To ensure timelier fee assessments, Developmental Services should hold regional centers accountable for providing the monthly placement reports and copies of information letters required by state regulations. To encourage compliance, Developmental Services should specify in its regional center contracts that noncompliant regional centers will pay financial penalties equal to the amount of revenue lost because of their inaction.
While the Department has implemented actions to improve the timeliness of parental fee assessments as briefly described below, it will not implement this specific recommendation to impose financial penalties against the regional centers. The alternative actions taken by the Department are more efficient and effective to ensure timelier fee assessments.
As reported in prior follow-up responses, the Department has conducted outreach to regional centers on Parental Fee Program (PFP) requirements, added the PFP law and regulation citations in the regional center contracts, added testing of PFP to the Department's regional center audit scope, and established a list of PFP contact liaisons at each regional center. More recently, the Department implemented an automated information system for identification of potential parents. This automated data source is designed to automatically report to the Department when consumers are placed out of the home and services are paid by the state. In addition, the Department issued a memorandum to regional center executive directors reminding them of the requirements that regional centers provide the required information to the parents in accordance with the current regulations.
- The Department has commenced with development of a new IT platform to assist with program administration. This platform development is intended to include more automated interaction with regional center data systems to assist in automated reporting of program required data for program administration. The resulting system is intended to automate regulatory mandated information exchange. These efforts will be affected by implementation of revised program requirements as included in AB564 set to be enacted on July 1, 2016.
- The Department is continuing regular interaction with regional centers monthly to ensure program eligible families are identified as required by regulation.
- Revised program literature outlining regional center requirements is currently being drafted in anticipation of enactment of AB564 on July 1, 2016.
Although Developmental Services has marked this recommendation as fully implemented, the IT program that will create automated reporting of program required data for program administration is still in development.
- The Department continues discussions with the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) and regional centers to further its efforts of gaining full compliance with the reporting requirements contained in regulation.
- Pending implementation of an automated data exchange, the Department will conduct a periodic account population survey between program staff and regional centers to improve timely and accurate reporting of program eligible parents.
- To assist regional centers in complying with regulations, the Department is drafting new literature for use with parents by regional center staff which describes in detail program requirements and parental, department and regional center responsibilities.
60-Day Report Response: The Department has begun implementation of many of the recommendations outlined in the Audit Response as follows:
- The Department continues to communicate on a periodic basis with regional center (RC) Chief Counselors, Chief Administrators, and Executive Directors of RC obligations for the Parental Fee Program (PFP).
- Amended RC contract language highlighting RC responsibilities in law and regulations for the PFP have been executed.
- The Department's RC audit protocol now includes testing for requirements under the PFP, and PFP audit results will be provided to program staff for additional analysis and action as needed.
- The Department has increased its daily/weekly interaction with identified RC contacts to facilitate improved understanding of RC reporting and administrative requirements under the program; and ongoing development of improved reporting tools for use by RCs.
- Review of the November 2014 RC survey results has been completed. Areas of improvement in data reflected on the individual files have been noted, and the Department is in discussion with the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) to implement the improvements.
- The Department continues to work closely with ARCA to improve RC understanding of roles and responsibilities within the program. These efforts include ongoing development of best practices for exchange of required data between RC and the Department.
- The Department continues to follow-up with RCs who are unable to provide required data in a timely manner. We continue to review more streamlined and efficient methods for the monthly follow-up.
- The Client Financial Services (CFS) Program Manager and key staff meet weekly with the Branch Manager and Section Chief to provide program status and updates of ongoing improvement efforts.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.