Quality Assurance Section Overview
The Quality Assurance Section consists of five units: Certification and Licensure, Psychology, Outreach, Information and Referral, and Waiver Medicaid Income Eligibility Unit. Together, the Quality Assurance Section works to ensure that persons with developmental disabilities have access to quality services that are “custom-designed” to enable them to live independently and productively as valued members in their communities.
The Assistant Director of the QA Section is responsible for coordinating development of policy pertinent to the Section. The Assistant Director also hears appeals from service providers and from individuals regarding pertinent issues.
Licensure and Certification Unit
This unit is responsible for annual reviews of all Center-Based and Alternative Community Service (ACS) Waiver service providers, investigating issues raised by persons receiving services, their family members, or by any concerned individual, and for conducting annual Consumer Satisfaction Surveys. Staff may also provide technical assistance regarding specific requirements contained in the Certification or Licensure Standards.
Six Services and Licensing Specialists, housed in central Arkansas, conduct annual reviews of approximately 115 providers of Center-Based and ACS Waiver services. The review, which may take several days, consists of (1) interviews with persons receiving services, family members and provider staff, (2) observations of activities, and (3) record review. Although adherence to regulations is critical, the focus of the review is to evaluate the provision of services that are based on outcomes and are designed to meet the specific needs of the individual served.
Two investigation staff review all reports of incidents that providers submit according to DHS Policy 1090. If necessary, staff may conduct further investigation into the incident. Additionally, staff investigate concerns and complaints regarding services expressed by concerned individuals.
Annually, Licensure and Certification Unit staff interview 400 randomly selected adults who receive services using a consumer satisfaction survey tool developed by the National Core Indicator Project. The questions are designed to gather information regarding both Consumer outcomes and System Performance outcomes. Consumer outcomes include “community inclusion”, “choice and decision making”, “relationships” and “satisfaction”. System Performance outcomes include “service coordination”, “access” and “health, welfare and rights”. NCI produces an annual report, based on the information obtained from the surveys, that details state specific results and compares Arkansas’ results to those of other participating states.
The Psychology team conducts initial and periodic reviews of an individuals eligibility for services at the Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (ICF/ID) level of care. This level of care includes residential services at the five state-operated Human Development Center, at private ICF/IDs, and services provided under the Arkansas ACS Home and Community Based Waiver. The team participates in ACS Home and Community- Based Waiver Plan of Care committee meetings and provides review and comments for requests by providers for pervasive level of care. Team members monitor and provide evaluation of behavior management and behavior treatment programs by review, observation and consultation.
Psychology Team: 870-910-8400, extension 1514
Adult Services Intake, Referral, and Eligibility Determination Unit
The Intake, Referral and Eligibility Determination Unit has two specific functions: Adult Services Intake and Referral and Medicaid Income Eligibility.
The Adult Services Intake and Referral is responsible for responding to all initial inquiries for developmental disabilities services for adults; prescreening to determine an individual’s status; determining eligibility for non-waiver developmental disabilities services; and assisting with application for services for adults who have an intellectual disability or a developmental disability, with or without other disabilities. After the intake process is completed, staff refer individuals for DDS services; evaluate for state-funded supports and services; process applications for an array of DDS services and refer applicants to other DHS divisions and state agencies if an individual is ineligible for DDS services.
Home and Community Based Waiver Services Unit
This section ensures that home and community-based services are maintained as an alternative to institutional placement. In all, up to 4,143 eligible people can receive their choice of services through community-based programs. This section also works to ensure that the individual program mix is programmatically correct for each person and is cost effective under standards established by Medicaid and the DDS. Through networking and on-going educational activities, unit staff works to improve and expand waiver service opportunities. Currently 4,002 people are receiving these community services. Assessments for additional applicants are on-going.
