McNeill, given the opening of enrollment for ASD only waivers.

Officers for the board agreed to stay on for an additional year of service in their current capacities and a vote was taken to approve that action.

The next advisory board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 2.