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October, 2013

President's Report

Integrated Care for IDD
Dion White, Center for Life Resources
AAIDD Texas Chapter President

Our wonderful friend and professional peer Maria Quintero, PhD, FAAIDD, recently provided a great presentation on “Intellectual Disability Services and Integrated Care.”   Her presentation focused on many key elements and strategies surrounding integrated care and its specific effect in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I.D.D.) services.  Much of the information I use is from her presentation along with my own insight in the current environment that is currently transforming our system across the State. As we move forward in looking for ways to provide the best possible services for individuals with a diagnosis of an Intellectual and Developmental Disability, education will become more important than ever before.  The system to provide I.D.D. services across the State is in the process of major transformation.  As integrated care becomes more of a reality in our delivery of services it will be important that individuals understand how to navigate through this new model and become empowered to make the best decision out of increased choices.  The main goal of an integrated system is to provide comprehensive services that will address both the physical and behavioral needs of an individual.
Coordination of services will be paramount for that individual as he or she or that person’s advocate determines the best solution for long term supports.  When speaking about integrated care specific to I.D.D services there are some key points which must be considered.  There are greater physical health issues.  This is based primarily that in the field of I.D.D. services most individuals have greater health needs and those needs exist for a longer period of time.  There is also a greater risk for the need of mental health services.  The last point deals with the condition of I.D.D. itself.  Depending on who you ask the definition of this condition will vary from a disease, sickness or illness.  It is common for different associations or HMO’s etc… to categorize the condition of I.D.D. differently from one another. 
As we move forward there is a transition happening from an institutional setting and atmosphere of care to a more individualized and community integrated setting of services.  A major concern of many in our field is that there is not enough specialists or clinicians trained in the field of I.D.D.   This brings up the concern that the within the existing system of integrated care there may be a reluctance to serve this population. 
The main objective will be increasing our knowledge of the current integrated care environment.  All service providers, individuals, advocates, and family members will need to make a priority to learn as much as possible about the integrated model.  Be proactive and speak to all clinicians, doctors, nurses or other health care professionals working with an individual.  We need to insure there is a clear line of communication between all individuals as we move forward in this new comprehensive approach of health care.  Be proactive and ask questions when we are confused or unsure of what is going to happen in service delivery.  Last we need to be fluid and ready for change.  As the system of care transforms there will be additional changes and we must be ready to change with them as quickly as possible without hindering the services provided.  

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