Children's Services Section
Early Intervention for Families of Infants and Toddlers Birth to the Third Birthday
First Connections (early intervention through Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA) partners with parents of young children experiencing a developmental delay to support the child’s early learning and development. Goals for the program set by the Office of Special Education Programs are to ensure that families know their rights under IDEA, know how to communicate their child’s abilities and special learning needs, and know how to help their child learn and develop so that children develop positive social-emotional relationships, can acquire and use knowledge and skills, and use appropriate behavior to get their needs met. Home and community-based intervention is provided by qualified personnel working with the child’s caregivers to promote the child’s active participation in typical activities at home or in an integrated childcare setting to build functional skills in accordance with 34 CFR §303.26. The First Connections program works with families to guide them through the process from referral to developing goals for the child’s and family’s individualized plan, to selecting service providers. Early intervention supports and services are provided at no cost to families (public or private insurance may be utilized, with parent consent). Families of toddlers approaching the third birthday with ongoing early learning needs are supported in creating a plan to transition to early childhood special education under IDEA, Part B or other appropriate early learning programs of the family’s choosing. First Connections works closely with the Arkansas Interagency Coordinating Council and local coordinating councils which provide guidance and assistance in planning and implementing a state-wide, coordinated system.
Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN)
Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Service Coordination staff consists of Registered Nurses, Social Workers and clerical support located in 16 DHS offices around the State of Arkansas.
Case Management/Care Coordination
DDS Children’s Services provides case management/care coordination for children birth to 21 years of age. Title V Care Coordinators will provide individuals and their families with information about the array of services that are available in their community and assist with referrals and applications for those services.
Title V Family Support/Respite Program
This Title V Program is available to SSI and TEFRA recipients under age 18 on a first come first served basis based on need and financial eligibility. With approval of the application, families are eligible for up to $1,000. Title V does not have a registry of certified respite providers.
Parent Advisory Council
The Parent Advisory Council meets four times a year and provides input and guidance on issues related to the Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs program staff.
Transition to all aspects of adult life, including adult health care, work and independence is a goal for all youth with special health care needs.
A family-centered medical home is not a building, house, hospital, or home healthcare service, but rather an approach to providing comprehensive primary care. In a family-centered medical home, the pediatric care team works in partnership with a child and a child's family to assure that all of the medical and non-medical needs of the patient are met. Through this partnership the pediatric care team can help the family/patient access, coordinate, and understand specialty care, educational services, out-of-home care, family support, and other public and private community services that are important for the overall health of the child and family.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed the medical home model for delivering primary care that is accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective to all children and youth, including those with special health care needs.
Healthy and Ready to Work
Health Impacts All Aspects of Life
Success in the classroom, within the community, and on the job requires that young people with special health care needs stay healthy. To stay healthy, young people need an understanding of their health and to participate in their health care decisions. This site provides information and connections to health and transition expertise nationwide – from those in the know, doing the work and living it!
This site focuses on understanding systems, access to quality health care, and increasing the involvement of youth. It also includes provider preparation plus tools and resources needed to make more informed choices!
Education and Children with Special Health Care Needs
Some children experience difficulties in school, ranging from problems with concentration, learning, language, and perception to problems with behavior and/or making and keeping friends. These difficulties may be due to one or more of the following: physical disorders, psychiatric disorders, emotional problems, behavioral problems, and learning disorders (or disabilities). These children with special needs are usually entitled to receive special services or accommodations through the public schools. Federal law mandates that every child will receive a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. To support their ability to learn in school, three Federal laws apply to children with special needs:
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (1975)
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990)
Different states have different criteria for eligibility, services available, and procedures for implementing their laws. It is important for parents to be aware of these laws and regulations in their particular area.
