I’ve been reviewing issues that have transpired this past legislative session and now with the new forecast of more budget cuts on the horizon, it is critical to examine what decisions we have made and the ramifications of those decisions prior to making the next step. The issues that arose with regards to SSB 5459 will again come up. It is time to look at the facts of the situation – not listen to the rhetoric that is based on misinformation. The link to The Arc of Washington Blog is a good example of how inaccurate information that is spread as fact can devastate not only people and thier lives but a whole system.
I have attempted to post a comment to that blog – I’m not sure if if will be approved even though it is stated that they encourage comments. Time will tell. Below is the comment that I have attempted to post to The Arc of Washington Blog.
Submitted to “Remarks from The Arc” August 10, 2011
I am still stunned by the passage of this bill which in reality will cause harm to many, will actually increase the overall cost of care (throughout the DSHS budget) and was led by many who were misguided with false information.
This statement from the article written by Diana Stadden, “In addition to this, over 13,600 people with developmental disabilities live at home with their families or in their local communities and have the same level of need as those in the RHCs, yet receive no services at all.” is just one example of misinformation that was perpetuated throughout the legislative sessions. The facts are very different.
According to the most recent assessment RDA Report 5.36which is reported in the publication “Assessment Findings for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Served in Residential Habilitation Centers and Community Settings” the data reflects a very different picture than the one Diana Staddon paints.
The residents’ whose home is in the ICF/DD have significantly higher needs in ALL assessed areas which are looked at in the Supports Intensity Scale than residents in both “community residential” and “other community based” homes. These assessments measure support needs in the following areas: home living activities, community living activities, lifelong learning activities, employment activities, health and safety activities, social activities, medical support needs and behavior support needs.
This same report also looks at the acuity needs and utilizes the DDD Acuity Scale which looks at the following areas for client acuity: ADL (Activities of Daily Living), Interpersonal Support, Medical Acuity, Behavior Acuity, Mobility Acuity, Protective Supervision and Seizure Activity.
Again, it is documented that the residents whose home is in the ICF/DD have significantly higher acuities in ALL areas (Seizure activity is excluded from this due to few numbers) than residents in “community residential” and “other community homes.”
With regards to the issue to the claim that there are over 13,600 people with no services at all – where is the documentation to support that? The latest report to the legislature entitled “DDD Assessment” ( JLARC Final Report 013109 DDD assessment) dated January 31, 2009 states there are 41,018 clients in the DDD service. Of this number, there are 1307 clients on the “no paid service.” There are a variety of reasons for this “no paid service” – none of the reasons have to do with the fact that there are residents who have a home in an ICF/DD.
Another issue that many in DDD do not realize or communicate is that there are a high percentage of DD clients who receive services from other programs within DSHS. The overall DSHS budget from 2009 indicates that for the DDD clients, DDD accounts for about 80% of their care and the other DSHS services (Medical, Economic, Children’s, Mental Health, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Juvenile Rehab, Vocational Rehab) account for the other 20% of care. Many of those on the “no-paid service” within DDD do receive services from another DSHS program.
Again, it is important to know the facts when one is arguing a position. In this case, the facts were not presented and decisions were based on false assumptions and misinformation.
This decision is an historic event – not for the reasons that The Arc of Washington believes but for the reason that it will cause the demise of successful, cost-effective, safe and quality care models and increase the overall cost of care. Fewer will be able to receive services due to the increased cost.
I’m very sorry to see our legislators and community members bamboozled by the rhetoric that promoted this bill. The only people who benefit are the vendors.