Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) announced this week a 20% retroactive rate increase for Community Living, Aging and Protective Services (CAP) and Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) waivered services providers.
These interventions, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), are retroactive back to Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. Pending approval by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority board, OKDHS is seeking additional interventions for the periods Jan. 1 through March 31, 2021, and April 1 through June 30, 2021. The first payment will be sent in Aug. 2021, with subsequent payments made in 90 day increments.
Home and Community Based Waiver Services (HCBS) include a comprehensive array of services including case management, residential, employment and habilitation services and supports for individuals three years of age or older. HCBS uses a person-centered planning approach where an individual's team assesses the needs of the individual and develops an annual plan of care to address those needs. Waivers allow the state to offer community-based services as an alternative to institutional or nursing facility services, increasing independence and quality of life for the service recipients.
Waivered services providers are also currently experiencing significant workforce shortages to serve HCBS customers. Higher wages offered by businesses competing for the same labor pool is a primary contributor to the HCBS labor shortage, and the lack of qualified and skilled labor has significantly increased over time, increasing provider costs.
“We are grateful for the retroactive increase as it will help fill the gap in our budget,” said Robin Arter, Executive Director at Think Ability, Inc. “It is a much needed relief in our efforts in supporting Oklahomans with developmental disabilities.”
These temporary add-on payments will help bolster services and address this short-term shortage of qualified staff, allowing providers to meet their immediate needs while OKDHS conducts a rate study to develop a strategy for a permanent solution.
“Our waivered services providers have done a phenomenal job in serving aging Oklahomans and individuals with developmental disabilities in their own homes and communities during a really challenging time,” said Samantha Galloway, OKDHS Chief of Staff and Operations. “These additional funds are a vital, yet short term, intervention to help providers mitigate workforce issues while a longer term solution is developed. We are equally excited about the opportunity to invest additional dollars in things that have a real and immediate impact on people’s quality of life, such as eyeglasses, dental and hearing aid services in a big way that is beyond what has been available in our single year budget historically.”
In addition to the retroactive rate increases, both CAP and DDS will also offer a one-time initiative to purchase eyeglasses and hearing aids, propose development of model smart homes, expand assistive technologies, offer staff education and direct support staff professional development programs, among many initiatives intended to strengthen supports for older Oklahomans and individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
To learn more about OKDHS’ Developmental Disabilities Services, including Home and Community Based Waiver Services, visit https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/dd/developmental-disabilities-services.html. To apply for services, visit https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/dd/areacontactinfo.html.
To learn more about OKDHS’ CAP, including the Advantage Waiver program, or to apply for services, visit https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/cap/advantage-services.html.