Agency Handbook 2015

Lessons of Life LLC.



Who is Lessons of Life LLC?……………………………………………………………………3

Types of Services offered…………………………………………………………………….. 4

How to Access Services…………………………………………………………………………5

Person Centered Planning Processes……………………………………………………..6

Rights of the Individual Served………………………………………………………………7

Frequently Asked Questions………………………………………………………………….8

Key Contact Information    ……………………………………………………………………9

-Lessons of Life LLC, is a CARF accredited Provider of NM Developmental Disabilities Waiver Services operating in the Southwest Region of New Mexico. We provide a multitude of services for individuals in reference to the home, community and employment aspects of the NM DD Waiver.

-Historically Lessons of Life LLC, began as a provider of Waiver Service in July of 2008 and was started by member managers Edward Ruiz and Rey Romero. In the initial stages of the agency we predominately focused our energy on upholding Family Living Services. In July of 2011 Lessons of Life LLC, became much more inclusive as we expanded service provisions to include Supported Living, Customized In home supports, Customized Community Supports, and Job Coaching services. Lessons of Life LLC, also provides respite services to the individual families that simply need a break from the day to day obligations of caring for an individuals with developmental disabilities.

-Currently we serve over 90 individuals with the availability to provide service in the following counties. Lincoln, Dona Ana, Sierra, Otero, Grant, Socorro, Luna, Catron and Hidalgo counties in a multitude of environments all located in the community at large. Individuals served all live in houses or apartments in which they hold either a lease or ownership rights.

-Lessons of Life LLC, future is bright as we have expanded service operations in the year 2014 including occupying a larger administrative office, hiring an agency director, and increasing capacity capabilities by addressing the overall internal structure of the company.

-It is the goal of Lessons of Life LLC, to continue provisions of Developmental Disabilities Waiver Services, maintain the maximum level of accreditation and to continue to grow in the area of total individuals served in hopes of reaching at least 120 individuals served by the end of 2016.

-Lessons of Life LLC, adheres to the requirements of the NM Developmental Disabilities Waiver and NM Medicaid regulations.


-FAMILY LIVING SERVICES: Twenty-four (24) hour Living Supports provided to eligible individuals with developmental disabilities in their homes or in the residence of the direct service provider. Family Living Services are provided using a non-shift staffing model in which the individual is supported as part of a family unit. The Family Living Services direct service provider shall not be the spouse of the individual served.

SUPPORTED LIVING SERVICES: Living support services provided in a single residence for four (4) or fewer individuals. Individuals in Supported Living general require up to 24 for hours of direct support per day.

-CUSTOMIZED IN-HOME SUPPORTS: Customized In-Home Supports provide individuals the opportunity to design and manage the supports needed to live in their own home or their family home. It is not a residential habilitation service and is intended for individuals that do not require the level of support provided under Living Supports services.

-COMMUNITY INCLUSION SERVICES: Support services that provide individuals with access to and participation in activities and functions of community life. Community Inclusion services consist of customized community supports group and individual and Community Integrated job coaching services.

-RESPITE: A support service to allow the primary caregiver to take a break from care giving responsibilities while maintaining adequate supervision and support to the individual during the absence of the primary caregiver.

How to Access Services:

Who should apply?

Individuals with a developmental disability may apply to the NM Developmental Disabilities Wavier. A family member, a Guardian or Authorized Representative may also apply on their behalf.

Where does an individual register?

Registration can be made at the Regional Developmental Disabilities Supports Division

(DDSD) Office by phone, or in person at the local Income Support Division Office. The individual, or their representative, must complete a registration form (MAD 325) and keep a copy of their dated receipt. This registration date is the basis for determining future allocations.

What is the application process?

Following completion of the registration form, the regional Developmental Disabilities Supports Division Eligibility Worker mails the individual a packet to complete and return along with documentation that supports a match to the definition of a developmental disability.  Once accepted to the DD Waiver an applicant is provided multiple assessments including the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) all of which assist in determining the eligibility of services and service package and individuals qualifies for.


As a provider of services of the NM DD Waiver Lessons of Life LLC, is bound by a strict Non Solicitation Policy created by the NM Department of Health. Lessons of Life, LLC is not allowed to actively approach individuals served on the NM DD Waiver in an effort to influence a decision as bound by the NM DD Waiver Freedom of Choice process.

