HHSC lays foundation for Texas’s first IDD Strategic Plan

On Wednesday, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released the Foundation for the Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Strategic Plan. The foundational plan lays the groundwork for what will eventually become Texas’s first statewide plan focused exclusively on intellectual disabilities.


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According to HHSC, there are over 500,000 adults and children in Texas with IDD. Individuals with IDD have unique health needs and require either lifelong or long-term services and supports.

Using stakeholder input, the newly released foundational plan identifies key service gaps that exist in Texas’s IDD system. The purpose of the completed Statewide IDD Strategic Plan is to then develop a comprehensive plan to address those service gaps.

“Our goal is to highlight what we’re doing well and how we can do better,” says Sonja Gaines, HHSC deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “This statewide strategic plan will help us as we develop new interventions, models of care and best practices to enhance quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

HHSC implemented a statewide stakeholder survey to inform the strategic plan and identify major service gaps in the state. Survey respondents reported access to IDD services, family support, employment, transportation, and agency coordination as the top five service gaps in Texas.


Image: HHSC


The report also includes a breakdown of each gap category based on respondent groups. For example, when evaluating the “access to IDD services” gap, over 50 percent of respondents with IDD identified “access to services to stay healthy and participate in the community” and having “enough staff to effectively deliver services” as service gaps.

Over 70 percent of all other respondents identified “access to services for people with complex medical needs” and complex behavioral health needs as key gaps.


Image: HHSC


Apart from the stakeholder survey, HHSC also mentioned a lack of coordination among agencies offering services as an obstacle to address.

The currently available services “were developed by specific service categories with unique funding streams, thereby stratifying the current IDD system. As support needs change for individuals with IDD, a coordinated array of services and supports that cross existing service systems (state and local) is required,” reads the report.

The report recommends information sharing and coordination between state and local agencies that deal with a broad range of issues, including housing, behavioral health, criminal justice, and aging.

The next step in the development of the IDD Strategic Plan is to develop goals, objectives, and strategies to address these services gaps.

The foundational plans were published as part of HHSC’s statewide behavioral health strategic plan update, which is available here. HHSC expects to complete the plan by the end of summer 2019.