The Commonwealth of Virginia is currently engaged in three exciting initiatives that will collectively and permanently transform the long-term support system for individuals:

    • The Systems Transformation Grant

For more than two years, state agencies, local agencies, providers, other stakeholders from the disability and aging communities, and self advocates have been meeting regularly to provide input and guidance on the development of the grant applications and strategic plans. Now, we are working together to implement these projects.

Through the Systems Transformation Grant, we have expanded the No Wrong Door implementation sites to ten throughout Virginia. In August 2008 a new web portal, Virginia Easy Access, was launched, providing instant information about a variety of long-term supports. A new Aged, Blind, and Disabled Medicaid application is now available on-line in PDF format; the application will be available electronically in spring 2009. Further, we are reviewing and revising state regulations and policies to increase choice and control by enhancing person-centered and self-direction practices across populations. We are also in the process of designing information technology applications that will integrate and modernize our existing systems.

On July 1, 2008, the Money Follows the Person Demonstration project began. This project is supporting over 1,000 individuals currently living in institutions who wish to move to the community and assisting them with the transition process. New services have been added to several Medicaid Home-and-Community-Based waivers to support people in the community, and some existing waiver services have been added to waivers that did not previously offer them. We are also working hard to develop additional affordable and accessible housing and transportation in the community for these individuals.

Finally, the best way to know how well Virginia is doing is to do an evaluation. The Commonwealth is participating in a three year State Profile Tool Grant. This opportunity is allowing evaluators to meet with stakeholders across Virginia in order to measure the state’s long-term support system. The information gathered will influence the development of a “Report Card” concerning the long-term support infrastructure in the Commonwealth. At the end of the grant cycle, Virginia will then work with other grantee states to help create National balancing indicators to be implemented across all states.

These initiatives are being implemented over the next few years, but they will have lasting changes for individuals who use long-term supports.

With the continued strong commitment from all parties, Virginia will soon have a more integrated system that welcomes seniors and individuals with disabilities, while supporting them as active, valued and productive members of our Commonwealth.