The Maryland Developmental Disability Administration (DDA) is proposing several changes SDS. Families and participants have expressed their concerns by written correspondence, and in meetings and webinars to DDA. The proposed changes violate freedom of choice, disability rights and are in direct opposition to the CMS HCBS waiver and DDA transformation. Lastly, there has been lack of transparency, false information referring to Federal guidelines and reports, and a dismissive attitude in webinars to the people with disabilities that it serves. The following are three changes SDAN is concerned about:
- Requirement for participants to have a designated representative if participant fails to meet DDA criteria related to making informed decisions regarding their services.
- Policies not included waiver that may restrict the ability to hire relatives.
- Including counseling services for participants in the administrative portion of the plan/budget, which participants’ choice and individualization.
- Elimination of two current FMSes in favor of a single company servicing multiple states combining fiscal management and counseling services. Thus eliminating participant choice of providers!
These changes would result in cumbersome scheduling, higher administrative costs, less vested personnel, and agency dependency- thereby moving toward a more institutionalized structure.
Maryland Self-Directed Advocacy Network collected over 600 petitions in two weeks. The petition requested the removal of SDS from Amendment 2. DDA has obliged. However, we are concerned these changes will still happen. Although their has been tremendous input from participants and families, we have received no assurance. If anything, the contrary. We are asking for your help on behalf of the participants in SDS. We have heard the voices of parents and participants filled with fear regarding these changes. We feel it is our duty as advocates for self-direction to ask you to investigate this and work with us so the participants’ voices can be heard.