Scope of Work and Technical Assistance Processes: CY2003

The National Consortium for Health Systems Development (NCHSD) is a partnership of states that have joined together to assist other state agencies, legislatures, consumers and advocates in their efforts to build systems that support competitive employment for individuals with disabilities. The primary means for achieving this goal is through state-to-state information sharing, individualized technical assistance, and the dissemination of best practices to a broad array of involved stakeholders in states around the country. The NCHSD partnership was made possible through a provision in the Ticket to Work & Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA) through the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) program. State learning and dissemination requirements of the Medicaid Infrastructure Grants are achieved through partnership in the NCHSD technical assistance center.

Benefits to NCHSD Partner States

The activities of the National Consortium for Health Systems Development are driven by the needs of the state partners. NCHSD has a core staff that supports partner states in developing the scope of work of the larger consortium as well as providing staff support for the functions listed below. Core staff also provides individualized TA to states based on a state-tailored work plan intended to help facilitate the successful implementation of the statesí MIG program goals.

States participating in NCHSD include: CT, ME, NH, MA, VT, RI, WI, KS, WV, LA, UT, CA, OR, AK, WY, NC, IN.

National Policy Advisory Council (NPAC)

The NPAC is the policy and governance body for the NCHSD. One representative from each state participates on this Advisory Council through quarterly conference calls, and is responsible for the following core functions:

Participating in NCHSD-sponsored technical assistance activities, such as information sharing and dissemination

Approving the annual NCHSD agenda and resource focus for national technical assistance activities

Approving the annual NCHSD operating budget

Endorsing NCHSD-generated policy recommendations related to work incentive policy improvements and related health systems initiatives that affect existing federal and state policies and programs

Topical Work Groups

State Partners continue to maintain four topic-specific work groups for 2003 and have encouraged participation from a wide range of stakeholders including state policy makers, consumers, advocates, professionals and other interested individuals. All workgroups are designed to remain state-driven in nature, with agendas and operating principles that encourage new ideas and membership to the groups while working through the various topic areas of interests to state partners.

With the assistance of an NCHSD staff person, the work groups have engaged in the following activities:

Designating a chair (or co-chairs).

Developing an agenda and work plan to guide discussions related to the work groupsí goals (see descriptions below for information regarding each work groupís goals).

Scheduling a monthly teleconference to facilitate shared learning and to develop dissemination methods for informing states about promising practices. In addition the work groups may schedule special meetings, conferences or other face-to-face sharing activities as deemed appropriate by work group members.

Reporting key policy issues, challenges and work group activities to the larger state partnership via a quarterly reporting process (see description in the ENEWS section).

Identifying and presenting policy recommendations to the NPAC for their deliberation and endorsement.

Building linkages between existing work groups to facilitate cross cutting activities (e.g. identifying meaningful consumer involvement strategies in the development of research, evaluation, and performance monitoring activities).

Developing/recruiting/fostering participation from other key stakeholders within work group participantsí states (e.g. getting professionals and consumers involved in topics of importance to the state).

The work groups include:

Personal Assistance Services - This group is working on issues related to the various options for funding PAS, consumer-directed care, the range of service delivery models available under a state plan amendment, the fiscal impacts of various personal care initiatives, and workforce issues related to personal care assistantsí recruitment and retention.

Inclusive Policy Making and Implementation - This group is focused on a number of issues, such as effective outreach strategies, collaboration with state policy makers, work incentives education, and opportunities for regional advocacy. All of these issues are framed in terms of developing innovative strategies for meaningful consumer involvement in the policy formulation, implementation and quality assurance processes.

Research and Evaluation - This group has been working in collaboration with researchers across the country in thinking through, planning for, and implementing program and policy evaluation strategies for the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant program and related work incentive activities.

Outreach - This group is working on developing comprehensive outreach and training strategies for consumers, employers, providers, legislators and other key decision makers and stakeholders relative to work incentive initiatives, program enhancements, and new Medicaid options implemented as a result of the MIG program. Specific issues include how current Medicaid buy-in design features and enrollment processes challenge outreach efforts, particularly in a time of extreme fiscal restraint at the state level.

National Technical Assistance Workshops

The partnership sponsors at least two national face-to-face technical assistance workshops annually based on topics identified by the NPAC and work groups as being of high importance to the membership. These workshops provide an opportunity for State Partners to share promising practices, problem-solve challenges encountered in implementing MIG program initiatives, and most importantly, network with colleagues from across the country.

Access to Experts and Broader Employment Supports Community

NCHSD continually maintains and develops relationships with national and local persons and organizations across the country with specialized expertise in policies and practices related to competitive employment. NCHSD collaborates with these efforts (such as the technical assistance centers for the SSA Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach grantees) to provide partner states with access to this expertise via trainings, policy briefs, teleconferences, national meetings, on-site technical assistance and workgroup discussions.

Regional Coalition Support and Development

NCHSD will provide staff support to regional state coalitions via monthly topical conference calls for state-to-state information sharing. Regional coalition efforts will feed into the national partnership activities through core staff linkages and representation on the NCHSD National Policy Advisory Council. Products and documentation regarding state learning and dissemination are published on the NCHSD web site.

Monthly E-NEWS

The partnership will develop and disseminate a monthly electronic newsletter of state activities and innovative practices, federal and state legislative initiatives, and featured topics to keep State Partners aware of important developments in workforce systems policy. On a quarterly basis, the E-News will serve as the vehicle through which each NCHSD work group reports back key issues and information to the larger partnership, including the NPAC members.

Web Site

The NCHSD web site will include comprehensive state partner information, assessment tools, resources, bulletin boards and important web links and will be available to State Partners in at: The web sites will also provide:

Tools and other key documents developed by staffs and state partners

monthly workgroup teleconference schedules, minutes and materials

information about regional coalitions activities and events

special events and other important information

The NEP website is currently available at []

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