HCBS.org was developed and maintained by staff at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work from 2000-2012. For over thirteen years HCBS.org has helped promote the development and expansion of home and community-based services by gathering and making available resources and tools for research, policy making and program development. Over time, the funders have changed but the goal of actively sharing information has remained the same.
At its inception in 1999, HCBS.org was part of the HCBS Resource Network funded by The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and The Centers for Medicare and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), through a contract that CMS had with MEDSTAT, to provide seminal research to help states expand their commitment to home and community-based services and meet the demands of the Olmstead Supreme Court decision.
In 2001, when the Real Choice Systems Change (RCSC) grants were awarded, HCBS.org became a part of the Community Living Exchange Collaborative (The Exchange), a joint effort of ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization) and Rutgers Center for State Health Policy (CSHP); the website was staffed by Boston College. Under RCSC, came opportunity for HCBS.org to increase functionality and evolve from a simplistic website into a complex clearinghouse with a database to house all technical assistance reports and grantee resources. Other improvements to the site were initiated by users such, as the myLibrary feature and the Theme Pages. Due to federal policy changes, funding for HCBS.org from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ended in 2008.
At this turning point, HCBS.org conducted a six month evaluation with a sustainability committee-a partnership with federal government staff, service agencies, national organizations, technical assistance providers, and current HCBS.org website contributors and users. Together, the group gathered background information and data needed to understand the site's present capabilities, and to inform future decisions about the site's operation and sustainability. These data confirmed the inherent value of the HCBS.org Clearinghouse, and expanded the understanding of how state policy makers and planners use the technology of the website to learn about and replicate best practices and share resources and ideas without having to duplicate efforts.
The result of this committee was two-fold. First, in 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded Boston College a bridge grant to find a way to keep HCBS.org resources available. Second, the grant allowed time for the team to develop a new funding strategy and in June 2009, the website was supported by a Corporate Sponsorship Program. HCBS.org is grateful to our multiple year partner organizations Public Partnership, LLC, Arbitre Consulting, Inc. and NCB Capital. The National Center for Participant-Directed Services (www.NRCPDS.org) at Boston College remained committed to keeping HCBS.org as the premier clearinghouse but realized a more stable funding base needed to be established. In 2012, a conversation was started with an organization with equal commitment to enhancing home and community based services. ADvancing States was not only interested in providing access to information, tools and data but also has the ability to expand access to valuable state-produced resources while preserving the valuable resources inside the Clearinghouse. In May 2012, Boston College licensed HCBS.org to ADvancing States who will continue to run the Clearinghouse. This exciting news was announced at the 2012 National HCBS Conference in Washington DC.