Effective Healthcare for Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Is California on the right track?

On Friday, September 25, The Special Hope Foundation welcomed healthcare providers, funders, researchers, advocates and policy makers to take part in a ground-breaking healthcare symposium. The goal of the symposium was to take a collaborative look at managed healthcare for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

How is managed care working for people with disabilities? What could work better? 

The interactive event explored current trends in care from various stockholder perspectives, and focused on how to make healthcare access for adults with IDD more effective and accountable.

There was a lot to talk about. After an inspiring introduction from Special Hope’s Executive Director, Lynne O’Hara:

  • Tony Anderson, Executive Director of Arc California, described the current condition of the healthcare system for adults with I/DD in light of Medi-Cal’s recent shift to managed care.
  • Dr. Kevin Grumbach, Chair of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF talked about the need for better models for delivering primary care for people with disabilities, stressing the importance of healthcare coordination, management and  integration.
  • Jennifer Kent, Director of California Department of Health Care Services, discussed Medi-Cal in depth, acknowledging that the system needs to do a better job of meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. 
  • Ari Ne’eman, President and Co-Founder of The Autism Self Advocacy Network, talked in detail about managed care for adults with disabilities. Ne’eman was the first person appointed to President Obama’s National Council on Disability where much of his work was in managed care. 

For insightful details about these talks, read this Storify presentation generously prepared by Shannon des Roches Rosa of Thinking Persons’s Guide to Autism. 


But wait! There’s more, the part about what is working in the Provision of Managed Care. How can it be made to work more efficiently, and what are the accountability measures for adults with special needs? A panel of experts and advocates presented perspectives, and a lively Q&A followed. The panelists included:

Mary Lou Breslin of DREDF
Athena Chapman, Director of State Programs for the California Association of Health Plans
Consumer Rights Advocate Elizabeth Grigsby of the Golden Gate Regional Center
UCSF’s Clarissa Kripke M.D. 


During the afternoon, participants went into problem solving mode in breakout groups:

  • How can health plans prioritize improving healthcare for adults with developmental disabilities?
  • How can we raise awareness about the gaps healthcare services for this population?
  • Are healthcare providers receiving the proper training about their patients with developmental disabilities?

Other group topics included supported decision making, transition, care coordination, eligibility, state and local policies, and identifying knowledge gaps. What areas do we need to develop in order to improve healthcare for people living with disabilities?

At the end of this incredibly productive day, participants walked away with greater knowledge, awareness and resolve.

The Special Hope Foundation is grateful to the participants of the symposium.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

Thanks again to Shannon des Roches Rosa of Thinking Persons’s Guide to Autism for her detailed coverage of the event. Read her Storify presentation here.


Speaking of Healthcare for people with Developmental Disabilities, Ann Costello of the Golisano Foundation describes her foundation’s vision in the following story:

What Healthcare Can and Should be for People With Intellectual Disabilities

Thank you Ann! 

2017-06-20T18:17:47+00:00 September 29th, 2015|Blog|

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