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People with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities face unique challenges throughout their lives and may have a combination of complex medical, behavioral, physical and social needs. When health and community services are coordinated in a seamless continuum, people with disabilities can more easily live, work and participate fully in their communities.
In response to one of the initiatives in the 2020 Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) business plan, Blueprint for a Healthy Texas, HHS has developed an action plan to improve the system and delivery of services for Texans with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities (PDF).
HHS staff hosted seven disability listening sessions across the state to gain insight from clients, providers and advocates about their experiences and challenges navigating HHS, as well as opportunities to improve.
Through the feedback received, and research and information from several other agency reports, HHS identified achievable opportunities to improve agency coordination to make it easier for individuals, families and providers to navigate the HHS system for disability services. In all, 27 recommendations across four initiatives were found to be achievable within one to five fiscal years. The initiatives include:
- Training and support
- Policy and rules
- System redesign
Beginning in fiscal year 2021, phase two of the disability services action plan will undergo additional evaluation to determine when, over the next five years, implementation will occur. Each recommendation slated for implementation will have to meet the following criteria:
- Have a variety of ongoing projects across the disability continuum and across disability communities
- Generally feasible
- Balance internal resources, such as fiscal impact and staff bandwidth
Additionally, feedback from the Promoting Independence Workgroup, attendees of the disability listening sessions and public comment will be taken into consideration when determining which recommendations to implement.
Status reports of each implemented project will be published on the HHS website.
The Chief Program and Services Officer established a disability services coordinator to oversee implementation of phase two the plan. The coordinator will focus on achieving long-term system improvements and initiatives serving the disability community through programming, services provided and support. In addition, the coordinator will strengthen continued engagement with internal and external partners faced with new and on-going critical issues related to disability services.
For questions or ideas regarding the action plan, email Medical_and_Social_Services@hhsc.state.tx.us.