Responding to Senator Adam Kline’s questions

After reading the  letter from Senator Adam Kline  on the previous post, I though people may also be interested in my response to him.  I am posting it below.

 

From: Cheryl Felak [mailto:cherylfelak@msn.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 11:34 AM
To: adam.kline@leg.wa.gov
Subject: RE: DDD Budget Errors and Missing Data
Dear Senator Kline,

To answer your questions – I’ll first tell you that every letter I have written and described I have attached the sources and original data.  They are listed at the bottom of every letter – so to correct you, I’m not sending out “generalitles” and I am taking responsibility for research. My issues are not rhetoric or false accusations and for someone to say that I can tell that the letters have not been read.

I have attempted to shed the light but people have only said “I’ve seen the data” to which I do not believe they have – they have seen the presentations that Don Clintsman and others from DSHS report.  Those presentations are generalities and do not give the results.

If you would like to see that data (even though I have already sent references and links in every letter  – or at least try to) you can see them all on the www.becausewecare1.com website.  If you look at the page “Questions to ask DSHS and DDD” I have put most of the documents there and will be adding more.

1.  Cost of Care data is what I’m referring to specifically.  I have the actual daily cost of care for the 30 highest costing residents that was given to me by Don Clintsmand and Mark Eliason.  This again is only the residential (kind of like rent) cost and nothing more.

2.  Cost of care.  You can take a look at the DD-EMIS Waiver data – I reference this in almost all my letters and when you look at it you will see that the cost of care that is reported is only a fraction of what is spent for waiver clients.  DDD uses this fraction of a cost to say it is what the whole cost is.

3.  I have much objective data – you can go to my website at www.becausewecare1.com and I have attempted to post it all there.  I have been writing to  DSHS and DDD administrators this past year and have gained much data.  Data that is not shared with legislators in the reports that are presented.

4.  I requested copies of the Certified Residential Programs Cost of Care reports that each agency must submit to DDD each year.  I used this objective data to come up with the cost of care for a client in a supported living agency home and what it costs that agency.  I have referenced this also in many letters and this is in the citations that I give you in the letters.

I would love to sit down with you and actually show you the charts and data to explain them.  There is so much information and it’s very confusing and I have found that many who analyze it do not even understand how the waivers work or what is included or not included in them.

I fully support a continuum of care.  I recently attended the Community Advocacy Committee meeting (to which people who support a continuum of care are not invited because one must sign a contract that basically states that you want to close the RHCS.  I can’t do that) Much of the meeting was about advocacy and had much false information regarding costs.

I brought this issue up with Lance Morehouse and Sue Elliott regarding why they report these costs and they say that they only take what DDD has given them and do not question it.  I want to see the sources and that’s why I have researched this and have seen that what DDD reports as cost of care for community living is only a fraction of the true cost.

This is what I learned from that meeting also and I don’t believe that you may have heard this from others:

The last remaining residents from Frances Hadden Morgan Center are only moved to temporary housing.  As reported by Don Clintsman, there was a smooth transition.  These people do not have homes yet.  The Washington State Housing Fund awarded Inland Empire Residential Resources $1,249,175 to build SOLAs in Kitsap (3) and King (1) counties. (http://www.commerce.wa.gov/DesktopModules/CTEDPublications/CTEDPublicationsView.aspx?tabID=0&ItemID=9621&MId=870&wversion=Staging see page 3)  Once these new SOLAs are built, these residents will move into them.  I don’t know what land they will be built on or if anyone knows that yet.  I’m hoping to find that out soon.

I learned that the vacancy rate as reported by Community Resource Services Association only means an empty room.  That room is not staffed.  I have asked Scott Livengood what the time frame would be and what it would cost to hire and train staff so that a vacant room could actually be used.  I have not received an answer.

I have toured a community ICF/DD – it has 10 rooms and is licensed for and states they do respite.  When I was there, only 4 rooms were occupied and in fact one of those rooms was for a parent to use since their census was low.  I asked about respite and was told that they don’t do that- it’s too expensive and they would have to hire staff for respite and the state does not pay enough for it, they lose money so no, they do not take respite clients.  Yet, they are listed as a respite provider.

The Quality Assurance Assessments that DDD states they do are not done. I have a multitude of emails from Janet Adams (QA Chief) and Don Clintsman saying they are not done.  I write every couple of months asking about them – still not done – no funds or time to do them. I have the actual questions and they are not objective and I would not consider them a good quality of life and quality of care assessment for our residents.  I have written to the committees that work with this issue and will continue to try to have our state adopt an objective measure and one that non-verbal people can be involved in.

Thank you for contacting me.  I hope that this answers some of your questions and helps to shed light on some of the information that I am trying to share.  These are not empty accusations but facts from objective research.  Please let me know if you would like to meet and I’d be more than happy to share more with you.

Cheryl

Stickin’ my neck out – Part 1

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

 

Ms. Felak,

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.

Adam Kline

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; chigman@gopsrs.org; melissajohnson@att.net
Cc: sue@arcwa.org; diana@arcwa.org
Subject: RE: Cmmunity Residential Services Association

 

Cheryl,

 

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:

Cheryl,

 

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

DD Service System Task Farce

So far I have learned that the task farce is not interested in facts – they refuse to look at real data or question the same recycled and inaccurate data which has been used over and over again for years – the very same data which has escalated the care crisis for our citizens with developmental disabilities.  Below are some of my observations:

  • There is no concern for escalating costs for programs which are new and untested which will serve less than 6 clients a year.
  • There is no awareness that the cost for high support needs clients in the community is much higher than the cost for a similar person in the Residential Habilitation Center (RHC).  Yes, we all know that there are many which very high support needs who live successfully in the community – but their costs are also high.  Lance Morehouse, Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator for King County Parent Coalition stated during one Task Farce meeting that his son lived at home for 17 years with the help of 19 hours a day of licensed nursing care without blinking an eye with regards to stating how he cares about all those without any services.   Am I missing something here?  How can one proudly state that they used that many service dollars (certainly much more than the daily cost for a client in the RHC) and then complain that the clients in the RHC (who gladly share services) are taking more than their fair share – doesn’t make sense to me.
  • There is no awareness that sharing services saves money
  • There is no awareness that people have a choice as to what the least restrictive environment for them is
  • There is no adherence to Olmstead with regards to choice, least restrictive environment or cost to the state.
  • It is not a concern that there is a huge lack of oversight in community residential settings
  • Even though our state has space and capability to provide services on the RHC campuses for those in community settings, the fact that it may take some” work to figure out an accounting system” seems daunting – yet on the other hand DDD has worked on building a program from the ground up with many unseen problems with a seemingly  limitless budget to service just a handful of clients.  This program will be experimental.  Is this a less costly and less labor intensive project than figuring out an accounting system?
  • Senator Adam Kline pushed his bill through the legislature based on inaccurate data and prematurely closed off services to our youth – yet he states he cares?   How can that be?

 

I realize that those in the driving seat will do whatever they want with little regard for facts or human lives at stake.  I find these actions negligent and inhumane.  Do they even care about the harm they are doing?

In order to change the name from DD Task Farce to DD Task Force, this group will have to look at accurate data.  I wonder if that will happen?

As many of you know we are in the midst of our DD Service System Task Force (or should I say Farce?)