“Know Your Rights” To Support New Mexicans With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities
Commentary: Today, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) launched a new campaign to better support New Mexicans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The campaign, called, “Know Your Rights” is focused on engaging more New Mexicans with these types of disabilities with communities and resources designed to improve their independence and quality of life.
The Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Supports Division will coordinate this campaign to raise awareness for the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate in integrated living, vocational, educational, recreational, social and leisure activities in the community.
“People with disabilities have a right to live, work, and participate in the greater community,” said Lynn Gallagher, Department of Health Secretary Designate. “We are committed to ensuring that the rights and dignity of all New Mexicans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are fully realized.”
A primary focus of the “Know Your Rights” campaign is to create communication with participants, family members, stakeholders, and advocacy groups throughout implementation of the Transition Plan. DDSD is scheduling a series of “Know Your Rights” forums designed to ensure providers, partner organizations, and advocacy groups are familiar with the rights afforded to participants under the Final Rule and are kept abreast of critical activities and milestones.
On January 16, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a Final Rule addressing several sections of the Social Security Act. The Final Rule amends the regulations for the 1915(c)Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs. HCBS provide opportunities for Medicaid beneficiaries with I/DD to receive services in their own home or community rather than institutions or other isolated settings.
“These rules are an important step forward in federal policy, supporting inclusion and integration of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the community,” said Gallagher.
The Final Rule is designed to ensure that individuals can make informed choices, based on the individual’s needs and preferences, about their home and community including:
· integrated and supportive full access to the community, including opportunities to work, participate in community life, control one’s own money, and receive services in the community just like people who do not receive home and community-based services;
· the right to privacy, dignity and respect and freedom from coercion and restraint; and enablement to take initiative, be independent, make choices about their environment, daily activities and the people theyspend their time with.
NMDOH Developmental Disabilities Supports Division and New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) have authored a Statewide Transition Plan which highlights the process for collaborating with individuals who use HCBS services, families, providers, advocates and others. The plan also describes the roles and transition activities required of HSD and NMDOH and outlines the work of each agency to be compliant to all changes in rules and regulations in the HCBS Final Rule by March 17, 2019.
A draft of the Statewide Transition Plan is available for review at: http://www.hsd.state.nm.us/uploads/files/Proposed Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Settings Statewide Transition Plan Amendment.pdf.
For more information about scheduled stakeholder forums, or for CMS Final Rule and “Know Your Rights” campaign updates, visit http://www.actnewmexico.org or contact DDSD at (505) 475-8974.