What Does a Texas HCS Provider Do? Home and Community-Based Services Explained
The Texas Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) program provides support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live in their own homes or other community settings instead of institutions. These services are facilitated by a licensed Texas HCS provider who contracts with HHSC to deliver services. This article will explain what HCS providers do and how they support people with disabilities to live in the community.
- A Texas HCS provider is a licensed professional who contracts with HHSC to deliver services and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, so they can live in their own homes or other community settings instead of institutions.
- HCS providers deliver services based on each individual’s needs and preferences, as outlined in their Individual Plan of Care (IPC). Services may include assistance with activities of daily living, community integration, minor home modifications, residential support, host home/companion care arrangements, day habilitation programs, supported employment services nursing care behavioral supports dental care social work adaptive aids and assistive technology.
- To be eligible for HCS services in Texas a person must have an intellectual disability or related condition defined by state law; be a Texas resident; be Medicaid eligible; and have an IPC that includes HCS services.
Individuals who are not eligible for HCS might still be eligible for other programs like the Community Living Assistance & Support Services program or Home & Community-based Alternatives program.
- You can find contact information your local authority on the HHSC website. Once you’ve contacted your LIDDA they will complete an assessment to determine if you’re eligible for HCS Services.
What a Texas HCS Provider Does
HCS providers deliver services and support designed to promote health and safety and independence, and community integration for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These services are based on each individual’s needs and preferences and their Individual Plan of Care (IPC).
The type and amount of services that an HCS provider delivers can vary greatly from individual to individual but may include:
Assistance with Daily Living
HCS providers and their staff assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and using the restroom. They also help with meal preparation, eating, and doing laundry. Providers may also assist people with taking their medications as prescribed.
HCS providers help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get involved in their communities. This may include support to participate in volunteer opportunities, join a club or civic organization, take part in religious activities, or get a job. Providers also help people access transportation and housing resources.
Minor Home Modifications
Some HCS providers can also make minor home modifications, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or widening doorways, to help people with disabilities live more independently.
HCS providers may also offer residential support to people who live in their own homes or group homes. This type of support includes assistance with budgeting, housekeeping, cooking, and providing transportation to doctor’s appointments and other activities.
Host Home/Companion Care
In some cases, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities may live with a host family or in a companion care arrangement. In these situations, the HCS provider is responsible for supporting both the individual and the host family or caregiving companion. This support may include training on how to provide care and financial assistance to offset the cost of providing care.
Day habilitation is a type of day program that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities develop skills to live more independently. Services may include community outings, support to find and keep a job, health and wellness activities, and life skills training.
Supported employment services help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find and keep a competitive job in the community. Services may include job coaching, on-the-job training, and support to navigate the interview process.
HCS providers offer nursing services, such as administering medications, wound care, and tube feedings. Nurses can be full-time HCS staff employees or contracted employees.
HCS providers offer behavioral supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have difficulty with certain behaviors. This may include developing a behavior plan, providing coaching and support, and teaching new skills.
HCS providers also offer dental services, such as teeth cleanings, fillings, and extractions. These services are provided by a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.
HCS providers offer social work services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Services may include case management, counseling, and support to access community resources.
Adaptive Aids and Assistive Technology
HCS providers facilitate the implementation of adaptive aids and assistive technology for people with disabilities. Adaptive aids are devices that help people with disabilities perform everyday tasks, such as dressing, grooming, and eating. Assistive technology is any type of technology that helps people with disabilities live more independently. This may include adaptive computer software, wheelchairs, and communication devices.
Eligibility for HCS Services
To be eligible for HCS services in Texas, a person must:
- Have an intellectual disability or a related condition, as defined by Texas state law
- Be a Texas resident
- Be eligible for Medicaid
- Have an individual support plan that includes HCS services
Individuals who are not eligible for HCS services may be eligible for other programs, such as the Community Living Assistance and Support Services program or the Home and Community-based Alternatives program.
How to Find a Texas HCS Provider
If you are interested in receiving services through the Texas HCS program, you will need to contact your Local IDD Authority (LIDDA). Each authority has a list of HCS providers that serve their area. You can find contact information for your local authority on the HHSC website.
What Happens During HCS Enrollment?
When you contact your LIDDA, they will complete an assessment to determine if you are eligible for HCS services. If you are eligible, you will be enrolled in the program and can choose an HCS provider. You and your provider will then work together to develop your IPC, which will outline the types and amount of services you will receive.
What Are Your Rights in the Texas HCS Program?
As a participant in the Texas HCS program, you have certain rights. These rights include:
- The right to choose your own HCS provider
- The right to receive services that are designed to meet your individual needs
- The right to be treated with respect and dignity
- The right to have your privacy respected
- The right to have a say in the development of your IPC
- The right to receive services in the least restrictive environment possible
- The right to file a complaint if you feel your rights have been violated
If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in the Texas HCS program, you can contact your local authority or HHSC.
