Politics As It Happens: OPWDD Says 1115 Waiver “Might Not Be the Best Vehicle to Use to Meet Our Goals”

“[An 1115 Waiver approach] might not be the best vehicle to use to meet our goals,”  Commissioner Burke wrote today in a letter to the field.  Therefore a waiver under a different section of federal law may be sought, the Commissioner added.

However, the Commissioner noted that “the movement to managed care and the timeline it will require for OPWDD has not changed.”

This assessment comes on the heels of ongoing discussions with CMS.  A switch to another type of waiver had been rumored. Please see the full letter below:

“April 26, 2012

Dear Friends:

We are continuing to make significant progress in development of the People First Waiver, and I would like to share the latest information on some recent events and ongoing discussions.

This month, we made seven public presentations, which were attended by more than 850 people statewide. For those who were unable to attend, video of the presentation is available online. To date, we have conducted more than 100 public presentations or discussions on this critical initiative.

Many stakeholders are asking about our goals for the waiver, and what this process will look like. To help answer people’s questions, we have produced an introductory waiver presentation that gives an overview of what a waiver is, why it is necessary to what OPWDD is trying to achieve, and what to expect throughout its development. That presentation may also be found online.

Here is some additional up-to-date information:

  • At this time, OPWDD is negotiating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the financial framework and to define the boundaries of the flexibility that we believe are needed to improve the quality of supports and services in the future. After our most recent discussions with CMS, we recognize that an 1115 federal waiver may not be the best vehicle to use to meet our goals. Therefore, moving forward, in the event that a waiver to a different section of federal law is what we seek, this initiative will be referred to only as the People First Waiver.
  • The movement to managed care and the timeline it will require for OPWDD has not changed, since our approach all along has been that this is a multi-year process. However, due to ongoing discussions, our timeline may shift slightly into the future.

This system redesign is a journey, and one that requires all of us—individuals and their families, nonprofit providers and OPWDD staff—to collaboratively build a sustainable service delivery system for the future.

Thousands of people have joined this endeavor. I very much appreciate your involvement to date, and look forward to hearing your suggestions as we move forward.


Commissioner Burke

P.S. Communication is critical to our collective success, and OPWDD’s Facebook page is a great place for individuals, family members, employees, advocates, and other stakeholders to exchange thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to join the conversation.”