Developmental Disabilities Administration
June 2021
Message from the Deputy Secretary
Summer is upon us and it is my hope that there is optimism in the renewed opportunities for fun in the sun with family and friends! With Governor Hogan and Secretary Schrader, we remain very proud of Maryland’s response throughout the pandemic and even more proud of this DDA community for your contributions to this response and vaccination efforts. Your partnership and actions are a positive reflection of the commitment we all share to the health and well-being of each other. 

For the past year, we have focused a lot of our communications with you on the transition to the DDA Module of LTSSMaryland. While this transition is ongoing and important to streamlining the coordination and payment of services, I want to take a moment to talk about the things that really impact people’s lives and are at the core of what DDA does. 

This past year, like no other, has truly reinforced our guiding vision for a flexible, person-centered, family-oriented system of support. We have seen just how remarkable and innovative families and providers have been in responding to the needs of people during the pandemic and we have also seen how people have been empowered around making new choices and exploring new interests coming out of the pandemic. To promote these opportunities and build on these learnings, the DDA will continue prioritizing person-centered planning, resources to families, employment, and technology for people with developmental disabilities. Your input into these initiatives and goals will continue to shape our system and ensure we have clear, accessible and supportive pathways. This newsletter is meant to bring you updates around key initiatives to support our shared goals.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we move forward together. Have a wonderful and safe summer. 
Professional photo of Deputy Secretary Bernard Simons
Bernard Simons
Deputy Secretary
COVID Vaccination Update
Since December 2020, the DDA has partnered with local health departments, our provider community, and local pharmacies to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine was getting into the arms of people with developmental disabilities, their staff, and families. DDA's provider agencies have done a tremendous job setting up clinics and ensuring the health and safety of the DDA community. This collaboration has resulted in over 75% of the DDA participants receiving a vaccine! What an effort! It is also important to acknowledge the wonderful community partnership between Kennedy Kreiger and Johns Hopkins, two well known entities in Maryland who came together to facilitate a drive-through clinic for individuals with disabilities. Stacey Herman, Kennedy Krieger's Director of Neurodiversity and Community Workforce Development, championed a collaborative effort that resulted in over 500 people getting the COVID-19 vaccine! The DDA is also working with a local pharmacy to ensure those individuals who are self-directing their services or are unable to leave their home have an opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine as well! Stay tuned 
LTSSMaryland-DDA Module
The DDA regional offices have been working in close collaboration with DDA provider agencies who have chosen to be Early Adopters in the DDA Module of LTSSMaryland beginning in July. The DDA regional offices have been hosting regular meetings with Coordinators of Community Services, Early Adopter Agencies, DDA Headquarters and teams to ensure services are transitioned to the DDA Module of LTSSMaryland as smoothly as possible so that individuals can continue to receive the highest quality of services from their chosen providers. The DDA is happy to report that through this collaborative effort 100% of PCPs will be approved in the DDA Module of LTSSMaryland and ready to be billed on for those providers beginning in July! Congratulations to all involved -- this is what can happen when we sit down and work together to realize our shared interests and accomplish our goals!

