I was surprised to see California classified as a “state-dictated provider” in Ann Whitney Breihan's article, “Who Chooses Service Providers? The Spread of Consumer Choice, 1992–2004” in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Vol. 45, No. 6, pp. 365–372). In fact, for at least the last 30 years, California has been a “restricted individual choice” state, as that term is defined by Breihan.
Under California law, an individual program plan (IPP) is completed for each eligible child or adult, and then services are obtained in the most cost-effective manner for documented needs, either through generic sources or using a list of paid providers who have met applicable requirements and are assigned a vendor number in the state's computer system. New providers can be added with relative ease by the state's 21 regional centers. Although individual cases may sometimes require mediation, at no time has California dictated an approved provider for each person receiving services and supports.
Author: Richard W. Jacobs, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org), Executive Director, Valley Mountain Regional Center, Inc., 702 North Aurora St., Stockton, CA 95202