Freedom of Choice: A participant in the NM DD Waiver may select any willing provider to furnish waiver services included in the service plan. There are two levels of freedom of choice. Primary freedom of choice means that an individual applying for waiver services is assured the opportunity to choose his/her own case manager. Secondary freedom of choice refers to the individual’s right to choose authorized service providers.

Upon the receipt of a secondary freedom of choice naming Lessons of Life LLC, the agency will accept or transition the individual served into services no within 30 days of the initial Interdisciplinary Team Meeting.

Person Centered Planning Process:

Person Centered Planning is one of the core constructs of the New Mexico DD Waiver. This encompasses what is important to a person and their desires and preferences to lead the life they prefer in their community. Core values include empowerment, self-determination, autonomy and valued social roles that result in meaningful lives, increased quality of life, contribution and ultimately inclusion.

No single tool or viewpoint should be used in isolation when embarking on the planning process. Combining person centered planning principals while using a supports needs assessment process will ensure the best outcomes. Better planning decisions are made when you have access to more information. Part of our effort to transform the waiver system was to use a valid and reliable supports needs assessment tool. The Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) is the tool that New Mexico has selected.

The SIS measures the intensity of supports a person requires to lead a good everyday life. The challenge we are now faced with is how to use the person centered planning principles in combination with the data provided by this normed instrument.

Identifying desired life experiences and goals combined with determining the intensity of support needs will yield an individual support plan tailored to a person’s specific preferences and needs.

Jen Rodriguez, Statewide Case Management Coordinator, DDSD

Additionally, Lessons of Life LLC, assures the person centered planning process is completed in all instances through attendance at all Individuals Service planning meetings and assuring that employees and contractors of direct care are trained on the process.


As individual receiving services from Lessons of Life, LLC, you have the same rights as any other citizen.   The legal rights guaranteed to all individuals under the United States Constitution, New Mexico State Constitution and federal and state laws, unless expressly modified by a court order or specifically granted to a guardian or conservator are as follows:

  • Be free from unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual preference, physical or mental disability or medical condition.
  • Be free from emotional or psychological abuse or punishment, physical or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • Practice the religion of your choice.
  • Be informed of your medical and psychological status and any benefits and/or risk of treatment.  You have the right to consent to or refuse medical treatment, medical services and other forms of habilitation services or supports.  You also have the right to refuse to participate in medical or psychological research experimentation.
  • Have both opportunities and places of privacy.  You have the right to send and receive unopened mail and to make and receive telephone calls.  You also have the right to communicate freely with people of your choice in any reasonable manner at any reasonable time you choose.
  • Participate in the political process, including the right to vote.
  • Engage in social interactions with members of either sex, to enter into contracts, including the contract to marry, to engage in the consensual sexual activity and to have or not to have children.
  • Manage your own financial affairs, as you are able, as documented in your service plan unless access to your funds is restricted by court order.
  • Be able to read or obtain copies of your records, except as limited by statute and to have confidential treatment of all information in your records, including personal and medical records.  An individual or organization that is entitled under federal or state law may have access to review your records.
  • Voice your grievances and complaints to Lessons of Life, LLC personnel and to recommend changes in Lessons of Life, LLC policies and services without restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal.  You also have the right to due process and to obtain advocacy services, including consultation and assistance on your concerns and training on legal rights.


How long will it take me to receive services?

Once you have signed a freedom of choice and forwarded to Lessons of Life LLC, services will commence within 30 days barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Once I am in service do I have stay with Lessons of Life LLC?

No. At any time you choose, you may request a change in providers through your case manager. Once we receive notification from your case manager that you would like a change in providers, we will provide transition of services within 30 days.

Who will be my direct care staff?

Direct support provider contractors. Individuals whom have been trained by a DDSD approved trainer whom meets the Direct Support Provider requirement of the NM Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Supports Division.

All direct support contractors are approved through the NM Developmental Disabilities Supports Divisions Subcontract Approval Process prior to initial contracting period.

Who will organize my services?

Services for individuals with the NM DD Waiver are implemented by individual provider agencies per notification of the independent case manager which you choose.

Who may I contact for more information on the NM DD Waiver?

The NM Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Supports Division at 575-528-5180


Lessons of Life LLC, administration:                                575-541-5505

Kami Silva, agency director                                           575-541-5505 ext. 104

Julie Russell, assistant director                                       575-541-5505 ext. 107

New Mexico Developmental Disabilities                           575-528-5180

Supports Division Southwest Region

Reporting Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation                            1-800-445-6242

NM Income Supports Division                                       1-505-827-7250

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