This was really good news from Madison House Autism Foundation:

Dear AHN members,

We are thrilled to announce our advocacy efforts are a success thanks to you! Watch the short video below to learn more.

Check out this Psychology Today article about the new guidance that quotes the Autism Housing Network Project Leader, Desiree Kameka.

View the NEW guidance which supersedes the “Settings that Tend to Isolate” guidance from 2014 here.

Some of the highlights of this new guidance include: 

  • The new guidance is outcome-oriented and focuses on the settings facilitation of community engagement as described in one’s person-centered plan.

  • The role of an individual’s person-centered plan is paramount in guiding services, their home preferences, and access to the greater community. Make sure yours meets the federal requirements using this HCBS Final Rule Person-Centered plan checklist. 

  • Settings described in previous guidance are no longer presumed institutional nor isolating and will no longer be forced to go through heightened scrutiny if the state determines the setting is compliant with the HCBS Final Rule.

  • Settings previously submitted for heightened scrutiny may no longer need to go through the heightened scrutiny process if the state determines it is compliant or can become compliant by July 2020

  • Consumer-controlled settings are presumed compliant.

What can you do?

  • Reach out and thank the policymakers. The importance of making our collective voice heard should not be underestimated.  Melissa Harris of CMS is a good place to start. She is in the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, her email is

  • Make sure your Person-Centered Plan meets federal requirements if you plan to use HCBS waiver funding. You can also visit the Autism Housing Network Resource Directory and use the ‘Topic’ filter on the right to find ‘Person-Centered Planning’ tools and materials.

  • There is another piece of CMS guidance that needs attention. Guidance on the planned construction of future housing solutions emphasizes that the Medicaid authority cannot give pre-approval that residents will be able to use their waivers before the housing is constructed and or operational.  Join our advocacy wing, the Coalition for Community Choice, for updates and future action alerts (I promise we won’t swamp your inbox!)

The impact of this change cannot be understated. Homes of people who have disabilities stigmatized in the previous guidance were going to be unnecessarily scrutinized, an expensive process that could have instilled confusion, fear, and anxiety in residents. Now, people’s homes will not be forced by CMS to go under investigation and they can live without fear of removal from their home.

So what’s next?

Now more than ever before we know that our voice is stronger when we come together. Please join us as an advocate or a donor as we prove that we CAN make a difference and have a variety of housing options to find the best fit for every individual.