HCS Provider Staff Roles
HCS provider agencies also have staff who work behind the scenes to support the delivery of services. These positions may include:
Care coordinators work with HCS providers and other professionals, such as doctors and therapists, to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive all the services they need. They also provide training to HCS staff on health and safety issues and how to best support people with disabilities.
Front Line Supervisors
Front line supervisors provide direct supervision to the staff who work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They make sure that staff provides quality services and support and that they are following all state and federal regulations. Front line supervisors also provide training to new staff members.
Direct Care Staff
Direct care staff are the employees of an HCS provider who provide services and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These positions may include home health aides, personal care assistants, and community support workers.
Day Habilitation Staff
Day habilitation staff work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group settings, such as community-based day programs. They provide activities and experiences that help people learn new skills, make friends, and explore their interests.
Residential staff work in residential group homes where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live. They provide support with activities of daily living and community integration, and other activities.
Program Development Staff
Program development staff work with HCS providers to create new programs and services and make sure that existing programs are meeting the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They also provide training to direct care staff on best practices for supporting people with IDD.
Specialized Therapies Providers
These are generally contract employees who provide the specialized therapies covered in the HCS program. Some examples of specialized therapies providers include:
- Nurses: Registered nurses (RNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) provide health-related services, such as administering medications, monitoring medical conditions, and providing wound care.
- Physical Therapists: Physical therapists (PTs) help people with disabilities improve mobility and movement. They may also provide treatments to reduce pain and help prevent injuries.
- Occupational Therapists: Occupational therapists (OTs) help people with disabilities develop the skills they need for daily living, such as dressing, eating, and bathing. They may also provide assistive devices, such as adaptive utensils and wheelchairs.
- Speech-Language Pathologists: Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help people with communication disorders, such as difficulty speaking or understanding language. They may also provide swallowing evaluations and therapy.
- Behavior Analysts: Behavior analysts (BAs) work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them develop new skills and decrease problem behavior. They use positive reinforcement to teach new skills and help people change their behavior.
- Psychologists: Psychologists provide counseling and therapy to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them deal with emotional issues. They may also provide psychological assessments.
LIDDA Staff Roles
Texas HSC providers work closely with Local IDD Authority staff to coordinate services for people with IDD. The following are some of the staff roles within a Local IDD Authority:
Eligibility specialists determine whether a person is eligible for HCS or other services through the Local Authority. They complete an assessment to gather information about the person’s functional abilities and support needs.
Service coordinators are the main point of contact between people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and HCS providers. They develop each individual’s IPC and work with them and their family to find an HCS provider that is a good match. Service coordinators also conduct annual reviews to ensure that services are still meeting the individual’s needs.
Intake specialists are the first point of contact for people interested in receiving HCS services. They gather information about an individual’s needs and preferences and then work with the care coordinators to create an IPC.
Quality Assurance Specialists
Quality assurance specialists make sure that HCS providers are delivering high-quality services. They do this by conducting audits of provider agencies and interviewing people who receive HCS services. Quality assurance specialists also investigate complaints about HCS providers.
Case managers provide ongoing support to people with IDD and their families. They ensure that people are receiving the services they need and that their providers are meeting their individual goals. Case managers also provide training and support to direct care staff.
What to Ask When Choosing an HCS Provider
When looking for an HCS provider, it is important to ask questions and get as much information as possible. Here are some things you may want to ask:
Does the provider have experience working with people with my loved one’s disability?
Choosing a provider with experience dealing with your loved one’s particular disability is important. They will understand the unique challenges that come with the disability and know how to best support your loved one.
Does the provider have staff who speak my language?
Having someone who speaks your language can make communication easier and help to ensure that you understand all the information about the services being provided.
What are the provider’s hours of operation?
It is important to choose a provider with hours that fit your schedule. In addition, you will need to be able to take your loved one to appointments and be available to talk to staff if there are any issues.
How will the provider communicate with me about my loved one’s progress?
Communication is important in any relationship, but it is especially important when you are entrusting the care of your loved one to someone else. Ensure that you understand how the provider will communicate with you and how often they will provide updates.
What is the provider’s policy on managing difficult behaviors?
If your loved one has difficulty managing their behaviors, it is important to choose a provider that has experience dealing with these issues. Ask about the provider’s policies on managing difficult behaviors and how they will communicate with you about any issues that arise.
Does the provider have any specialties or areas of expertise?
Some HCS providers may have specialties or areas of expertise, such as working with people who have autism or those who are nonverbal. If there is a particular area that you are interested in, you may want to ask if the provider has any experience in that area.
What is the provider’s approach to service delivery?
