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Gov. Hickenlooper announces Office of Community Living

DENVER — Wednesday, July 11, 2012 — Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an Executive Order to establish the Office of Community Living and the Community Living Advisory Group in the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to help meet the growing need for long-term services by people with disabilities and aging adults.

 

“This approach seeks to offer Coloradans easier, less cumbersome access to services,” Hickenlooper said. “This will make the most efficient use of available financial resources to serve a growing number of people and their families.”

 

The Office of Community Living will improve outcomes, reduce complexity, increase capacity and access, leverage existing resources and promote self-direction and person-centered care. Impacted consumers, families, advocates, providers, communities, legislators and agencies will work with the Office through the Community Living Advisory Group to ensure that necessary coordination and integration of services and supports is achieved.

 

“Through the Office of Community Living, we will better align our efforts to meet the challenges of serving a growing aging population and individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports,” said Susan Birch, Executive Director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “We must transform our delivery system so that it is more effective and easier to navigate for our clients. This office will allow us to build upon collaborative efforts with clients and stakeholders and the multitude of providers in the long-term services and supports continuum of care.”

 

“While Colorado currently has a well-defined care delivery system run by excellent providers, we still have more than 2,000 people on the waiting list for developmental disability services, the 'Golden Tsunami' quickly approaching, and ever diminishing resources,” said Reggie Bicha, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services. “We must work collaboratively to identify ways to become more efficient and effective in the delivery of services to ensure that those with disabilities and the aging community receive the right services at the right time.”

 

The Office of Community Living will prepare Colorado’s long-term services and supports system for the coming “wave of wisdom,” when the nation’s population age 65 and older is projected to double. The need for services is growing in other areas as well. Colorado needs to use its funds efficiently to better serve more people:

• As of March 2012, approximately 2,000 adults and 500 children with developmental disabilities were waiting to receive services through Medicaid waiver programs. Another 5,500 families are waiting to receive Family Support Services, which assist with the costs of caring for children with developmental disabilities.
• Waiting lists also exist for other home- and community-based waiver services. Approximately 425,000 people nationwide sustain moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year. Adults age 75 and older sustain the highest rates of hospitalization associated with TBI.
• Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. The costs for lifelong care for a child with autism can be reduced by 66 percent with early diagnosis and intervention services.
 

 

The members of the Community Living Advisory Group are:

• Sen. Betty Boyd, to serve as the chair
• Sen. Ellen Roberts, to serve as a Senate member
• Sen. Irene Aguilar, to serve as a Senate member
• Rep. Cheri Gerou, to serve as a House member
• Rep. Claire Levy, to serve as a House member
• Suzanne Brennan, to serve as a representative of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
• Joscelyn Gay, to serve as a representative of the Department of Human Services
• Pat Coyle, to serve as a representative of the Division of Housing
• Joni Reynolds, to serve as a representative of the Department of Public Health and the Environment
• George DelGrosso, to serve as a representative of the Behavioral Health Transformational Council
• Vivian Stovall, to serve as a representative of the Colorado Commission on Aging
• Guy Dutra-Silveria, to serve as a representative of Area Agency on Aging
• Jayla Sanchez Warren, to serve as a representative of Area Agency on Aging
• Dave Ervin, to serve as a representative of Community Center Board
• Mark Emery, to serve as a representative of Community Center Board
• Melody Wright, to serve as aging services provider
• Barry Martin, to serve as a children and adults services provider
• County Commissioner, to be determined by Colorado Counties, Inc.
• County Commissioner, to be determined by Colorado Counties, Inc.
• Julie Rieskin, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, to serve as a disabilities advocate for client and family members
• Jose Torres, ADAPT, to serve as a disabilities advocate for client and family members
• Sam Murillo, Family Voices, to serve as a developmental disabilities advocate for client and family members
• Marijo Rymer, ARC of Colorado, to serve as a developmental disabilities advocate for client and family members
• Chris Herron, to serve as a developmental disabilities advocate for client and family members
• Shelley Hitt, Long-term care ombudsman, to serve as an aging advocate for client and family members
• Linda Worrell, AARP, to serve as an aging advocate for client and family members
• Jean Hammes, to serve as an aging advocate for client and family members
• Liz Fuselier, The Legal Center for People with Disabilities, to serve as an aging advocate for client and family members
• Carol Meredith, to serve as an advocate for client and family members
• Gavin Attwood, Brain Injury Association, to serve as an advocate for client and family members.

 

The Executive Order signed by the governor can be found here.

 

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