We need to learn from Prisons and Privatization

Reading the Op-Ed piece in The New York Times , it brought to light some of the issues which we face in caring for our citizens with Intellectual Disabilities.  We need to look at this and realize that privatization of care does not mean better quality, better stability or more sustainable.  It really means profits for the agencies.

Caring for our most vulnerable citizens is the responsibility of us all – that means that it is the state’s and government’s responsibility.  This can not be “outsourced” to others.  (I have to say I am not an economist – this is only my opinion)  I see this from looking at the non profits and financial statements which manage supported living homes and also looking at the staff turnover rates and pay scales for the caregiving staff.  What I see are big profits for the agencies and high CEO salaries with staffing turnover rates up to 45% in the non-profit sector of supported living homes.

On the contrary, the SOLAs (State Operated Living Alternatives) have a staffing turnover rate of 11-17% ( see graph ).  The state operated facility offers more stability and sustainability and therefore is inherently more safe for the client.

“But the main answer, surely, is to follow the money. Never mind what privatization does or doesn’t do to state budgets; think instead of what it does for both the campaign coffers and the personal finances of politicians and their friends. As more and more government functions get privatized, states become pay-to-play paradises, in which both political contributions and contracts for friends and relatives become a quid pro quo for getting government business. Are the corporations capturing the politicians, or the politicians capturing the corporations? Does it matter?”  (Paul Krugman)

 

The above quote scares me.  Is this what happened in 2011 in our state with the passage of SSB5459?  One will never know but SSB 5459 was certainly not a bill which looked to protect our vulnerable citizens – it was a bill to put money in the pockets of the vendors.