Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Employing People With Developmental Disabilities

Gerianne Prom
VP, Long Term Care Services

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This, as well as the celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act all year long reminds me that we have made a lot of progress.  But, there is always more to do.

These reports from National Core Indicators show the percentage of people with developmental disabilities who have paying jobs in their community.

Of the 26 states surveyed, the average is just 15%. Wisconsin’s average is slightly higher at 22%.  North Carolina sits at 12%.  This data shows that we need to do better and must continue helping people with developmental disabilities live and work in their community.

NCI has a great collection of searchable data at

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Employer Authority: Clear Expectations

Danielle Skenadore
Human Services Manager

Last month, I had the great opportunity to present “Who’s the Boss: Transition Age Youth and Employer Authority” at the 2015 Wisconsin Transition Conference in Wisconsin Dells.  The conference is a chance for educators, professionals, families, and transition age youth to come together and share best practices.  The conference opened up many fascinating discussions about community-based employment, higher education, adaptive technology, home and community-based services, and self-determination.

In both “Who’s the Boss” and many other sessions at the conference, I found myself reflecting on a common theme: expectations.  How do we understand the expectations of the individuals and families we serve?  We often talk about what individuals and families can or should expect from their educators or their employers, but we don’t always discuss what young people can or should expect from their caregivers. 

Clarifying expectations is crucial to successful employer authority.  In my recent post, I highlighted how self-directed programs allow participants decision-making authority in recruiting, hiring, training, and supervising caregivers of their choice.  When a participant or member chooses to exercise this employer authority, they take on the role of a boss. 

Participants and members frequently hire “inside sources” (people they already know) to be their caregivers.  While you might not think interviewing a parent, spouse, sibling or friend is necessary, establishing clear expectations is very important.  When I am out in the community and talking to folks, this issue comes up again and again.

Making sure both the caregiver and care recipient are on the same page from the beginning can facilitate a healthy caregiving relationship.   Check out the slide below for some tips on establishing clear expectations with family or friends. 

To see the entire presentation, please contact me and connect with iLIFE on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Filling in the Blanks of Managed Care

Amanda Cavanagh
Director, Research and Business Development

I have a background in healthcare and technology so I am accustomed to acronyms, industry terms, and catchphrases.  “If you know one ______, then you know only one ______” gets a lot of mileage. I have heard this expression used in a wide array of settings to convey complexity and uniqueness. My question is how does it translate into managed care?

I recently attended the Medicaid Managed Care conference hosted by World Congress in Washington D.C.  This event brings together an impressive group of leaders from managed care, long term care, CMS, state and Medicaid organizations.  Each leader brings a unique perspective, industry expertise, and desire to collaborate for the benefit of the individuals served.

A managed care model is utilized to finance and deliver healthcare to primary and acute patient populations. The goal of a managed care organization is to improve the quality of patient care while simultaneously reducing the cost of health benefits. 

Medicaid managed care leaders emphasize that the incorporation of stakeholder engagement is essential to the development of an integrated Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) program. The design of an MLTSS program seeks to uncover how managed care can be sensitive to the unique needs of a given population in a delivery model where streamlined supports are services are the goal.

As managed care continues to influence the development of MLTSS, the catchphrases we use to convey importance can be revisited, analyzed and, ultimately, challenged. If you know one patient do you only know one patient? Yes. But knowing one patient does not mean you only know one MLTSS consumer. Further, knowing one patient does not mean you know the entire market.

In other words, the goal when filling in the blanks should not be “one word fits all”.  We must recognize how words can elevate individuals and their uniqueness and complexity when redesigning models of care.

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