As shared by Onesta Duke, Director of the Southern Maryland Regional Office, “The upcoming transition from PCIS2 into the LTSSMaryland - DDA Module for the Early Adopters in the Southern Region was also a successful and collaborative process. The SMRO team partnered with SEEC, Jubilee, and eight of our CCS agencies to ensure that their transition into the LTSSMaryland - DDA Module on July 1st was well planned, organized, and efficient. The EAG readiness checklist and tool kit was instrumental in guiding the process. We're grateful to all of the providers, CCSs, and regional office staff who contributed to making this a successful transition!”
Technology First
Through a partnership between the DDA and the Department of Disabilities, Maryland has been established as a Technology First State. This initiative serves to promote technology and access to technology resources as the first option of community support.
The first official Technology First Task Force meeting was held on June 4th. This meeting was facilitated by the expert leadership of Dustin Wright of Disability Cocoon and supported by community stakeholders including partners at the Kennedy Krieger Center. As a team, it was determined that the best way to establish goals and priorities for the Task Force was to survey individuals, families and providers to better understand people’s experiences, knowledge and access to technology. This survey was launched the week of June 21st and will be open through July 30th. It can be accessed here: Tech Survey for Professionals and Tech Survey for Self Advocates & Family Members. For more information on how to get involved with Technology First Task Force, please contact Stephanie Jones, Director of Innovations at
The START Program
The DDA is pleased to announce that it has launched a new comprehensive model of support for people diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities who experience mental health needs. This solutions-focused model is built on person-centered principles and optimizes independence, treatment, and community living. The Maryland START pilot began accepting referrals in April of 2021 within the Central Region (Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Howard County and Harford County). This pilot will serve up to 30 eligible people in the Central Region who are on one of the DD waivers and have a dual diagnosis of a mental health disorder.
More information on the eligibility requirements and referrals can be found here: Maryland START pilot for Behavior Supports in Central Region. To reach a member of the START program, please call the main number at 410-767-6063 or you can email a referral to
Maryland Community of Practice for Supporting Families
The DDA remains committed to the interests and strengths of families. Under the leadership of Mary Anne Kane Breschi, Director of Family Supports, The MD Community of Practice for Supporting Families has offered a variety of monthly educational webinars responsive to areas of interest to support and empower families.
In April, the ‘Moving Out’ Pilot Training Series launched. This first webinar was supported by SEEC leadership and focused on transition planning for supported living. Following that webinar, families learned about Affordable Housing Options and Resources through a presentation with Maryland Partnership for Affordable Housing (MPHA). Also in May, an interactive webinar was facilitated to promote the benefits of person-centered approaches in school, Using Charting the LifeCourse with Teachers & Families. This webinar provided information and shared examples of how a person-centered framework supports exploration, planning, decision-making and problem solving for students with autism and intellectual disabilities and their families.
In June, the DDA was invited to present in the Supporting Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and Their Aging Caregivers Summit hosted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Maryland was honored to be one of the state spotlights! In partnership with Dr. Melinda Elliot, the proud mother of a young Marylander with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the DDA shared information about strategies and resources for families. Dr. Elliot also shared her experiences as a caregiver and the positive impact the DDA has contributed to in the care of her son.
Please contact Mary Anne Kane Breschi, Director of Family Supports, for any additional questions you might have at
Person-Centered Planning
Using a person-centered planning approach, the DDA supports people with identifying what is important to people and what is important for people. This process promotes self-determination, exploration of new interests, and opportunities for growth and results in a comprehensive plan that clearly communicates a person’s interests across the person’s identified team.
As the foundation of its system, the DDA has placed great emphasis and set bold goals for its person-centered planning process. Through partnerships, new quality management tools, process changes and stakeholder engagement, the DDA is seeing sustainable positive change across the person-centered planning process. The DDA is continuing to see improvements in the quality of plans submitted and as a result is approving on average 880 plans per week!
In addition, the DDA, in partnership with the CCS and FMS agencies, is nearing its goal to review, revise and submit all self-directed plans into the DDA Module of LTSSMaryland by July 1st. This means that over 1,500 people have been supported with a comprehensive plan development in the DDA Module of LTSSMaryland.
The DDA is very appreciative of the shared commitment with its partners to ensure that every plan is reflective of each person’s individual needs and interests.
Upcoming Events
The Deputy Secretary will continue his monthly webinar series, sharing new information and providing time for your questions and responses. The series continues on July 30th at 1 PM. Register here.
The DDA continues to offer training for providers and CCS agencies. Learn about upcoming training opportunities and register through the DDA training calendar
Regional Office Contact Information

Central Maryland: Nicholas Burton
Southern Maryland: Onesta Duke
Eastern Shore: Kimberly Gscheidle
Western Maryland: Cathy Marshall
Maryland Department of Health
Developmental Disabilities Administration
201 W. Preston St. | Baltimore, MD 21201