Our assessments review important service areas. We propose how to make services for people with disabilities better. State law calls for us to assess two areas each year.
These reports focus on topics like community supports, education, housing, jobs, Medicaid and more.
2023 Assessment: Geographic Disparities Assessment
In Virginia, people who live in rural areas do not have the same services as people who live in urban areas. People who live in rural areas have a lot of barriers to health services. They often do not have broadband access or doctors who are close by. They have trouble getting transportation and caretakers for appointments. They may also have social anxiety.
This assessment reviews how access to healthcare is affected by where you live. The report has special emphasis on broadband access and telehealth services. We recommend how to improve access to healthcare.
2023 Assessment: Accessibility of Dental Care
Among 27 states, Virginia has the worst dental access for people with developmental disabilities (DD). Our state is not meeting the U.S. Department of Justice Settlement Agreement. People with DD have trouble getting dental care. Many dental staff are not able or willing to treat them. We need different ways to educate dental staff. Dental offices that accept Medicaid should get higher refund payments from the Medicaid program (reimbursement rates). We also need to get better at making sure that dental offices are doing what they are supposed to do.
2023 Assessment: Medicaid Consumer-Directed Services
Consumer-directed (CD) services allow a person to hire, train and supervise their own caretaker (also called a personal attendant). People who are in charge of their own choices tend to be happier or have other good results.
We did a survey with people who use CD services. We asked them about the benefits and challenges. We talk about this survey in the report. The most common finding in our report is: Medicaid CD services offer people with disabilities more control. As a result, they have more satisfaction and fulfillment in all parts of life.
We also found challenges in five areas. Based on those findings, we propose how to improve CD services.
2022 Assessment: Access to Information
Update: We have launched Info Access Champions to fix this important issue.
For many years, Virginians with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families said that they had trouble finding useful info on services.
Our state’s service system is very complex. Info is spread among different sources. Sometimes the info is wrong. These factors make it harder for people to find the info that they need. This report talks about four areas that can be improved.
2022 Assessment: School to Prison Pipeline
The “School to Prison Pipeline” describes how some students are more likely to get arrested or put in prison. Out of all the students in a school, a small number will be students with disabilities. Yet, they (especially black students) are more likely to be at three key points of the pipeline:
- exclusionary discipline (getting suspended or expelled),
- reports to the police,
- getting sent to juvenile correctional centers.
Our state is trying to treat students less harshly for small behavior issues. Our report shares national best practices, Virginia data, key findings and 13 recommendations.
2021 Assessment: Intermediate Care Facilities
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said that Virginia was not meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities (DD). We were breaking the rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. Some people with DD lived in institutions. The DOJ said that some of these people did not need that high level of care. Instead, they could be living in the community.
After that, Virginia closed most Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IIDs) that are controlled by the state government. These ICF/IIDs are called Training Centers. One Training Center and other private ICF/IIDs will stay open. People who still live in these ICF/IIDs should live good lives. We have to make sure that happens.
2020 Assessment: Residential Services and Day and Employment Services Available in the DD Waivers
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) told our Virginia government to improve our disability service system. Our system went through a lot of changes. One of the changes was called the waiver redesign. As a result of the waiver redesign, we got new residential and day services. These new services are not perfect. There are a lot of problems. Problems include need for more choices and confusion about the new services. Companies that provide services are called providers. These providers are unable to serve all the people who need help. Similar problems exist for employment services.
2019 Assessment: Early Intervention
The Early Intervention (EI) program helps infants and toddlers with delays. The program also helps their families. In recent years, the General Assembly gave more funding to our state EI program. That amount of money was still not enough. More and more children need services. We need more money to keep up with the number of children who need help.
2019 Assessment: Community Living
Many people with disabilities are unable to get important services. This can happen because of discrimination. Sometimes the discrimination is hard to see right away.
Community Living is about more than just place. Being in the community is an important part of Community Living. It is just as important to have control over your life. You should have choices. You should be able to connect with neighbors too.
Some rules and practices take away people’s choices. This can include when people who are in charge of guardianships are too strict. Our report talks about how we can support people’s choices for community living.
2018 Assessment: Housing
This report is a guide for policymakers. In recent years, our state government has made some improvements in housing for people with developmental disabilities (DD). Today, fewer people with DD live in institutions. Yet, we still need to make housing more affordable. Housing should be good quality. People with DD should be able to enter their homes without trouble or discrimination.
2018 Assessment: Transportation
Many people with disabilities and the elderly are unable to drive. They need other options for travel. Sadly, there are not enough options for everyone. The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation did a survey on this. They found that we need:
- More funding
- Better coordination
- Travel options that are physically accessible
- More travel options in rural areas