Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the process by which service providers are authorized to become providers of services and supports for the people with developmental disabilities and their families who are served by a regional center. This document has been adapted from content published by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to be more specific as to the HRC process.
The original source document can be found at: https://www.dds.ca.gov/rc/vendor-provider/vendorization-process/vendorization-rates-frequently-asked-questions/
Q:1. What is vendorization and what is its purpose?
A:Vendorization is the process for identification, selection, and utilization of service providers based on the qualifications and other requirements necessary in order to provide services to consumers. The vendorization process allows regional centers to verify, prior to the provision of services to consumers, that an applicant meets all of the requirements and standards specified in regulations. Applicants who meet the specified requirements and standards are assigned a unique vendor identification number and service code.
Q:2. Are service providers vendored by DDS or regional centers?
A:DDS does not vendor service providers. Service providers are vendored by the regional center in whose catchment area the service is located, known as the vendoring regional center. Although vendors are prohibited from being vendored by more than one regional center, a vendored service provider may be utilized by non-vendoring regional centers, known as “user” or “utilizing” regional centers, as well as the vendoring regional center. The vendor identification number assigned by the vendoring regional center must be used by all regional centers purchasing the vendored service (Title 17, Sections 54326(a)(14) and 54340(a)).
Q:3. What are the different roles of the Department and regional centers in vendoring service providers?
A:The vendoring regional center is responsible for ensuring that the applicant meets licensing and Title 17 requirements for vendorization, determining the appropriate vendor category for the service to be provided, and approving or disapproving vendorization based upon their review of the documentation submitted by the applicant. Although not involved in the vendorization process, the Department does establish rates for community-based day programs and respite agencies after completion of vendorization.
Q:4. What documentation do I need to submit to the regional center when requesting vendorization?
A:In addition to a Vendor Application (Form DS 1890), and the Applicant/Vendor Disclosure Statement (Form DS 1891), applicants must submit the documentation specified in Title 17, Section 54310. Contact your local regional center for a vendorization package.
Q:5. If I meet all of the requirements, must a regional center vendor me?
A:A regional center must vendor an applicant who meets all the requirements for the service to be provided if the service is to be provided in that regional center’s catchment area. While a program cannot be denied vendorization due to a perceived lack of need for the service by the vendoring regional center, vendorization in no way obligates that regional center to purchase service from that vendor. (Title 17, Section 54320)
Q:6. How long might the vendorization process take?
A:Once a potential service provider has obtained all necessary licenses, submitted a complete application and all necessary documentation to the vendoring regional center, the regional center has 45 days to approve or disapprove vendorization. (Title 17, Sections 54320, 54322, 54380)
Q:7. Do I have to be vendored by each regional center that uses my service?
A:No. You must be vendored by the regional center in whose catchment area you are located only. Once vendored, any regional center may refer consumers to that program.
Q:8. How can I determine in which regional center’s catchment area my program/service is located?
A:Location for site-based programs is determined based upon the address of the program site. For programs which are conducted solely in the community, location is determined based upon the vendor’s business address. (Title 17, Section 54340)
Q:9. Does my program have to be licensed?
A:Most site-based programs have to be licensed by the Departments of Social Services or Health Services (Title 17, Sections 54342, 56740, 56760(a)(1)).
Q:10. Where do I find Day Care & Residential Facility licensing requirements?
A:Department of Social Services’ licensing requirements may be found in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations. For Department of Public Health licensing requirements, call 916-445-2070.
Q:11. What are community-based day programs?
A:Community-based day programs are programs which provide services to individuals on less than a 24-hour basis in the community. Per regulations, only activity centers, adult development centers, behavior management programs, independent living programs, infant development programs, and social recreation programs are community-based day programs. Requirements for community-based day programs are discussed in Title 17, Sections 56710 through 56774.
Q:12. What are miscellaneous services?
