Developmental Disabilities – Reality vs. agenda?
It seems that every year communities for our citizens with developmental disabilities are targeted for closure. What is most shameful about this phenomenon is that these moves are promoted and encouraged by the very agencies and prominent advocacy agencies that are set up to protect these citizens. Due to the monopoly and agendas pushed by these agencies, these moves are promoted as “cost savings” and community building.
Nothing could be further from the truth – the problem is that not only are these citizens who can not make their voices heard ignored but their advocates who can speak for them are shunned, banished and censored from public meetings, blogs, websites and stakeholder meetings.
What is particularly shameful in this budget crisis is that they are still going ahead with these planned closures. Not only are they being totally irresponsible with public funds but they are hurting innocent people. It’s time to say “The Emperor isn’t Wearing any Clothes” and stop this charade before more lives are destroyed and lost.
I am outraged by this treatment. I have written to every Washington State Senator and Representative with my concerns. I have written to administrators in DSHS and DDD asking for clarification with assessments, quality assurance and care needs. My concerns go unanswered.
Following is my letter to my Senator – hopefully someone will notice the tragedy that is going to happen before it’s too late. Please help care for our most vulnerable citizens.
I am writing to you as a constituent, a very concerned citizen and parent of a child who resides at Fircrest. I am outraged by the mis-information that some of the more prominent advocacy groups are stating as fact. These groups are great advocates for those who are able to speak and learn to advocate for themselves but when it comes to caring for those who are unable to speak or to have their own voice heard, these groups and the Developmental Disabilities Council shun these citizens. The inhumane treatment that these groups are doing to these citizens is exactly what they are stating was done to them. One would think that they would have more compassion and knowledge about our most vulnerable citizens.
Not only in regards to advocacy but also in regards to the quality assurance issues – there are many untruths being published as facts. Do you know that in the only published survey having to do with Quality Assurance for our citizens that have moved out of an RHC, only 66% of them have had their voices heard? The 34% who were unable to answer or participate in the survey have been totally ignored by DSHS and DDC. DSHS doesn’t even state that this 34% is not included but writes the report as if the 66% is 100% of the population. Doesn’t the safety, health and well-being of these vulnerable 34% matter to anyone?
Do you know that our grassroots advocacy groups are energetic, innovative and creative with solutions to some of the most critical issues? Most likely not because our voices are also banished from public discussions, websites, blogs – venues that are supposed to be there for public knowledge. Many of these are funded by our federal and state dollars but they are monopolized by a few people with their own ideology. Many of our writings of concern and questions are ignored and not shared.
I questioned Ed Holen, the executive director of our states Developmental Disability Council as to why I couldn’t comment on the WAbilities blog (the DDC blog) His response to me was that they had decided to have “the blog under some editorial supervision because there is a lot of mis-information in the DD community which would not be helpful. We hope to provide/publish information people can trust.” Yes, my information would not be helpful because I question some of their tactics and information. This is what people need to know though.
Even though the DDC is looking for members and wanted to actively recruit a member somehow connected to and RHC, my application was denied. Why? I don’t know because I am qualified, passionate and deeply care about our citizens. I am a healthcare professional with years of experience but yet I was not interviewed and sent a letter stating that I had not been selected. Yet, the DDC is still searching for members? Why was I not even invited for an interview? My only answer would be because I have questions about their agenda.
I have questioned several of the recent studies (flawed methodology and key points not substantiated by data) by DSHS, have questioned DDC regarding the Federally mandated surveys that were to be done for the clients who have moved using The Roads to Community Living Grant (not analyzed or published yet but there have been people on the grant for several years now) and other issues that have not been done according to law. The answers that I have received from not only administrators in DSHS but also DDC are answers that “pass the buck”, they are not done, we didn’t have the time, due to budget cuts they weren’t followed up with, etc. Yet even with those excuses, DSHS thinks they are doing their job. How do they know?
I have researched several assessments for acuities, needs and costs of care. What you are being told by DSHS, some advocacy groups and DDC is false. It will not save money to move close our RHCs. This will only open up a much larger can of worms and for the sake of ALL our community, I ask that you help stop this charade before it is too late. We, as a society can not afford the disaster that is on the brink of happening.