RTC-OM Measures HCBS Outcomes for People with Disabilities
ICI's Research and Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement (RTC-OM) has introduced a new website detailing the center's work. The website was launched in November and describes the six phases of RTC-OM's work, as well as staff and main activities. Ultimately, it will house the HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) tools database and a variety of resources.
Co-directed by Brian Abery and Amy Hewitt, RTC-OM evaluates measures of the quality of life experienced by people with disabilities as a result of receiving services and supports. Policymakers emphasize the effectiveness ("outcomes") of public investments in services for persons with disabilities and they want information about outcomes that are measured in a consistent and accurate manner nationwide. Center staff are confident they can deliver. "We have a great team, including our colleagues from Temple University, Ohio State University, the University of California-San Francisco, and the National Council on Aging, to be able to conduct cutting-edge research that will have a national impact of measuring HCBS outcomes for people with disabilities," says Renáta Tichá, an investigator at the center.
Funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for 2015-2020, RTC-OM has completed the first two phases of its work, including a validation of the National Quality Forum (NQF) framework and cataloging of existing instruments of HCBS outcomes for people across different types of disabilities. The NQF framework identifies the areas in which state Long Term Services and Support programs funded by Medicaid would be held accountable; RTC-OM will use that framework for the next several years to address the context and definition of quality in service provision with stakeholders from around the United States. Phase 1 of the project resulted in a refinement of the NQF framework that guided the process for Phase 2, which in turn led to developing a database of existing HCBS instruments, their items and related characteristics that is being finalized for the new RTC-OM website. The team is developing measures in the areas of meaningful activity, social connectedness, transportation, and others to be piloted in early 2018. RTC-OM has conducted several technical assistance activities, including working with Regional Quality Council to develop an assessment of HCBS quality outcomes for Minnesota and conducting a series of webinars on the results of Phase 1.