Who really is accountable?

Recently I have been involved in advocating for a young woman to have admission to the Intermediate Care Facility (ICF).  She was on a respite stay at an ICF recently due to an issue in the private home she had been living in – one to which she could not return.  During this respite stay she requested admission to the ICF near her home and family. Admission was “denied” and her guardian was told if she stayed in the ICF for 90 days, she would be eligible for the Roads to Community Living grant and could find a home in a supported living arrangement.

The young woman went home with her mother for transition to supported living.  The problem was that there were no supported living homes available.  Only one agency thought they could accommodate this young woman’s needs and promised much more than they could deliver.  During this “transition” time, one “promise” after another was broken – from issues of roommates, to appropriate room (it was suggested that the bed set so it was partially in the closet – the only arrangement in which a bed would fit in the room), to unsanitary conditions which could lead to health problems for the residents, to no staff able to take this woman out to her frequent community outings.  This obviously was not a safe placement  – yet it was the only one available.

It was at this point that I ran into this young woman at the grocery store  –  what a coincidence!

In the telling of the story, I asked her guardian about the Planned Action Notice, the required written documentation of decisions made by the Developmental Disabilities Administration – the  first step in asking for an appeal.  Without this written notice, an appeal cannot be initiated.  NO written denial had ever been sent – did the Admission Review Team really meet and did they really deny admission?

The guardian requested a copy of the written documentation (which would have been sent 2 months previously) It did not materialize but what did happen was the guardian received several harassing, abusive and threatening emails from the young woman’s DDA Case Manager.  I am not surprised that the documentation was not there but I was surprised by the written threats and harassment the guardian received.

This scenario is a scenario that many advocates are aware of.  The abuse of the rights of our vulnerable citizens.  Decisions are made without going through the legal process and therefore there is no written documentation of the requests for admissions to the ICF.  We hear that no one is denied and we know this is not true.  The reason that the “official” record says that no one is denied is because these decisions are made in secret, are not documented, the decision is not written down, a Planned Action Notice is not sent and the person has no opportunity to appeal.

 

This is unlawful and violates the legal rights of many of our loved ones.  When will this practice be uncovered and when will the department be accountable for not following their policies and the laws of Washington State, let alone the Federal Government?