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(6.9) If a regional center will pay for services, must it always use the least costly service provider?

(6.9) If a regional center will pay for services, must it always use the least costly service provider?

When selecting a provider, the Lanterman Act says the IPP team must consider:

  • The provider’s ability to deliver quality services and meet the IPP objectives, and
  • The cost of providing services or supports of comparable quality by different providers.[1]Section 4648(a)(6).

The law says regional centers must use the least costly available provider, with transportation costs, who can fulfill your child’s IPP needs. However, the least costly provider must be able to meet any particular needs described in the IPP. But, if there is a less costly provider, your child won’t have to change to that provider if it would cause a more restrictive or less integrated setting.[2]Section 4648(a)(6)(D). Service providers that receive federal money to provide services may be less costly than those that do not. Regional centers must also consider this when selecting a provider.[3]Section 4648(a)(6)(D).

If your child’s regional center wants to change to the least costly provider, it must either hold an IPP meeting and you agree with the change or give you a written notice of the proposed change.[4]Section 4646.4(h). If they want to reduce, stop, or change service in your child’s IPP, they must give you a 30-day notice first.[5]Section 4710(a).

Finally, regional centers cannot purchase experimental treatments or therapeutic services or devices not clinically or scientifically proven effective or safe, or where risks and problems are unknown. Experimental treatments or therapeutic services include experimental medical or nutritional therapy when the use of the product for that purpose is not a general physician practice.[6]Section 4648(a)(16).

1 Section 4648(a)(6).
2 Section 4648(a)(6)(D).
3 Section 4648(a)(6)(D).
4 Section 4646.4(h).
5 Section 4710(a).
6 Section 4648(a)(16).