Specialized Medical Home to be Established in Sonoma County for SDC Residents and Developmentally Disabled

December 19, 2016:

Sonoma Developmental Center residents and Regional Center clients will be able to receive healthcare close to home from a state-funded health center expansion

Sacramento, CA – With the Sonoma Developmental Center slated for closure by 2018, nearly 350 of the most medically fragile patients in the state system will transition into the community and require specialized healthcare services. Senator McGuire and Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin have been committed to ensuring that the health and well-being of SDC residents will be the top priority during and after the transition and closure of the facility.

To that end, and while there is a lot of work to do in the year to come, Senator McGuire, Supervisor Gorin and the State Department of Developmental Services announce that a Request For Proposal (RFP) will be advanced at the end of this month to establish a healthcare hub in Sonoma County in a to-be-determined Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that will be dedicated to residents with developmental disabilities.

The hub will serve the residents of the SDC and hundreds of other individuals with developmental disabilities within the Regional Center system.

Working with the Department and its Director, Nancy Bargmann, $2.5 million in community placement plan funding has been secured for the North Bay Regional Center to develop a healthcare hub that will be embedded in a to-be-determined FQHC located in Sonoma County. This hub will offer residents high quality healthcare, dental care, mental health and adaptive services. These services will be specially designed for individuals with developmental disabilities. This investment will create unique exam rooms – with special adaptive equipment – that will cater to individuals with developmental disabilities.

“We know that this closure process has been extremely difficult to so many residents and their families over the past three years. Many have called the SDC home for decades and we have been working overtime to ensure the most medically fragile in the State system receive quality healthcare close to home, now, and into the future,” Senator McGuire said. “This investment is so important. Not only will it keep health care, dental and mental health here in Sonoma County, we are creating a new health care home for hundreds of Californians who need specialized services to thrive.”

The nearly 350 individuals who currently live at the SDC today are some of the most medically fragile or most behaviorally involved consumers in the developmental services system.

That is why Senator McGuire, Supervisor Gorin and the County of Sonoma, the Parent Hospital Association, the Department of Developmental Services and the North Bay Regional Center have been focused on keeping a specialized healthcare home thriving in Sonoma County.

“Ensuring access to essential services for residents of the SDC has been of critical importance to me and the County of Sonoma,” commented Supervisor Gorin. “I have been working for a number of years with a local coalition of stakeholders to develop a vision for the future of the SDC and its residents, and appreciate Senator McGuire’s efforts at a state level to realize the health resource center concept in Sonoma County. The Coalition had hoped to site the health center at the Sonoma Developmental Center.  Although we are disappointed that model is not feasible, we are pleased that specialized services will be available to North Bay clients in the near future.”

This investment will create unique exam rooms catered to individuals with developmental disabilities. There will be specialized services delivered by uniquely trained medical professionals, along with specialized services for shoes and durable medical equipment.

This is the first time the Department and Regional Center have partnered with a local community to fund a comprehensive healthcare hub with specialized services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

In addition to the new healthcare hub, working with Assemblymember Dodd, Senator McGuire passed a new law this year that mandates monitoring and evaluating the transition of residents from Developmental Centers to the community to ensure the state follows through with its commitment to provide appropriate services to developmentally disabled Californians.

This new law created a much more robust tracking system, and as Developmental Centers close and any issues are discovered, immediate steps can be taken during this transition if appropriate services and housing are not being provided.

Senator McGuire will attend the Parent Hospital Association’s January meeting to provide more information and updates on the RFP, the $2.5 million and services that will be offered.

Provided courtesy of Senator Mike McGuire’s Media Release.

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2016
Contact: Kerrie Lindecker, Kerrie.Lindecker@sen.ca.gov or (707) 319-3654

State and County Kick off Planning Efforts for the Future of SDC

August 2, 2016:

As reported in our last blog post of June 14th (State Budget Framework For Sonoma Developmental Center Closure Finalized):

DDS and the Legislature are very focused on how to expand and improve community services to absorb residents moving from SDC and other developmental centers that are closing in California. There have been no major breakthroughs yet in terms of an agreement for continuing services on site, but our state legislators, Supervisor Gorin, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and the Transform SDC Coalition will continue to push for the vision of a health resource center on the SDC campus.”

One of the arguments that DDS and the state have made against any planning for continued health care services on the SDC campus beyond the closure date of December 2018 is that the property’s infrastructure is degraded, and the state needs to conduct a full site assessment before even considering any specific reuse proposals.

Long-awaited funding for comprehensive planning has been approved, and we are about to enter a new much more active phase in the SDC closure process. The Transform SDC Coalition will be planning a Fall 2016 Workshop to prepare for the site assessment and reuse alternatives planning process. We will provide more information by the end of August.

