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CSA Private Day Placement Rate Study Enters Final Phases

The consultants who are conducting a study of rates paid for private special education day placements funded through the Children’s Services Act held a series of meetings with stakeholders in June to solicit feedback in advance of finalizing the report’s recommendations. VACo staff attended the meeting held on June 20 in Richmond, which was also attended by private providers and their representatives, CSA coordinators, legislative staff, and members of the Administration. The consultants, staff from Public Consulting Group (PCG), were contracted by the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) in accordance with language included in the 2018 Appropriations Act directing a study of the current rates paid for private special education day placements, to include a review of the adequacy of those rates and recommendations for a methodology for a possible rate-setting structure that could be implemented in the future.

PCG held stakeholder meetings last fall in advance of submitting its interim report to the General Assembly in December 2018. To complete the second phase of the study, PCG surveyed providers on their costs of providing services, including personnel and other operating costs, such as mileage, facilities, and food services. Based on the responses received (which did not reflect all providers, since survey participation was optional), PCG developed a proposed methodology for setting both a daily personnel rate and a daily operating rate, which would be combined to produce a total daily rate. Sample calculations under this proposed methodology can be found in PCG’s slides from the presentation, which are available on the OCS website. PCG staff cautioned that the dollar figures in the presentation are merely placeholders reflecting information from the 39 schools that submitted at least some of the requested cost data, and suggested that, should the General Assembly opt to pursue rate setting, it would need to require all providers to provide cost data so that averages used to calculate individual rates for each school would be more accurate.

PCG identified several aspects of its proposed methodology that need additional refining, including how to account for supplemental services, such as occupational therapy, that may be provided by the school, either by its own staff or by subcontracted providers. Geographical variations in the cost of providing services were also identified as an area for further consideration. Attendees at the June 20 meeting also encouraged PCG staff to consider how to account for services for which the costs may not be fully captured in the cost survey – for example, services that are subsidized by philanthropic contributions.

PCG’s report is due to the General Assembly on October 1, 2019; in the interim, PCG staff are accepting feedback via email to or via telephone at 1.800.936.0393.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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