Texas HCS Program: What You Need to Know
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) administers the Texas Home and Community Based Services (HCS) program. The HCS program provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their own homes or in community settings. This article will provide an overview of the Texas HCS Program, including who is eligible for services, what services are available, how to apply for services, and more.
What is the Texas HCS Program?
The Texas HCS program is a Medicaid waiver program that provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The goal of the program is to help participants live as independently as possible in their homes or in community settings. HCS provides a wide range of services, including:
- Residential services
- Group homes
- Host Home/Companion Care
- Respite services
- Day habilitation
- Employment services
- Nursing services
- Dental services
- Behavioral support
- Supported home living
- Social work
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Dietary services
- Audiology services
- Cognitive rehabilitation services (services for people with brain injury)
- Accessible minor home modifications
- Adaptive aids
- Transition assistance services
Texas HCS Program Eligibility
According to HHSC, HCS may be available to any Texas resident not living in an institutional setting who:
- Has an IQ of 69 or below or has an approved related condition with an IQ of 75 or below.
- Has mild to severe deficits in adaptive behavior.
- Is eligible for Medicaid benefits.
- Is not enrolled in any other Medicaid waiver program.
The History of the Texas HCS Program
The Texas HCS program began as a pilot program in 2001. The program was created in response to a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Olmstead v. L.C.) that people with disabilities have the right to receive services in the most integrated setting possible. In 2005, the Texas Legislature made the HCS program permanent. This led to the development of a statewide system of services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
How the Texas HCS Program is Delivered to Consumers
The Texas HCS program is delivered through a network of provider agencies. These agencies are responsible for developing individual service plans, arranging and providing services, and monitoring participants’ progress. Provider agencies must be approved and licensed by HHSC to participate in the HCS program.
How to Apply for the Texas HCS Program
If you think you or someone you know may be eligible for the Texas HCS program, you should contact your Local IDD Authority (LIDDA), which is the lead agency in your area responsible for HCS. A list of LIDDAs can be found on the HHSC website.
Texas HCS Program Interest List
Unfortunately, the waiting list, or “interest list” is notoriously long in the state of Texas. As of this writing, there are over 108,000 individuals on the interest list waiting for a “slot” into the HCS program. This is why it is imperative that you get the name of your loved one on the interest list as soon as a diagnosis of IDD is made, and that you are familiar with the other Texas waiver programs that may be able to provide some level of support while your loved one is waiting for a spot in HCS.
Entering the Texas HCS Program
Once you receive a slot in the program, your LIDDA will work with you to develop an individual service plan (ISP). The ISP is a document that outlines the services and supports you will receive through the HCS program. The ISP is developed through a team process that includes you, your family members, and other professionals who know you and your needs. You will also be provided a list of HCS provider agencies in your area to choose from to facilitate the services provided in the HCS program.
Tips for Choosing an HCS Provider Agency
When you are choosing an HCS provider agency, it is important to consider the following:
- Does the agency have experience providing the types of services and supports I need?
- Do they have a good reputation?
- Are they located near me?
- Do they have a good working relationship with my LIDDA?
- Do they have a good working relationship with my other service providers?
- Are they able to provide services in the languages I need?
It is important that you talk to multiple potential provide agencies to get a sense of who would be the best fit to work with you and your family.
Texas HCS Program Consumer Rights
As a consumer of the Texas HCS program, you have certain rights. These include the right to:
- Be treated with dignity and respect.
- Be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
- Have your privacy respected.
- Participate in the development of your individual service plan.
- Choose your own providers.
- Receive services in the most integrated setting possible.
Texas HCS Program Complaint Procedure
As a recipient of services in the Texas HCS program, your rights are protected by state and federal laws, as well as HHSC rules. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the Health and Human Services IDD Ombudsman, who will investigate your complaint and work to resolve the issue.
Other FAQs About the Texas HCS Program
Here are some other frequently asked questions about the Texas HCS program:
How long does it take to get into the Texas HCS program?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question. The interest list is very long, and it can take years to get a slot in the program.
What is the Texas HCS program budget?
The Texas HCS program is funded through a combination of federal Medicaid dollars and state general revenue. The current annual budget for the program is $758 million.
How many people are in the Texas HCS program waiting list?
As of April 2022, there are 108,773 people on the Texas HCS program waiting list.
What other Texas IDD waiver programs are there?
There are four other Texas IDD waiver programs: Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS), Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD), Medically Dependent Children’s Program (MDCP), and STARS.
Closing Thoughts on the Texas HCS Program
The Texas HCS program is a much-needed resource for people with IDD in Texas. However, the program is underfunded and has a very long waiting list. If you have a loved one with IDD, it is important to get their name on the interest list as soon as possible and to familiarize yourself with the program and its budget so that you can advocate for more funding. Familiarize yourself with the program and the services it offers so that you can be prepared when your loved one finally gets a slot in the program.
About Above and Beyond Caring
Above and Beyond Caring is a Texas HCS provider that has provided services to people with IDD for over 15 years in the Brazoria and Galveston County areas. We are passionate about the Texas HCS program and its ability to provide much-needed services and support to people with IDD. Our goal is to provide high quality, individualized services that meet the unique needs of each person we serve. If you have a loved one with IDD who is on the Texas HCS program interest list, or if you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us today at (979) 202-0055. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.
About Mary Jenkins
Mary Jenkins has over 25 years experience helping individuals with IDD live and thrive in their community. She founded Above and Beyond Caring in 2007 to provide Texas HCS services in the Texas Gulf Coast area. She is also the Director of the Community Inclusion Project, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all individuals have access to their community. She is passionate about her work and believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be a part of, and contribute to, the world around them. Mary is a tireless advocate who is passionate about helping individuals with IDD live fuller, more meaningful lives.