Excellence in Self-Direction Program: Bernard Simons

Bernard SimonsIt is with great pleasure that we nominate Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) Deputy Secretary Bernard Simons for the Excellence in Self-Direction Program award. When Mr. Simons arrived in Maryland, only 250 people were self-directing their services; as of today, over 900 people use the self-direction service option.

Self-direction has expanded in the four years that Mr. Simons has been in leadership. Self-direction has evolved from being its own waiver, known as New Directions, to being including in the DDA’s comprehensive waiver, the Community Pathways Waiver. In the past year, the DDA has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for two new waivers totaling three waivers that allow for people to self-direct. Self-Direction is now one of the two choices for service delivery.

The Deputy Secretary has been committed to establishing a system for success to better service participants funded by the Administration. Based on the input and recommendations from individuals, families, providers, and national experts, Deputy Secretary Simons has identified the primary focus areas that will improve Maryland’s self-direction service model: the development of a clear definition for self-direction; establishing a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the participant, family and people who support individuals that are in self-directed services; and issuing a proposal for Financial Management Services.

Deputy Secretary Simons is very authentic and transparent with his stakeholders and their advocates by keeping a line of communication open to remain truthful and transparent advancing a culture of honesty, clarity and trust.