How IDD Individuals Get Connected with Their Ideal Host Home Provider
Adults living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) have the opportunity to be more independent, to grow personally, and to be a contributing member of their community thanks in large part to Host Home Providers (HHPs). They open their hearts and homes to IDD Individuals, make them a part of their families, and provide an environment in which they are respected, treated with dignity, and have the resources to thrive.
Have you ever wondered how these matches are made? There is a process that IDD Individuals and their families navigate in order to find the Host Home Provider that’s a perfect fit.
When a person has an intellectual or developmental disability, it is usually recognized at a very young age. In these cases, the Individual qualifies for benefits through Medicaid, starting as early as age 3 but more often later. Families typically become aware of these services through healthcare providers or schools. At age 18, their adult child is eligible to transition into the HHP system, which is also paid for through Medicaid.
In the state of Colorado this program falls within the purview of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to provide oversight of the program. HCPF is the Medicaid payee and is responsible for ensuring that Individuals are receiving the services for which they are eligible and for which Medicaid is paying.
Rather than delegating the many tasks associated with this responsibility to its sub-agencies, HCPF works with Community Centered Boards (CCBs). These nonprofit organizations act as a bridge between the State and its customer, the Individual receiving services. There are about 20 such boards in Colorado which have a long-standing relationship with the state in fulfilling this role. Their performance is reviewed every couple of years by CDPHE.
Community Centered Boards coordinate case management for Individuals and are the primary contact for agencies like Evergreen Service Providers. When the family of an IDD adult (or the adult themselves, if they are their own legal guardian) is looking for a host home, the case manager issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) to all agencies that partner with that CCB – typically those within its geographic region. However, Individuals and their families can request to work with a CCB outside their region if they want to be associated with a particular service provider agency that is outside their area. The RFP will specify the requirements and desires of the Individual, including the need for support of physical conditions such as limited mobility or sight impairment, behavioral or emotional challenges, the preference for a home with or without children or pets, and proximity to work and day programs in which the Individual may be involved.
Once the RFP is issued, the process moves quickly. Agencies such as Evergreen Service Providers will work with the Host Home Providers in our network to find the best fit for meeting the living condition requests and support needs of the applicant and submits a response to the CCB. The case manager then chooses from among the respondents and schedules interviews (a.k.a. “meet-and-greets”) with those agencies for the Individual and their family, often at the CCB office. Evergreen Service Provider’s executive director and select members of the administrative team attend the meet-and-greet session and may bring along the Host Home Provider if the Individual and his/her family are open to it.
The family typically takes one to three weeks to perform due diligence, consider their options, and choose which Host Home(s) are a fit. Next is a visit to the Host Home(s) to allow the Individual to see the room that they’d occupy, perhaps eat a meal with the family and, if they so choose, stay a night or two. Once the HHP choice is finalized, Evergreen Service Providers works quickly to move the Individual into their new environment. At that point, the agency assumes the primary responsibility for ensuring that services are provided as agreed. Additionally, the Individual is supported by an Interdisciplinary Team made up of representatives from all agencies and providers with which they are involved.
There are exceptions to this process in that a family may occasionally approach an agency such as ours directly because they want to work specifically with us. And there are occasions when calls are received from families who’ve not been aware of the process or benefits available. Rare circumstances may also require emergency placement, for example when an illness causes an HHP to be hospitalized. Fortunately, the system is flexible enough to accommodate these situations.
There is a waitlist in the state of Colorado of about 2800 Individuals who are seeking a Host Home Provider. It is the goal of the state to cultivate the resources necessary to eliminate the wait list and be able to place every IDD Individual with a Host Home Provider quickly.
For those who have been placed, it is a life-changing experience – both for the Individual and the Host Home Provider. It is with gratitude that Evergreen Service Providers embraces the opportunity to be a part of this system – a piece of the puzzle that, when fit together, helps Individuals living with IDD to thrive. And, at this season which celebrates love, we are proud to be part of a process that succeeds because of the compassion, respect and appreciation for each Individual on which it is founded.