Open Minds: OPWDD releases plan to eliminate sheltered workshops

NYAPRS Note: This article comes from our friends at Open Minds who detail below how OPWDD is planning to eliminate funding for sheltered workshops over the next 10 years. By ending admissions and transitioning current sheltered workshop participants, OOPWDD anticipates that it will save $3 million for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and enable countless people to engage in and be paid for competitive employment. OPWDD estimates that half of the current 8,100 people who participate in sheltered workshops could transition to competitive employment over the next six years. Their goal with this initiative is to improve competitive employment rates for individuals with developmental disabilities and to increase the number of individuals who apply for and receive intensive supported employment services through ACCES-VR. This action from OPWDD is another step in moving NY's Olmstead plan forward, reducing stigma and isolation, and allowing all people to seek and obtain jobs and careers of their choosing. In support of Olmstead, OMH will soon follow. New York OPWDD To Eliminate Funding For Sheltered Workshops Developed by OPEN MINDS, 163 York Street, Gettysburg PA 17325, www.openminds.com<http://www.openminds.com>. All rights reserved. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. You may not use this work for commercial purposes without written permission from OPEN MINDS.

On October 1, 2013, the New York Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) released a draft plan detailing how it will eliminate funding for sheltered workshops over the next decade. During the summer of 2013, as part of its Road to Reform initiative, OPWDD implemented new rules eliminating new admissions to sheltered workshops. In October 2013, OPWDD began reviewing its 176 supported employment provider organizations to identify the rates, billing cycle, and level of supports needed to successful assist individuals in maintaining employment, with the goal of developing a new supported employment fee and billing structure, which will include performance measures, tiered funding levels based on support need, and transportation costs. OPWDD estimates that half of the current 8,100 workshop participants could transition to competitive employment over six years. OPWDD seeks to increase the number of people with developmental disabilities who are competitively employed by 700 new people by April 1, 2014.

For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, OPWDD spent about $46 million for sheltered workshop services. By ending admissions and transitioning current sheltered workshop participants, OOPWDD anticipates that it will save $3 million for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The draft plan calls for phasing out sheltered workshops over the next 10 years for existing participants, and shifting individuals into competitive employment opportunities. Alternative options will be offered to those who are of retirement age (currently about 40% of workshop participants are age 50 or older) or who have medical, adaptive, or behavioral support needs that create barriers to employment. Individuals who do not initially transition to competitive employment can do so later. OPWDD's final plan is expected by January 1, 2013. The goal is to improve competitive employment rates for individuals with developmental disabilities. Additional details from the draft plan included the following:

* A new employment system leveraging the New York State Education Department's Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR)-The goal is to increase the number of individuals who apply for and receive intensive supported employment services through ACCES-VR. * A new supported employment billing and fee structure-OPWDD will complete the review by December 31, 2013, and by January 31, 2014, OPWDD will make recommendations to the state Department of Health. * A new person-centered comprehensive career planning and support service called "Pathway to Employment"-OPWDD is developing a competitive request for proposals (RFP) to seek an entity to develop the Pathway to Employment curriculum and provide statewide trainings to non-profit provider organizations serving OPWDD clients. The Pathway to Employment service will launch by March 2014. The service will be available to OPWDD clients needing additional supports before transitioning to ACCES-VR, or who need supports to help them maintain or advance in employment or self-employment. Individuals receiving day habilitation, prevocational or workshop services, and high school students will have the option of receiving the Pathway to Employment services. * Conversion planning for the 113 existing sheltered workshops in the state to transform them into integrated community businesses using an affirmative business or social enterprise model-In November 2013, OPWDD will convene a workgroup to develop recommendations for alternative business models to convert the existing 113 sheltered workshops. The workgroup members are representatives of provider organizations that have already successfully converted their workshops into integrated community businesses using the affirmative business or social enterprise model. The workgroup recommendations will be submitted to OPWDD by March 1, 2014, and by May 1, 2014, OPWDD will issue workshop conversion guidance to non-profit organizations. By September 1, 2014, provider organizations interested in workshop conversion will be required to submit conversion plans using an affirmative business or social enterprise model. OPWDD will approve plans by November 1, 2014.

A link to the full text of "New York Office For Persons With Developmental Disabilities Draft Plan To Increase Competitive Employment Opportunities For People With Developmental Disabilities" may be found in The OPEN MINDS Circle Library at www.openminds.com/library/100113nyopwddemploymentplan.htm<http://www.openminds.com/library/100113nyopwddemploymentplan.htm>.

A link to the full text of "New York OPWDD Road To Reform Update April 2013" may be found in The OPEN MINDS Circle Library at www.openminds.com/library/041513nyopwddreformupdate.htm<http://www.openminds.com/library/041513nyopwddreformupdate.htm>.

OPEN MINDS also reported on the Road to Reform initiative in "New York Medicaid Sets New Audit Protocols For DD Service Provider Organizations; New Budget Anticipates $40 Million In Recoveries." The article is available at www.openminds.com/market-intelligence/premium/omol/2013/061713idd1.htm<http://www.openminds.com/market-intelligence/premium/omol/2013/061713idd1.htm>.

For more information, contact: Tiffany Portzer, Director of Communications, New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, 75 Morton Street, New York, New York 10014; 518-474-6601; E-mail: communications.office at opwdd.ny.gov<mailto:communications.office at opwdd.ny.gov>; Website: www.opwdd.ny.gov<http://www.opwdd.ny.gov/>.

New York OPWDD To Eliminate Funding For Sheltered Workshops. (2013, November 4). OPEN MINDS Weekly News Wire.

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