The provider’s approach to service delivery is important to consider when choosing an HCS provider. Make sure that their approach aligns with your preferences and the needs of your loved one.
What is the provider’s policy on inclusion in the community?
An important part of HCS is community inclusion. This means that people with IDD have the opportunity to participate in activities and events in their community. Ask the provider about their policy on inclusion and how they ensure that people receiving services have the opportunity to be involved in their community.
What is the process for getting started with services?
Each HCS provider has its own process for getting started with services. Be sure to ask about the process and what you will need to do to get started.
What Outcomes Can You Expect From HCS?
The goal of HCS is to help people with IDD live as independently as possible in their homes and communities. Therefore, services are individualized to meet the unique needs of each person. Some outcomes you can expect from HCS include:
An increase in independence
Increased independence is one of the main goals of HCS. Services are designed to help people with IDD live as independently as possible in their homes and communities.
Improved health and well-being
HCS can also help improve the health and well-being of those receiving services. This may include access to preventive care, dental care, and mental health services.
Greater social and community involvement
Another goal of HCS is to help people with IDD become more involved in their communities. This may include access to community resources, recreational activities, and employment opportunities.
Improved communication skills
HCS services can also help people with IDD improve their communication skills. This may include learning how to use assistive technology or participating in speech therapy.
A decrease in challenging behaviors
HCS can also help decrease challenging behaviors by providing support and services that address the underlying causes of these behaviors.
What is the Texas HCS Waiting List?
Unfortunately, the waiting list for services in the Texas HCS program is notoriously long. As of the time of this writing, there are over 108,000 individuals with IDD on the waiting list for HCS services in Texas. The wait time for services can be anywhere from a few months to years, depending on the individual’s needs and the availability of resources. For example, for 2022, only 542 legislative allocation slots are available. At that rate, it would take 199 years for every individual waiting for services to receive them, and that would be only if no one else signed up for the program.
How You Can Help
If you are interested in helping to improve the HCS program in Texas, there are a few things you can do.
- Contact your legislator: First, you can contact your state legislators and voice your support for increasing funding for the HCS program. This will help ensure that more people with IDD have access to the services they need.
- Make a donation: You can also help by donating to one of the many organizations that provide HCS services in Texas. These organizations rely on donations to help them provide high-quality services to those in need.
- Spread the word: Finally, you can help by spreading the word about the HCS program and the need for more funding. You can do this by sharing this article with your friends and family or by writing your own blog post or social media post about the program.
Other FAQs About HCS
Q: What is the difference between HCS and ICF/IID?
A: The main difference between HCS and ICF/IID is that HCS is a home and community-based services program while ICF/IID is a facility-based program. ICF/IID provides 24-hour care and supervision in a residential setting. In contrast, HCS provides services and supports that help people with IDD live as independently as possible in their homes and communities.
Q: What services are provided through HCS?
A: HCS provides a wide range of services, including but not limited to community living supports, case management, respite care, habilitation, employment support, and day activity and health services.
Q: How do I know if I am eligible for HCS?
A: To be eligible for HCS, you must have an IDD diagnosis from a qualified professional and meet the program’s financial eligibility requirements.
Q: How do I apply for HCS?
A: You can apply for HCS through your local intellectual and developmental disabilities authority (LIDDA).
Q: How long is the HCS waiting list?
A: The wait time for HCS services can be anywhere from a few months to years, depending on the individual’s needs and the availability of resources.
Q: What can I do to help those with IDD in Texas?
A: If you are interested in helping to improve the HCS program in Texas, there are a few things you can do. Contact your legislator, donate to one of the many organizations that provide HCS services in Texas, or spread the word about the program.
Q: What is the difference between HCS and CLASS?
A: The main difference between HCS and CLASS is that CLASS focuses on residential services while HCS focuses on community-based services. CLASS provides 24-hour care and supervision in a residential setting, while HCS provides services and supports that help people with IDD live as independently as possible in their homes and communities.
Q: What is the difference between HCS and DBMD?
A: The main difference between HCS and DBMD is that DBMD focuses specifically on deaf and blind Texans, while HCS serves people with all types of IDD. DBMD provides services and supports that help deaf and blind Texans live as independently as possible, while HCS provides a wider range of services to people with all types of IDD.
Final Thoughts on HCS in Texas
The HCS program is a vital resource for Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program provides much-needed services and supports that help people with IDD live as independently as possible in their homes and communities. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for HCS, the first step is to contact your local LIDDA.
The HCS program is not perfect, but it is an important resource for Texans with IDD. If you are interested in helping to improve the program, there are a few things you can do. Contact your legislator, make a donation to one of the many organizations that provide HCS services in Texas, or spread the word about the program.
Do you have any questions about HCS in Texas? Call us at (979) 202-0055 today to discuss your options.
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.