Opportunity Village plans transition of on-campus services

Opportunity Village plans to create more community-based, smaller homes for individuals it supports over the next four to five years.
     “For a long time, we have wanted to decrease the number of people living under one roof in our Clear Lake campus homes,” said John Severtson, CEO at Clear Lake’s largest employer.  “Smaller living arrangements offer more personal attention, quieter settings and more community integration.”

     A decision by the Supreme Court, known as the Olmstead Decision, determined that people with disabilities have the right to live in community integrated settings.   The Department of Justice has interpreted this decision as requiring states to direct their funding to integrated settings. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided states guidance that CMS does not support using federal Medicaid home and community based waiver funds for segregated campus settings.  In light of these federal policies, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) wants to work thoughtfully and collaboratively with providers, persons served, and their families to shift its Medicaid funding to integrated settings.
     According to Severtson, the goal is for Opportunity Village to work with DHS over a reasonable period of time to assist individuals living on the Clear Lake campus to instead live in community settings with the supports and services they need.  This affects approximately 100 individuals in Morning Sun, Pioneer, Oak Hill, Four Seasons, Wildwood, Bed Rock, and Cloud Nine cottages.  Up to 16 people now live in each of these homes, which are licensed as Residential Care Facility/Intellectual Disability (RCF/ID), he said.
     These individuals may eventually live in a home, apartment or duplex, owned by the Village or a private landlord, in Clear Lake or another community.  A person receiving Village services might live alone or with up to four roommates.  Staffing would be arranged based on individual needs.  Some individuals might need 24-hour supervision, others might need specific hours and services.
    The Village plans to move approximately 20 individuals from these cottages to smaller living situations within the first year.  After evaluating that progress, the Village would start planning with another 20 people to make that move in the following year, and so on.
     “Our top priority is a positive outcome for each person affected,” Severtson said.  “I want to assure everyone that Opportunity Village will continue to carry out its commitment to every individual we serve.  This includes maintaining stability and relationships in the lives of those we support to the greatest extent possible.”
     He added, “Over the last 25 years we have expanded Village supports and services into 30 communities in - Read More Via e-Edition

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