Re: Requirement for 90 Days of Operating Expenses
Blue Ridge Residential Services has partnered since 2005 with Virginians across the Commonwealth who open their homes (Sponsors) to adults with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. Our nearly 200 Sponsors are chosen by the individuals they serve and provide supports that are person-centered and include help with accessing work, leisure; and community options in a customized plan of care. By opening their own homes to vulnerable Virginians, our Sponsors work tirelessly to ensure those they serve have the opportunity to live their best life in a family-based community setting.
As a partner to our dedicated Sponsors, we concur with the comments from the Virginia Network of Private Providers that the language in the Guidance Document does not accurately reflect the language of 12VAC35-105-210. If enforced as described in the Guidance Document, this regulation would create an extraordinary burden for providers who would be unable to access the mandated 90-day reserves and remain in compliance with the regulation. This interpretation of the regulation is particularly troubling as providers grapple with stagnant reimbursement rates, a direct support workforce crisis, and a wait list of over 12,000 individuals in need of services.
We are particularly concerned with how this interpretation would impact Sponsored Residential Services. By requiring Sponsors to set aside funds to cover 90 days of operating expenses independent of the projected revenue from the services they provide, you are effectively requiring Sponsors to set aside funds that if accessed would immediately render the sponsor out of compliance with the regulation, and at risk for revocation or suspension of their license (Code of Virginia §37.2-418).
While we understand the necessity for our Sponsors to maintain financial stability, we believe this interpretation requiring Sponsors to set aside funds for 90 days of operating expenses independent of revenues would lead many providers to exit services by creating an undue burden on their finances. As a sponsored residential services provider, it is our responsibility in partnership with the Commonwealth, to ensure our Sponsors receive prompt payment for the services they provide to cover their operating costs and to equip them with the tools they need to responsibly manage their resources. We believe the regulation should be interpreted and enforced as written and take into account reliable revenue streams for existing providers.
We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of our comments.
Kimberly Shepherd, Executive Director
Blue Ridge Residential Services