I will have to keep repeating myself and trying to reach as many people as I can with the hopes that you all start to ask the same questions that I have been asking.
Given the illogical data from the Division of Developmental Disabilities which almost all the puppet DD Advocacy groups use as truth, I had to ask where the data came from. No one from The Arc (either Washington or King County), the Developmental Disabilities Council or Disability Rights Washington could answer my question with anything but “that is what DDD tells us and we don’t question them.”
Well, I do question them because their data just does not make sense. The more I look into their “research” and data, the more I see that they give extremely misleading information to base legislative policies on. They manipulate good data into nonsense. Some reports hailed as fact do not draw conclusions from the researched data but are manipulated to fit the agenda which as become truth. These reports, which could be beneficial if the conclusions actually came from the data, are in fact misleading at best. I am continually amazed at their presentations regarding their misleading data (specifics below) and the fact that many legislators rely on their information and believe they are supplying full and correct information. To question them is suspect. I know – I’m suspect. That’s okay though because it may help to open some eyes.
Looking through this blog you will find much research and many questions – none have been answered by DDD yet I have been chastised for asking and criticized for being too generalized in my accusations against DSHS and for not giving resources. See the message which Senator Adam Kline sent to me:
From: Kline, Sen. Adam [mailto:Adam.Kline@leg.wa.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:57 AM
To: Cheryl Felak
Subject: RE: DDD Budget Errors and Missing Data
Please be more specific. Your frequent accusations against DSHS are ineffective so long as you state them solely in generalities, and do not take responsibility for researching and stating the facts as you believe they should be stated. These criticisms have the effect of increasing the heat without shedding any light.
I have at least these three questions. Please answer them in sequence, and in detail.
First: What data are you referring to?
Second: As to those DSHS statements, what part(s) of it is/are inaccurate? What objective evidence do you have of the inaccuracy?
Third: For each inaccurate statement, what is the true data that should replace it? What objective evidence do you have for the replacement?
I look forward to a conversation based on information, rather than rhetoric and accusation.
It is clear that Senator Kline did not read anything that I had sent to him or maybe he didn’t understand what I sent to him. This is a shame since he has been one of the major players in creating the continued crisis for our citizens with developmental disabilities yet is hailed as a hero by the very people who he is hurting. This just does not make sense. Is everyone brainwashed?
I had spoken with Scott Livengood of Alpha Supported Living and the Legislative Advocate for Community Residential Services Association, regarding increasing wages to promote stability and sustainability in our community residential settings . I supplied Mr. Livengood with the Certified Cost Reports from the Supported Living Agencies and data regarding costs and direct care. It is obvious from Mr. Livengood’s response that he has not interest in working together to look at solutions to this critical issue.
From: Scott Livengood [mailto:Livengood@alphasls.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 1:20 PM
To: Cheryl Felak; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: RE: Cmmunity Residential Services Association
Thank you for your interest in trying to direct support to increase pay and stability for the dedicated direct support staff in community programs. It would be great to have the full advocacy community lending their voice to stabilize, if not increase, the funding for community programs, rather than continue to cut the funding for staff compensation. Why continue to target employees compensated at the lowest level in the range of residential settings?
With regard to the data you present, I wanted to make some corrections. It is important to correct these inaccurate figures since one of the reasons that we continue to face cuts is because individuals and organizations present data that has been either incorrectly calculated or misrepresented to somehow convey that community programs are more expensive, therefore being overfunded. By presenting reports that state community programs are expensive, it sends the message to legislators that we should be cut. This is part of the reason why we are in this crisis.
He also wrote:
I assume people have chosen not to respond to your repeated emails and questions because, despite any answers provided, data compiled, or the numerous reports presented by DDD and outside consultants over the years, your consistent approach is to distort and manipulate the data. You choose to do this because you feel you understand the funding mechanisms and support systems in both community supported living and the RHC’s, and it supports your position to permanently maintain RHC services. It does not seem to matter what information or data is provided to you, as you manipulate the data to communicate that community residential settings are as, if not more expensive than RHC’s. Your lack of knowledge and understanding of services and funding is glaringly apparent in one report that you posted in which you claim that the “Cost correct for Resident Acuity” is over $850 per person for the Arc of King County, while you list the RHC costs at or below $200. I fully understand that you are the parent of a person that resides within an RHC, and that you believe you are advocating for all people who experience an intellectual or developmental disability to have access to a continuum of care. However, your approach plays as one-sided, is immensely inaccurate, slants towards de-valuing community residential services, and does not support a continuum of care.
By continuing to adjust data and inflate figures, you send the message to state personnel and legislators that community services are over-funded. You consistently take this stance despite the fact that funding has been cut twice in the last three years, outside consultant reports have stated that community services are under-funded, and the Governor’s current budget proposal contains an additional reduction of over $1 per hour for community residential services. Your continued efforts on a daily basis to distort the truth and inflate the data to present community services as more expensive sends the erroneous and destructive message to decision-makers that services can be further cut. You are playing a dangerous role in your efforts and as such, I ask if you are even aware that your efforts will lead to further erosion of community services for people with developmental disabilities and will have grave and serious impacts upon those individuals who currently live independently in the community with community residential supports? You have stated that you are for a continuum of care, but your actions speak loudly that you want community services to be cut to a point that survival is not possible. I do not believe that you fully comprehend the consequences of your actions – while you advocate for the services you believe your child requires, you are simultaneously advocating to destroy those services that 4,000 other individuals with ID/DD depend upon daily.
Mr. Livengood points out one major problem – the reports and data used over and over again by DSHS – they are not complete nor accurate. I question them. I hope others start to question them too – they are not logical.
Mr Livengood is very incorrect in other assumptions that he makes in the above letter to me but it is clear to me that I hit a nerve with him – he believes I am attacking his livelyhood – far from it. I support community homes and hope to make them more stable and safe for those who need those services. I would think that the Executive Director of a Supported Living Agency would also strive for that. I have never said that community living is more expensive – I have said that for those with higher support needs, community living is more expensive for those people. This is a fact and is well documented when looking at the cost reports that each agency submits to the State.
I can say though, that from researching through all the Certified Cost Reports and visiting homes and neighborhoods, Alpha Supported Living has a higher standard, provides more services, keeps their homes in better shape than most every other agency. Alpha Supported Living provides a care for each home for resident transportation and has fundraising to pay for these services which are not provided for by the state. Alpha Supported living is an agency to be looked at as a standard to strive for.
Misleading data will be in part 2