View Comments on ‘Participant Directed Services Regulations’

Second 15-Day Comments:

Received DateReceived From (Name or Affiliation)Comment
06/30/2022Amy Westling (Association of Regional Center Agencies)Please see the attached comments from ARCA relevant to the Second 15-Day Modified Text and Addendum to the ISOR. ARCA appreciates the opportunity to comment on the emergency regulations proposed by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) related to participant-directed services.

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15-Day Comments:

Received DateReceived From (Name or Affiliation)Comment
03/08/2022Amy Westling (Association of Regional Center Agencies)ARCA appreciates the opportunity to comment on the emergency regulations proposed by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) related to participant-directed services. ARCA acknowledges the work of DDS in developing comprehensive regulations that allow for the greatest level of flexibility in meeting the needs of consumers and their families. ARCA recommends the attached modifications to increase clarity and consistency:

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45-Day Comments:

Received DateReceived From (Name or Affiliation)Comment
11/22/2021Christina Cannarella and Johnny Hatch (RC Consumer and Parent)

The reimbursement rate being suggested is still way too low. At our regional center, there is no FMS that would offer PDS Community Based Training Service (CBTS) because it was “not worth it for them to provide this service.”

We contacted all three of the vendored FMSs who provided PDS, (once we finally got approval for PDS CBTS ) and no FMS would provide it stating the current rate of $16.22 was not feasible for them to offer this service.

So I would highly recommend that the reimbursement rate for PDS CBTS be comparable to what the reimbursement rate is for a vendored service provider who is providing a Community Integration Training Program (055 service code). You will see in Attachment #1* that the definitions of what a 475 and 055 service code are, are very similar to each other. They both have similar goals of community integration leading towards community-based employment or volunteer opportunities so the reimbursement rates be similar.

Also, I would highly recommend that the process to receive PDS services is streamlined and a directive is given as to a time-line to be able to start to receive this service once it is requested by the consumer (and family if applicable).

My son and I had tried for almost a year to get PDS Personal Assistance (PA). We initially requested it in April of 2020 and didn’t receive it until February of 2021.

We initially requested PDS CBTS in August of 2020 and didn’t receive approval for PDS CBTS until June 2021.

We initially requested PDS Transportation in May of 2021 to transport Johnny to and from his community based activities and we STILL have not received it and are waiting on approval.

Receiving services from regional centers that are become part of a consumer’s IPP should not take this long.

Our RC has a long list of requirements that they are asking for but they don’t let us know what those requirements are all at once. They keep adding things on that they need, which prolongs the process to get PDS.

For example, they wanted the community based locations my son was going to, and the mileage to and from those locations. So we provided that to them and now they are “requesting a map” of the locations.

Receiving PDS should not be so difficult for consumers and families to request and receive.

So if you can please add in the revised regulations a timeline to receive approval for PDS, once it is requested AND what the required documents are, so consumers and families know ahead of time, they can be prepared with those when they request PDS. This would be extremely helpful and make the process a lot quicker and easier for consumers and families.

Many times, the reason consumers and families request PDS is because they are not able to get the service under the traditional service delivery vendored model. Which means they have gone without a service they need.

The reason we requested PDS Community Based Training Service through our regional center because there was no quality vendored day program that would accept my son. We were told, this was based on the level of support needs that my son had which included needing 1:1 direct support to assist with personal care (toileting) and a few other minimal behavioral support needs (ex. possible elopement issues at times when out in the community).

This has been the case for many other regional center consumers we know personally, who require assistant using the restroom, and/or are wheelchair users and/or may have behavioral support needs. Vendored Day Programs can pick and choose which consumers they accept into their programs, (which one can argue is against the ADA because vendored service providers receive State and Federal funding through the regional centers.) I mention this because THIS is the reason, PDS Community Based Training Services are so important to many including those with more significant level of support needs which are often under served consumers with unmet needs.

If we don’t offer this service, we are denying consumers a chance to be integrated and included in their communities which is what the HCBS CMS Final Rule is all about.

So please consider making the reimbursement rate somewhat comparable to what a vendored 055 service provider receives.

