By John Estrem, CEO

Change is a normal part of everyday life; however, 2014 is shaping up to be a year of particularly big change in our field. This is being driven by two large revisions that have been a long time coming – a new rate setting system and the new 245D waiver regulations.

Bruce Welcomes John Estrem

John Estrem (left) with Bruce Duffney, an individual we support

The rate setting system (called “Disability Waiver Rate System”) sets monetary rates for a waiver. This waiver rate is one way that a person with a disability pays for services and programming. In the past, these rates were essentially negotiated with the county. Starting January 1st, a statewide system was put in place to set all rates. Like any new large system, there will be a number of problems with it in these early days. Rates for individuals already receiving a waiver cannot change much in the next few years of this new system (this is called banding). It allows us time to work with the county and state to iron out the problems. The issue is more critical for someone getting their first waiver. We are working hard with ARRM to address any problems with the system.

The other big change deals with how we are licensed as a provider. It covers all regulations and procedures that go with a license. 245D is the title of the new law that structures our services (it was preceded by 245B). These new regulations change how we license our programs. There are a number of programming aspects that we must update or add in order to be in compliance with the law. You will see some changes in forms, procedures and training because of this.

John and Lisbeth

John Estrem and Lisbeth Vest Armstrong at the “ARRM Day at the Capitol”

Again, our work with ARRM and other providers is critical to helping us navigate these changes. The goal is to understand as much as possible upfront and get proactive with the compromises and solutions we present. As we work through this year of big changes in our field, we know there may be a few bumps in the road. We ask for your patience and teamwork. Our commitment at Hammer, as always, is to provide the highest quality services possible. I thank you all for your continued commitment to help the individuals we serve live life to the fullest.