For more than 15 years Developmental Services Network (DSN) has served its members as California's only trade association dedicated exclusively to providers of intermediate care facility (ICF) services for people with developmental disabilities. DSN's strength comes from its members who recognize the importance of working together, sharing information, conducting and receiving training, and providing critical regulatory and fiscal analysis of the activities of the various governmental entities involved in oversight and funding of the program.
Since the California Legislature implemented, through legislation, a rate freeze on ICF providers in 2009, providers have been challenged to continue to deliver the high quality services for which the program is known. Then, when Assembly Bill 97 actually cut rates to many providers in 2011, the threat became even more real. Early on, DSN challenged the rate freeze in federal court and had a victory at the trial court level only to have that reversed by the appellate court. According to the Department of Public Health, more than 80 ICFs have closed their doors since the rate freeze was implemented forcing placements into more costly and less appropriate settings.
DSN has continued, through its members, consultants and lobbyists, to advocate in the Administration and the Legislature for the lifting of the freeze and rescission of the rate cuts. We were pleased in early 2016 that an agreement was reached with the Administration on elimination of the rate reductions and an increase in rates effective August 1, 2016. This agreement was codified in statute and passed the Legislature in late February and was signed into law by Governor Brown on March 1, 2016. This rate relief is welcomed but it does not solve the longer term issue of the absence of a sound provider rate methodology that encourages and funds the provision of quality care. That will be the ongoing challenge.