Twelve months after the initial request, HCO staff, consumers, and stakeholders gathered to celebrate obtaining a new ICS license to provide services at Iverson Court.

Early on in 2021, HCO became aware that because of changes made with Waiver Reimagine, residents at Iverson Court were at risk of losing their services under 245D with Home and Community Options.  These are the services that support individuals with skill building in areas such as money management, medical/healthcare, and learning about personal rights and responsibilities.  HCO’s Iverson Court has offered this type of service at the program site for the past 38 years, and the tenants that live there are reliant on these supports to keep them safe.  These services provide highly trained staff to teach skill building strategies that assist the tenants with reaching their highest levels of independence.

The new regulation within Waiver Reimagine does not allow for people receiving unit-based services to receive care at their home if the agency providing the care is the owner of the property.  This is the case with HCO’s Iverson Court, a 22-unit main apartment building and a fully accessible duplex that contains 2 – two-bedroom apartments.

Waiver Reimagine also does not allow for a property to have adjacent sites, so getting the Department of Human Services (DHS) to consider the apartment building and duplex on the property as one site was the first challenge.  Married tenants that live in the duplex, as well as their family members, stepped up and voiced their concerns to DHS, becoming strong advocates for getting this matter resolved.

The next few months were spent compiling required documents for the new license to show that Iverson Court is an integrated setting where individuals are able to fully participate and be a part of the Winona community.  HCO secured letters from Winona County Health and Human Services, numerous business leaders, and community members stating that the site offers not only the choice of the 245D provider, but also that the ICS site is located to allow maximum access to Winona’s community resources.  Policies were written and a multitude of required state forms were completed.  An on-call system was also put in place for weekend use, enabling tenants to receive support from staff who may need additional support outside of traditional work hours. Once the license was obtained, staff received the required training, and tenants were formally notified of their rights to the new services.

Finally, in May of 2022, HCO was able to submit records to receive funding for the services and cares provided, enabling tenants to continue receiving critical support services in their homes.  This was definitely an accomplishment to celebrate!