Thursday, January 14, 2016

What is the Joint Committee Missing?

Granted, there are exceptions, however; the Joint Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee seems to allow the Department of Health to force feed them; twisting words and statistics in order to legitimize its agenda. So what is the committee missing?

1.  The Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead does not require states to close state run facilities for the developmentally disabled. It is not, as a Dept. of Health analyst put it, "A decision for nationwide deinstitutionalization." Olmstead has been misinterpreted and the committee members, having been told such, should look at the decision themselves rather than accept what a policy analyst tells them. It has become abundantly clear that the Department has an agenda which includes phasing out the state's only ICF/IID.

2.  The Department is willing to risk an IMD designation and lose the ICF/IID licensure because the Director's plan is to phase out the ICF/IID. While members of the committee believe the plan is to keep a minimum number of beds for individuals with profound disabilities as a " safety net," the Director's plan appears to turn the facility into an annex of our State Hospital, which is an IMD. 

3.  The Department has suggested removing choice from the statutes in an effort to keep guardians from choosing the ICF/IID for their wards even if the placement would be the most appropriate, most integrated, and least restrictive environment as required by the Olmstead decision. The Department has contended that there are, in fact, individuals currently being served at the Life Resource Center who should have been transitioned to community programs but guardians objected; putting unnecessary financial burdens on our state. 

4.  The Department has also suggested taking the Interdisciplinary Team out of the process in applying for admission and making the Department the only assessor of appropriateness. Although guardians are part of the team, they cannot simply override the rest of the team when making a determination. Currently, the team is comprised of professionals experienced with developmental disabilities, (WLRC staff), as well as representatives from the Department. 

5.  The Facilities Task Force recommended placing all of the state's facilities on an enterprise funding model and assessing the true cost of each to the state. In response to questions regarding WLRC's revenue, the Dept. of Health has stated those figures are unavailable to saying now they have those figures but never once producing them. In regards to other facilities, the Dept. has gone from saying how costly they are to now saying the Retirement Center and Veterans' Home are self-sufficient. 

6.  While the Dept. and the LHSS Committee have called the current residents at WLRC the "legacy population," and deemed them safe from forced transitions; the Dept. has systematically destroyed the very aspects of the center which made it one of the best in the nation. That, coupled with Director Forslund's statement that he will proceed with his plans whether or not the new buildings are funded, it is even more clear he is determined to make the Life Resource Center a facility for those with psychiatric diagnoses to the detriment of the profoundly disabled individuals who would otherwise be served at the WLRC. 

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At January 22, 2016 at 8:18 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Spot on Shawn--As always!!


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