Write to your Washington State Legislators and the leaders of both chambers:
Senator Sharon Nelson, Senator Mark Schoesler, Representative Dan Kristiansen and Speaker Frank Chopp – remind them of the need for a continuum of care and remove these sections from the budget.
Dear Speaker Chopp,
I am a constituent and am writing to you with some concerns regarding ESSB 5048 – particularly Section 205 – Part 1 (K), Part 2 (C) and Section 206 Part 18. I am also a registered nurse specializing in the care of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and a parent of a young man who recently transitioned from Fircrest to supported living in the community.
These sections state that appropriated funds will be “provided solely for transitioning clients from Fircrest school residential habilitation center into community settings.” The clients from both the nursing facility and the intermediate care facility would be forced to move and it appears that this is a step towards closing Fircrest.
There are many concerns raised regarding attempts to close or downsize Fircrest through a budget proviso. It is written in law (Olmstead v L.C. 1999) and supported by CMS regulations that a person has a choice to live in an intermediate care facility. In addressing the issue of changing care from an institutional placement to a community placement, there is a three part test to determine if community placement is appropriate:
- The State’s treatment professionals have determined that community placement is appropriate
- The transfer is not opposed by the affected individual and/or guardian
- The placement can be reasonable accommodated by the resources available to the State
If the above points are satisfied, then it is appropriate to have people move but I know that they are not met for the majority of the residents who live at Fircrest or other RHCs in our state.
It is important to address the crisis we have with community care before taking steps which would only increase the risk of harm to some of our most vulnerable citizens.
It is critical to keep our RHC communities open to best serve the diverse population of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.