Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Do you know what Imagine! is? According to the State of Colorado, we are many things.

Imagine! is designated as a Program Approved Service Agency by the Department of Human Services, Division for Developmental Disabilities.

Imagine! is also a contracted provider of employment services by the Department of Human Services, Division for Vocational Rehabilitation.

Imagine! is designated as a Community Centered Board for Broomfield and Boulder counties. With this designation from the Department of Human Services, we act as an Organized Health Care Delivery System and Broker of Early Intervention Services.

The Behavior Health Organization in Boulder and Broomfield counties has contracted with us to provide mental health services for adults who have both developmental disabilities and mental health disorders.

Imagine! has a child care license issued by the Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care, in order to provide after school care and a summer day camp program for kids with autism and developmental disabilities.

Imagine! is licensed as a Child Placement Agency by the Department of Human Services, Division of Child Welfare, to fill the need for foster care for kids with a developmental disability.

Imagine! operates group residential services and supports for people with developmental disabilities that are licensed by the Department of Public Health and Environment.

For State Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Imagine! is a Single Entry Point and a Care Coordinating Agency for the Medicaid Autism Waiver.

Also for Health Care Policy and Financing, Imagine! is a Single Entry Point for the Medicaid Children’s Home and Community Based Services Waiver in order for children with disabilities to gain access to Medicaid benefits.

Why am I going to the trouble, and probably annoying you, with this alphabet soup list of licensures, designations, and contracts? Because this is what it takes in Colorado to be available to provide services to even one eligible person for their entire lifespan. Last year at Imagine!, we served 2,500 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and successfully navigated a myriad of regulations to serve each and every one.

Imagine yourself navigating this labyrinth - this list of departments, divisions, funding streams, ever-changing rules, regulations and billing procedures. Imagine the data systems involved and the knowledge required by the staff to successfully support an individual’s specific needs.

Imagine a thousand puzzle pieces that fit one day, and then don’t fit the next, with new pieces added to the puzzle each week. Providers in this State are asked to assemble the puzzle despite these challenges, burdened with the expectation that the puzzle will reveal a beautiful landscape of Colorado. What was a game of checkers is now a game of three dimensional chess.

It is a little like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube while blindfolded.

And yet, just like the guy in the clip above, Colorado providers have managed to solve the puzzle again and again while still providing superior services. Surveys conducted across the State show high marks for quality and satisfaction by those receiving services. We are actually quite successful as providers of services and supports to residents of Colorado when requested (and funded).

The real challenge is serving the State itself. And that is getting more and more difficult. Solve the Rubik’s Cube blindfolded – with one hand tied behind your back.

We have reached the critical point when it is appropriate to examine this fractured disarray that makes up our system of support for citizens who have developmental disabilities and autism.

Then again, what do I know?

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