The Developmental Disabilities Service System Task Force is currently meeting to discuss the future of the DD System in our state. This Task force came about from legislation in 2011 (SSB 5459) which was aimed at consolidation and closure of our Intermediate Care Facilities for those with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IDs). In our state we typically refer to these centers as Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs).
The RHC is a campus community with comprehensive care for those with intellectual disabilities (ID). Our Campuses are:
Fircrest – both an RHC and Skilled Nursing Facility for those with ID in Shoreline, WA
Rainier School – RHC – Buckley
Yakima Valley School – Skilled Nursing Facility – Selah
Lakeland Village – RHC and Skilled Nursing Facility Medical Lake
In addition to closing Frances Haddon Morgan Center and forming the DD Service System Task Force, SSB 5459 passed legislation to prohibit those under 21 from accessing the needed supports and services at the RHCs. This legislation is in direct conflict with both the US DD Act and the 1999 US Supreme Court Case Olmstead which both clearly state the individual with their family/guardian can make the choice of an ICF/ID or community setting and that for many the ICF/ID may be the LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT.
By passing this legislation which is clearly age discrimination against our youth, prohibiting them from accessing life sustaining supports which are available to others when there are no other alternatives for care and support, is accepting negligence and discrimination. I cannot support this legislation and will do what I can so that our youth may be able to access the supports and services which they are entitled to by Federal Law and Supreme Court Decisions.
Next Meeting for The DD Task Force is Tuesday October 9th in Olympia.
Please write your concerns or suggestion to the DD Task Force. They need to hear the voices and concerns from those in the community settings. They need to hear that those in the community support our RHCs as the safety net, respite care and also as a resource for the future to help with the increasing demand for care for our loved ones.
I believe that the RHC can be used much more efficiently to better serve ALL people with ID. We need to find a way to share services. We do not need to consolidate and close the RHC only to increase more demand in the community settings. We have space available on the RHC campuses to grow and provide more services if our state would allow this to happen.
Right now, our state is prohibiting people with high service needs from accessing services. Our state has been in an “deinstitutionalization” mode with little regard to cost of care and then this creates more of a crisis situation. It is time to break the crisis cycle. We can do this but we need support and education. It can be done.
We have the resources, We have the expertise, We have the space – all we need is the cooperation of our legislators and DD Advocates who oppose any form of congregate care.
People deserve the right to make an educated choice about regarding care and supports for their loved ones.
Cost of Care for High Support Needs Community Residents – data from Don Clintsman, Asst. Secretary of DSHS. Please ask Mr. Clintsman about these costs – they are the direct care costs ONLY – this average is already higher than the average COMPREHENSIVE daily cost of the RHC. This is a critical issue that is not getting across to the task force. DDD presents these costs as if they are the total cost of care. This is a huge error in data presentation that needs to be questions.