TEFRA 134(a), a provision of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, allows states to extend Medicaid coverage to certain disabled children. Also known as the Katie Beckett option, TEFRA is a category of Medicaid that provides care to disabled children in their homes rather than in institutions. In Arkansas, TEFRA is a Waiver program. A Waiver, in layman’s terms, is an agreement between the Federal government and the state’s Medicaid program that allows the state to “waive” some of their normal rules to provide Medicaid coverage. The Arkansas TEFRA waiver requires families to buy into the Medicaid program by paying a monthly premium based upon the parental income.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a Social Security Administration program that provides benefits to individuals (children and adults) who are determined disabled according to SSI standards. To apply for disability benefits for a child, you will need to complete an Application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) AND a Child Disability Report. The report collects information about the child’s disabling condition and how it affects his/her ability to function.
DDS Developmental Services plans and provides continuous training for Speech Pathologists serving community programs as well as technical assistance to licensed community programs. Contracts for Early Childhood services are monitored by this unit.
Community Support Services
Provides a variety of services, including day programming (early intervention, preschool), respite care, family support, follow-along, case management, integrated supports, and community integration companions.
Individuals receiving services in the local community receive supervision from trained service providers in the most appropriate setting. Service providers must meet specified standards and criteria through either DDS licensure or certification. Community Support Services includes Field Services, First Connections (Part C Early Intervention), Early Childhood, Therapeutic Services, and Integrated Services that provide wraparound support to persons with dual diagnoses (developmental disabilities and mental illness).
The Family-To-Family Health Information Center of Arkansas (F2F HIC) is a non-profit family-run organization that assists families of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and the professionals who serve them. Health-related support, information, resources and training are provided by families for families.
Arkansas Guide to Services for Children with Disabilities
Resource information about programs and services available to families of children with disabilities is included in this easy to use booklet.
MCH Block Grant
The Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs program receives federal funding via the MCH Block Grant. A comprehensive Needs Assessment is conducted at the beginning of every 5-year grant cycle with annual updates provided. Information about the grant is available for public review.
Financial Support Services Section
The Financial Support Services Section is inclusive of the following major areas of responsibilities: Contract support; Human Development Center (HDC) administration support; fiscal and personnel/payroll coordination; facility management and information systems coordination; purchasing and procurement; and risk assessment.
Contract support coordinates the provision of services through community programs. This area is responsible for community program funding authorization service approvals and expenditure monitoring of contracts/sub-grants. Technical assistance and planning is provided to ninety (90) community programs and providers and ninety-five (95) Early Intervention voucher providers. This unit also provides technical assistance to the human development centers in coordinating contractual agreements.
Fiscal Coordination is responsible for the development, monitoring of input and balancing the divisions’ annual operation and biennium budget. This unit develops forecasting reports and monitors utilization; coordinates resolution to fiscal questions and issues; insures expenditures are within budgeted amounts; processes budget amendments and deferral requests to maintain budget limits; coordinates and submits required federal reports in compliance with reporting requirements; coordinates with HDC/Administration to resolve budget related issues and provides support and technical assistance to all DDS sections.
Personnel and Payroll provides coordination of the personnel, payroll and benefit functions for the division. These activities include acquisition, retention efforts, improvement of human resources, payroll/benefits posting and processes. This unit serves as the division liaison with the DHS Human Resources Section.
Facility management unit assists the Human Development Centers’ in planning capital and maintenance projects; serves as liaison with the Arkansas Building Authority architects and engineers; assists with the development of operating and capital improvement budgets; coordinates development and monitors progress of capital projects from initiation through completion; responsible for the divisions inventory activities; coordinates information and data processing resources; ensures compliance with standards for data content, networking and information exchange by maintaining the DDS Information Systems Plan and provides technical assistance.
Purchasing/Procurement unit insures the divisions purchases are made in accordance with established rules and regulations serving as liaison for the division and providing problem resolution for all sections of DDS. Coordinates acquisition and disbursal of materials purchased.
Risk Assessment unit is responsible for the development, maintenance, revision and monitoring of the divisions risk assessment plan in accordance with established rules and regulations; and serves as the divisions’ liaison with the departmental risk assessment coordinators.