What is the "DD" Waiver in New Mexico?
In 1981, Congress and the federal government introduced the "Title XIX (19) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Program. This came in response to citizens within the special needs community who advocated for the opportunity to move away from, or "waiver" out of, public institutions. New Mexico's HCBS program was introduced in 1984. Known as the "DD Waiver", the HCBS program is currently operated through the Developmental Disability Supports Division (DDSD), within the State Department of Health (DOH) under the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD).
What does the "DD" in DD Waiver stand for?
The letters "DD" stand for Developmental Disability.
Is there more than one type of Disability?
Yes, there are many. The two types of disabilities that the DD Waiver in New Mexico addresses most directly are Developmental and Intellectual.
What is a Waiver?
A Waiver is an authorization, or permission, granted for a specific length of time by the federal government. A State makes an application; in this case, the State of New Mexico applies every five (5) years to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), stating how monies received will be allocated to individuals who qualify for the DD Waiver. New Mexico closed most of its public institutions and care facilities in the mid 1980's, moving the special needs population out into communites around the State, thus permitting many of these individuals to enjoy new found freedoms and a never before experienced level of independence. New Mexico just received approval of it's new application known as the "1915C Medicaid Waiver" in 2011.
Does every developmentally disabled person qualify for the DD Waiver?
No. Unfortunately not. To compound things, even those that do qualify, have to wait as much as ten (10) years, as part of an ever growing "waiting list".
Well, that's really a very good question. One we're not sure can be that easily answered. What we know is that over that period of time, fewer people in the special needs community who applied for the Waiver, were actually enrolled. Little by little, a waiting list developed. To make things worse, as New Mexico encountered an economic downturn in the late 1990's and 2000's, enrollment failed to keep pace with applicants and the waiting list population swelled. Today's waiting list is nearing 6,000 persons and is climbing at an average of 300 people annually.
Is the State doing ANYTHING?
Well, actually, yes they are. However, not everything the State is doing is being well received.
What's the Beef?
On the "up" side the State of New Mexico announced in April, 2012, it was moving 250 individuals (dependent on test* results), from the waiting list to the DD Waiver program.
On the "down" side the State is attempting to take employment from roughly 1,000 or more Caregiver's
How can the State do this?
In 2008-2009 the State of New Mexico Developmental Disabilty Supports Division (DDSD),admitted it had no idea what services were being provided to who, how much the services cost, what services individuals on the waiting list might need, nor how much that would cost.
As a result, the State contracted with the firm of Burn's and Associates (B&A) of Phoenix, Arizona to conduct a "survey" of Provider Agencies throughout the State in order to compile data, create rate studies, propose recommended budgets, publish service package models and help New Mexico address its purported "skyrocketing" runaway costs.
How did it work?
Burns and Associates reportedly sent out 301 survey questionaires to recipient agencies statewide. It is surmized the questionaires were extremely long, substatially complex and/or significantly difficult, as Burns futher reports only a fraction (18%) of the Survey recipients responded. Burns did however, cite that of the 54 respondents, they accounted for roughly 45% of all Waiver spending in New Mexico.