A:Miscellaneous services are goods or services which are not similar to any of the descriptions of goods or services specified in regulations. A new miscellaneous service code must be requested by the regional center and approved by the Department prior to vendorization of that service. Once a miscellaneous service code has been established for a specific good or service, that service code may be utilized by any regional center if required to meet consumer(s) needs. (Title 17, Section 54356)
Q:13. What is the importance of a vendor number or a service code?
A:The vendor number provides an identification number unique to each vendor. The service code identifies the type(s) of service provided by that vendor. The vendor number and service code are assigned for the purpose of identifying providers of a specific type(s) of service and allowing tracking of expenditures by vendor and/or service type.
Q:14. Are regional centers restricted to purchasing services from vendored service providers only? Are there exceptions?
A:Yes. Regional centers are prohibited from referring any consumer to an applicant until the vendor application is approved and cannot reimburse a vendor for services provided before vendorization. However, if the regional center determines that the health or safety of a consumer is in jeopardy, and no current vendor is available to provide the needed service, the regional center may approve emergency vendorization. (Title 17, Sections 50612, 54324, 54326(c)(4))
Q:15. What is emergency vendorization?
A:Emergency vendorization allows a regional center to approve vendorization of an applicant prior to completion of the vendorization process if the regional center determines that the health or safety of a consumer is in jeopardy and no current vendor is available to provide the needed service. If emergency vendorization is approved, the applicant may provide services for no more than 45 days, after which the emergency vendorization will lapse if the regional center does not approve vendorization within 45 days of the initial authorization. If a lapse of emergency vendorization occurs, the vendor will not be allowed to reapply for emergency vendorization. (Title 17, Section 54324)
Q:16. If I move my program within the same regional center catchment area, what must I do?
A:You must notify the vendoring regional center, in writing, at least 30 days prior to the change in location. Keep in mind that the new location must be licensed before being used, so this must be figured into your timeframes. (Title 17, Section 54330)
Q:17. If I move my program into a new regional center catchment area, what must I do?
A:You must notify the current vendoring regional center, in writing, at least 30 days prior to the change in location. Keep in mind that the new location must be licensed before being used, so this must be figured into your timeframes. You must contact the new regional center in whose catchment area you will be moving to begin the vendorization process for a new vendor. (Title 17, Sections 54310, 54330)
Q:18. Can State employees or regional center employees be vendored to provide services to regional center consumers?
A:Officers or employees of the State of California and regional center employees generally may not be vendored to provide services to consumers. Some exceptions may apply. Please contact DDS directly at 916-654-2300 for additional information. (Title 17, Sections 54314, 54500, 54505, 54510, 54511, 54512, 54520, 54521, 54522, 54523, 54524, 54525)
Q:19. If I open a new/additional location(s), do I have to submit a new vendor application and request a new rate for the new program(s)?
A:Yes. Each location must be separately licensed and vendored and a new rate must be established for the new/additional location(s). (Title 17, Sections 54340 (a)(1)(A), 54302, 54306, 54308, 54310, 54312, 54314, 54316, 54318, 54319, 54320, 54322, 54324, 54326, 54327, 54327.1, 54327.2, 54330, 54332)
Q:20. Can I contract out for some of my direct care services?
A:Yes, you may under certain circumstances. Any consultants, subcontractors or community resources must be identified on the vendor application submitted to the vendoring regional center. Subcontracting is allowed where the unique needs of a consumer can only be met by a licensed professional not available on program staff, and must be approved by the regional center. (Title 17, Sections 54310, 56710, 56756, 56772, 58524)
Q:21. What appeal rights do I have?
A:A service provider may appeal the denial of vendorization by a regional center, and perceived non-compliance with the vendorization regulations by regional centers, or the setting of a rate by the Department. There are also appeal provisions for audits. It is probably best to refer to regulations for the specifics of each type of appeal. (Title 17, Sections: Vendorization appeals, 54380, 54382, 54384, 54386, 54388, 54390; Rate appeals, 57940, 57941, 57942, 57944, 57946, 57948; Audit appeals, 50730, 50731, 50732, 50750 50751, 50752, 50753, 50754, 50755)