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MR Update #07-02: MR Approved Waiver Bulletin, Provider Profile Workgroup, Provider Qualifications Pilots, ICF/MR Employment Workgroup, Long Term Living Council Changes
January 26, 2007

Approved Waiver Bulletin
The Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) has released Mental Retardation Bulletin #00-06-16 addressing the approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the state’s consolidated mental retardation waiver, effective December 23, 2006, for a five-year period. The waiver will include several modifications including increased central control and oversight of waiver operations, an OMR quality management strategy, a new waiver service of Personal Support Services for individuals self-directing services, and exclusion of persons residing in licensed personal care homes. OMR developed a work plan to address CMS concerns with specific timelines. For a copy of the bulletin and the waiver application contact Linda Drummond at PCPA.

Provider Profile Workgroup
OMR’s Provider Profile Workgroup met recently to continue developing recommendations for use by OMR, service providers, individuals, and families regarding service selection. The current HCSIS Supports Directory provides much information regarding providers and services. The directory will be reviewed to determine that the information is consistent and there are links to each provider’s web site. Individuals and families choosing services will be given information from the directory based on the types and locations of services needed. A recommendation of specific information that individuals and families may want to find on provider web sites will be developed for providers. There will be a training developed for individuals and families to prepare them for service selection and the kinds of information that might be useful when making their decisions.

Provider Qualifications Pilots
There have been 20 provider qualification pilot projects implemented across the state. OMR has reviewed the initial qualification recommendations and guidance provided to these projects and determined that they are not effective components to allow a provider to offer services. Qualifying to be a provider is not the same as quality of services and should not be confused. The recommendations of the recent stakeholders group reviewing the pilot results included:

  • Keep the qualification process as simple as possible to encourage providers to offer services,
  • Use the standard Medical Assistance contract and criteria,
  • Use the Provider Profile components as a resource for individuals selecting providers,
  • New providers will need a timeframe to develop quality management and staff training plans which could be found on their web sites, and
  • Financial viability was a controversial issue and using a required liquid asset test could not be attained by most providers. Perhaps in the Provider Profile training for individuals/families there could be a component about looking at the required audits of agencies.

ICF/MR Employment Workgroup
The ICF/MR Employment Workgroup has recommended that an employment manual be developed to assist agencies in understanding the competitive and supported employment processes. This manual would include the OMR employment bulletin, overview of supported employment, establish criteria and timelines for requesting a waiver to fund these services, interfacing with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Bureau of Special Education, Department of Health opinion regarding ICFs offering competitive employment, suggested trainings for parents, and details on maintaining the individual’s financial eligibility for Medical Assistance and Social Security. Interested ICF/MR and supported employment staff are invited to serve on this workgroup. Contact Linda Drummond at PCPA for details.

Long-Term Living Council
Secretary Estelle Richman, Department of Public Welfare, announced the appointment of Michael Nardone as deputy secretary for the Office of Medical Assistance. Nardone had been the executive director of the governor’s Long-Term Living Council.

Mike Hall from Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services has been named executive director of the council, replacing Nardone. Until Hall starts this position in March, Linda Blanchette will serve as interim executive director.

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