November news & ALERTS!
The following information was sent out by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities on November 18, 2020


Hello Division Constituents and Community Partners,
As you may know, positivity rates and community spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey have increased in recent weeks. To reduce exposure risk for the individuals we serve, and their families and caregivers, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities has made the difficult decision to close all Division-funded in-person congregate day service facilities for a second time. 
All Division-funded in-person congregate day service facilities are directed to close again effective close of business November 25, 2020 through at least January 19, 2021. 
Please review the Division’s
Temporary Closure of Congregate Day Services guidance for answers to frequently asked questions and additional information.
 Thank you.
Jonathan Seifried
Assistant Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Human Services
Division of Developmental Disabilities

Gratitude during the Coronavirus pandemic
This year has been challenging to say the least. During this time of year we get a reminder to give thanks for all we have. It may be more difficult than ever to see the silver lining when we are going through difficulties. Showing gratitude has significant health benefits including: improving your immune system, lowering your risk for mental health issues, getting a handle on stress and setting yourself up for success. We are so thankful for you and hope you have a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving.

DDD Terms- Guiding you through the system
There are so many phrases that professionals use every day and take for granted that the words they are using are clear. Additionally some of the processes may still be unclear. To many, these words or phrases are foreign. What is an acuity factor? What is a Bump-up? What happens if I am not happy with the Tier?

While the DDD used to do NJCAT reassessments of Tiers every 5 years, this practice just stopped on November 1, 2020. A reassessment can be requested at any time if it is needed. The reason why reassessments every 5 years have stopped is because a review of an individual’s needs occurs during the annual Individualized Service Plan (ISP). Your Support Coordinator will help you guide the annual ISP meeting into a comprehensive review that goes over all aspects of the ISP(Individualized Service Plan) and PCPT (Person Centered Planning Tool) to determine if there have been significant changes that warrant a reassessment. If you do need a reassessment, speak to your Support Coordinator and he/she will guide you through the process. Some families who are new to the DDD have concerns that the Tier will not cover needs, however, most of the time the tiers do cover needs. Providers will usually request an IDT (Interdisciplinary Team Meeting) if they feel the tier is not indicative of the person’s needs. After the review at the IDT meeting, the Support Coordinator will help guide the family in requesting the reassessment.

I always hear the term acuity and see the small letter “a” next to the tier but what does that mean?

Results of the NJ CAT ( New Jersey Comprehensive assessment tool) are calculated and summarized into a score based on the following main areas: self-care, behavior, and medical. This resulting score establishes the “tier” in which each individual has been assigned based on his/her support needs. The acuity factor is a modifier added to the tier for individuals with high clinical support needs based on medical and/or behavioral concerns, notated by “a” next to the tier assignment. The acuity factor can also impact the rate and/or unit of a service base rate for services where that may be applicable.

What is a bump up?

Bump Up- If the individual experiences changes in life circumstances that result in a need for additional temporary services (an injury that requires additional supports to provide assistance during the day or hospitalization of the individual’s caregiver, for example) that exceed his/her individual budget, a short-term increase in the budget, known as a “bump up,” may be available to improve the situation. This bump-up is capped at $5,000 per individual, will be effective for up to one year, and can only be provided once every three years. If this situation occurs, the support Coordinator will guide you in requesting additional funds.

Section 12006(a) of the federal 21stCentury Cures Act
Electronic Visit Verification (EVV)
Section 12006(a) of the federal 21st Century Cures Act mandates that states implement electronic visit verification (EVV) for all Medicaid personal care services and home health services that require an in-home visit by a provider.

  • The 21stCentury Cures Act requires compliance by States by January 1, 2021.
For individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, EVV mandate applies to both provider-managed and self-directed services, including:

  • Services received in any of the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) self-direction models.
  • Services received in the Personal Preference Program, which is administered by the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS).
  • Stakeholder workgroups have begun meeting to discuss implementation. More information and EVV training will be made available.
County Wellness Initiatives
Each county in the state has health initiatives. Now more than ever, it is important to be aware of them. For example, The Wellness for Bergen County Initiative embraces research that demonstrates how "Wellness connects all aspects of health".
Stay Informed
We always want you to stay informed. More information can be found at the DDD’s news and Announcements page.

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