Lastly I would recommend that you amend this part of PDS CBTS below in RED:

(A) A regional center shall classify a vendor as a Participant-Directed Community-Based Training Service for Adults if the vendor:

1. Is an adult consumer, family member, or conservator;

2. Is not the direct provider of the community-based training service for adults. A parent or conservator shall not be the direct support worker employed by the community-based training vendor; and

The reason being is because often times when you have higher level of support needs, it is very difficult to find quality support staff that can be with consumers out in the community. I completely understand that DDS wants to ensure a parent or conservator isn’t taking advantage of this funding and not providing the service needed but you can put stipulations on it and require proof of what community based locations/activities the parent is assisting the consumer at. For example, proof of a class at community college or proof of enrollment in an acting class, etc.

So the parent/conservator has accountability to show what sort of CBTS they are providing to their adult consumer. As a child, it makes sense to not offer this but when a consumer becomes an adult, we want to create every opportunity we can to give consumers a chance to be out in their community. And if the parent needs to support them in the community that means that they have to take time away from their job. Allowing this as an option, would support the consumer and family to be included in their communities.

Thank you for your support for PDS and expanding it to include PA, ILS and SLS. Also thank you for your time and consideration to our suggestions. I am happy to discuss this more with whomever may be interested.

My son and I are grateful for PDS and having PDS PA helped A LOT throughout this pandemic.

Have a safe and meaningful holiday filled with laughter and love.

With gratitude,
Christina Cannarella and Johnny Hatch

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11/22/2021Disability Voices United

Disability Voices United (DVU) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the amendments to regulations proposed by DDS to add personal assistant, independent living services and supported employment as additional available Participant Directed Services. Understanding the need, during the COVID-19 public health emergency, for greater flexibility and authority over how, and by whom, services are provided, the Department has allowed for the temporary use of these categories as Participant Directed Services. These services greatly benefit the people and families who have been able to access them during COVID and they should be made permanently available.

Despite the Department’s continued efforts to publicize the availability of the additional Participant Directed Services, it appears that many people still do not know about them. We hope that the new regional center Participant Choice Specialists will help fully inform individuals and families about these services as well as about the Self- Determination Program. However, while DVU strongly supports including personal assistant, independent living services and supported employment as permanent Participant Directed Services, we believe they should not be promoted by regional centers as a substitute for Self- Determination.

Finally, we note that the temporary services have operated, under the DDS directives, in a relatively flexible, uncomplicated manner and we hope that they can continue to do so under the regulations.

Thank you for considering our comments.

10/26/2021Amy Westling (Association of Regional Center Agencies)

ARCA appreciates the opportunity to comment on the emergency regulations proposed by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) related to participant directed services. ARCA acknowledges the work of DDS in developing comprehensive regulations that allows for the greatest level of flexibility in meeting the needs of consumers and their families. Please see the attached document for ARCA's comments. Best!

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10/18/2021Reed Kellman (Golden Gate Regional Center)

Golden Gate Regional Center recommends that the regulation changes regarding rates for Respite Service Family Member (SC 420) (57310) and Participant-Directed Personal Assistance (SC 456) (58888 (a) (6)) allow for a rate to be based upon “current state or local minimum wage, whichever is higher”. Within California there are a number of local ordinances which establish the minimum wage at a wage higher than current California law, such as the City and County of San Francisco. Establishing rates that will not allow payment at the local minimum wage may impact the ability of individuals to receive services in these areas.

10/16/2021Diane Elizabeth Walker

I support making the temporary Participant Directed Services during Covid a permanent benefit. My autistic adult daughter has not used these services yet as she is either not ready or we do not need them yet. However, in the future these services will certainly be needed. To have them as a permanently available supported service will be extremely important. Thank you. Diane Walker, Grass Valley (Nevada County)

10/14/2021Bethaney Temby

It is essential/critical to add ILS, PA, and SES Participant Directed Services to the regulations so these are made permanent. This will provide clients of the regional center more provider options to ensure their health and safety, continue to live in the community in a least restrictive environment, and achieve their IPP goals. The pandemic has stressed clients and families because of the serious dire shortage of direct support staff. Having more options/flexibility to hire DSPs is necessary to reduce hospitalization and more restrictive living arrangements, will increase independence, and enhance employment opportunities. This will improve the life quality of the regional center clients and have a positive impact for their families/caregivers/advocates.


Last modified: June 30, 2022