Skip Navigation

New Rules for the Home and Community Based Services

posted by Chris Sparks on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In January the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) changed the definition of "community." Since then, they have issued a toolkit including technical guidance for the transition plans.

With this in mind, let’s continue talking about how this affects persons with disabilities and our organization.

The rule introduces several terms EPI has embraced for many years, including "integrated," "choice," "individualized," and "community access." At EPI these are more than just terms, it’s a way of life.

Residential Services

For many years we’ve been offering services in homes to three to four persons. The smaller setting gives the persons served greater choice. Such as where to live, with whom, and greater access to do the activities they enjoy in the community.

Employment Services

We work hard finding employment within the community for anyone who is able and willing to work.

We believe employment is key to gaining community membership and social relationships. With this in mind, we strive to find not just a job, but a job that matches the varied interests and desires of each person we serve.

Some come into our services ready to work and find a job immediately. Others need help refining their work skills first. For the latter, we offer training through a process that helps gain necessary skills. Typically within six months to a year they are ready to hold a competitive job within the community.

EPI is also a service provider for the Walgreen’s Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative, also known as the REDI program. This is an extern training process that aims to help achieve retail and customer service skills. The REDI program works closely with community organizations and vocational rehab agencies to train and develop candidates.

Day Habilitation

Our CHOICE Day Habilitation program gives participants the opportunity to independently make decisions about activities they wish to take part in during the day. By participating in CHOICE, people develop social skills in a variety of settings within the community.

Often, we think of our services as a bridge when we think of each service we provide. We assist the community in getting to know persons with disabilities and persons with disabilities to fully participate in their community.

About The Author

Chris Sparks served as EPI's third ever Executive Director from 1998 until 2022.