State of California Seeking Consultants to Conduct SDC Site Assessment and Develop Reuse Alternatives

As part of the FY 2016-2017 budget signed into law by Governor Brown in June, the Department of General Services received $2.2 million to fund the preparation of a detailed site assessment for the property, and:

 “to create conceptual master land use and facilities reuse plan alternatives that will take into consideration physical, environmental, political and governmental factors that may impact the reuse of…SDC.”

On July 8th, the state Department of General Services issued a “Request for Qualifications” (RFQ) for licensed architectural and engineering firms to provide a scope of work and cost estimates for:

professional architectural, engineering, and master land use planning and consulting services…to develop conceptual master land use and facilities reuse plan alternatives for SDC.”

We have attached a copy of the RFQ at the bottom of this post. The deadline for firms to submit their Statement of Qualifications is September 7th. DGS will then interview a select number of applicants, and will hire a firm to start work in early 2017. One of the most important credentials for any firm that is hired is their ability to work with our local community to identify alternative reuse options for SDC that are consistent with the vision for the property. We are putting the word out to consulting firms that we have worked with—and that have worked on large-scale land use planning projects—to make sure they are aware of the opportunity. We welcome your feedback and ideas for good candidates as well!

What are the state’s goals for the future of SDC? Can the state hire a team of professionals who can lead an inclusive community planning effort for the future of SDC that achieves our stated vision for the property? It’s worth repeating the vision statement we developed through our community engagement process with all of you last year:

Create a public-private partnership driven by community ideas and values that  showcases the site’s history, maintains critical services for the developmentally disabled, provides opportunities for creative reuse of SDC’s assets, and preserves the natural resources and open space of the site.

There is reasons for hope that the state is very interested in working with the SDC Coalition and the County to develop a set of alternative uses for the property that are a positive outcome for the Valley, and for the entire region. The RFQ issued by the state says that:

“The purpose of the plans is to assist the state, County of Sonoma and stakeholders in identifying alternative reuse options for the SDC. The conceptual plans shall give consideration to alternatives that diversify and enhance the Sonoma Valley’s economy and establish models for sustainable development and economic self-sufficiency; preserve the distinct character of the Sonoma Valley’s rural communities and SDC’s natural, historical, and architectural integrity; and, protect SDC’s open space, valuable natural and scenic resources to support healthy wildlife populations, water resources, and recreational opportunities.”

Sonoma County Department of Health Services Issues Request for Proposals for Federally Qualified Health Center for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Individuals.

The County of Sonoma has been an incredible partner over the past few years as we all have tried to grapple with the closure of SDC. The leadership of Susan Gorin has been matched by the skills and dedication of numerous county agencies that have put in hundreds of staff hours on this effort. The impact of the closure of SDC on Sonoma County is very significant. The economic disruption of the closure of SDC has yet to be felt, but the potential loss of over 1000 jobs and the success of placing over 300 current residents in community homes is a local and regional priority for County government.

Under the leadership of Director Stephan Betz, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services has adopted a proactive and visionary approach to the future of SDC. Making sure that the 300+ current residents end up in good living arrangements coupled with convenient and appropriate medical care is everyone’s top priority right now. But there is a larger opportunity: establishing a new regional health care facility for people with developmental challenges that is uniquely designed to serve their needs. In response to this need, the Department recently issued a Request for Proposals for a “Federally Qualified Health Center for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Individuals.” The Department is soliciting proposals:

“from interested providers outlining their proposed approach to provide medical, dental and behavioral health services to former SDC residents, current clients of the North Bay Regional Center (NRBC) and other regional centers, as well as other intellectually and developmentally disabled (I/DD) individuals residing in Sonoma County and surrounding communities beginning in 2018.”

You are going to be hearing a lot about “FQHC’s” in the months to come, so get used to the acronym! FQHCs are outpatient clinics that qualify for specific reimbursement systems under Medicare and Medicaid. You may get your own out-patient health care at an existing Sonoma County FQHC such as the Santa Rosa or Sonoma Valley Community Health Centers. The County has a strong interest in developing partnerships with FQHCs as the SDC approaches closure to meet the needs of the former SDC residents, clients of regional centers and other individuals. Additionally, FQHCs are uniquely positioned to utilize enhanced Medi-Cal payments.

The deadline for submittals for the County’s RFQ process is August 26th. We will report back on what sort of applications the County receives, and next steps. The RFQ is also attached at the end of this post.

SDC Site Assessment RFQ July 2016

Sonoma County RFQ for FQHC Proposals July 2016