Please stop SSB 5459 – There is so much wrong with this bill that it will be hard to sum up in a concise and effective letter. The critical issue is to stop this now and think about what the ramifications of such drastic changes will be if this bill is passed.
- This bill is based on regurgitated false information from years past. Senator Adam Kline continues to talk about “the 1970’s” with regards to our facilities today. He is correct about the changes that needed to take place in 1970 but he’s far removed from the realities of the situation today and the recommendations from the experts of TODAY
- There are many in the community who are eligible and have requested admission to an RHC. DDD has continually denied admission. This is the only reason for a declining census in our RHCS. There needs to be a survey sent out to all in the community who are eligible to inquire about their choice. I believe you will find many who have chosen the RHC but their choice has been denied. It is time that DDD actually supported and adhered to the Olmstead decision and respected people’s civil right to have a choice in where they want to live. This is the very first thing that should be done before any or our RHCS are consolidated or closed.
- The reports that are generated by DDD are based on false information. These need to be scrutinized. I have researched the data and have found so many errors and flaws in the analysis of that data. It is incredible that these reports are continued to be passed around as “fact” without anyone in the department questioning the concerns that I have raised.
- Rather than answering my letters regarding the fact that the “key points” are not supported by the data, DDD ignores the questions; Executives from The Arc accuse me of being “abusive” for questioning these reports. As any person who has done research would know, it is expected to have people question your work. When they question you, it is an opportunity to prove your point – not to call the questioner ABUSIVE.
- DDD reports that they have a Quality Assurance program which is up to date. I will be sending a synopsis of the issues I have had in researching the QA reports that should have been done, that DDD says they do, and the lack of knowledge about where they are, if they were even done and the multitude of players involved who do not communicate or know who has what report. It’s a huge issue of “passing the buck” and nothing is getting done. This NEEDS to be addressed before anything else can move on. How can DDD say they have quality assurance when they don’t even have reports done, completed or available or even know who does them? DDD has not even complied with the requirements of The Roads to Community Living grant by completing the necessary surveys of the people who have participated. The whole grant could be in danger without DDD following through with the requirements.
- People contacted regarding QA – still no data available – these people just keep sending emails around saying the next person has the data. No one has it. Players involved in this game: (12 names which I won’t post here but sent to our House Ways and Means Committee members) You would think that one of these people would be able to give a straight answer. It’s time that DDD and the DDC are held accountable for their actions and lack thereof.
- DSHS is focusing their efforts on closing the RHCs. The RHCS are about the only safe place for our citizens with DD. The community homes which DDD so proudly talks about are a shambles – no safety or QA oversight, poorly trained staff with a high turnover, inadequate staffing levels and this is just the beginning.
- We hear about how wonderful the homes are in the community. Just this past month I have been told by family members who have a grown brother and a 17 year old son in an Alpha Supported Living home and a SL Start home respectfully that they are not allowed to bring a visitor to the house. What type of home is it in which as a sister or mother (or other family member) cannot even drop in to see their loved one or to bring a visitor to meet with them? Why would they have these policies? This is certainly not a home in which I would place my loved one. At the RHC, I can visit whenever I want, I don’t have to pre-arrange a visit, I can bring whoever I want to visit with my son. There are no restrictions on my visitation with my own son.
- Rather than embarking on projects that are experimental and also on successful programs with people who are happy with those programs, it is time for DSHS and DDD to fix and bring up to standard the issues in the community. This is where the energy and money needs to go. These advocates talk about how they support those in the community yet their actions are contrary to that. The problems with abuse, lack of oversight, lack of trained caregivers, and lack of services in the community will only be compounded by passing SSB 5459.
Please for the sake of not only our most vulnerable citizens who are safe and healthy in their current homes but also for all those in the community who will be hurt even more by the changes that this bill support, DO NOT PASS SSB 5459.