The Policy Report that Susanna Frame refers to as “scientific research” is not scientific research but a literature review looking at one aspect of life. The Policy Brief she shares is not a scientific research and the authors note that for those with severe intellectual disabilities with complex support needs there has been a huge gap in the research.
Promoting choice and person centered supports comes with an added responsibility to ensure that individuals and families are given the opportunity to have accurate information about the many complexities involved with their care.
While the deinstitutionalization movement started with great intentions – this movement has gotten out of hand without a grip on the reality of the situation.
Wolf Wolfensberger (1934-2011) was instrumental in the formulation of the concept of personal value and meaningful integration and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.
“Wolfensberger (2003) has indicated that the advent of the ideologies of radical individualism coupled with radical self-determination and the derivative constructs of ‘choice’, self-advocacy and empowerment has resulted in many people with ID being turned loose without any, or without sufficient, supports, guidance, tutelage or outright controls. Wolfensberger singles out for particular criticism the kind of assertiveness training promoted by People First and other collective advocacy groups. “(Jackson, 2011)
There are several groups that are supported by public funds that partake in this radical advocacy movement. They refuse to collaborate with others who are more holistic, take a strident tone and alienate those who may question their tactics or ideology. The Arc, SAW (Self-Advocates Washington), SAIL (Self Advocates in Leadership), Parent to Parent, Washington State Parent Coalitions for Developmental Disabilities are several of these organizations which have become wedded to this radical agenda of black/white choices.
These groups are working with for-profit vendors to polarize advocates to “community” or “institutionalization” to the complete exclusion of true choice and alternatives. The politicization of the research agenda which is dictated by external bodies is doing our citizens a great disservice.
This so-called “investigation” by Susannah Frame from King 5 plays right into this agenda. It has been clear from the start of the biases and lack of research and facts. The complexities of the issues have not been addressed nor has there been any information given as to why advocates may not agree with the “choice” that they are told is the “right” choice. Many question the credibility and ethics of the authors of the reports and the so-called “scientific” research.
While it seems that community cost is less by the limited data that is provided, it is not really about cost – nor is it really about choice – it is about something else – it’s about an ideology that is going to lead to disaster if no one is allowed to question it.
Paradoxically, instead of being genuinely enabling, empowering and liberalizing, ideology is being deployed to support policies which benefit the for-profit vendors. This is big business and many community vendors are making a large profit from the care of vulnerable people.
Scott Livengood, CEO of Alpha Supported Living, would be able to tell you that his company cannot accommodate many residents with the high support needs of Yusuf – the young man portrayed in the recent segment.
Alpha Supported Living does a great job of supporting Yusef and others but some of these agencies are not so well staffed or managed well. Records indicate that Yusef’s daily personal care comes to about $370.00 a day – yes that is less expensive than the daily care rate at the RHC but what is missing from this information is the cost of all the other aspects of care – food, shelter, health care, transportation – just to highlight a few costs that can add up rather quickly.
Any Supported Living Provider will say that they cannot afford to care for people with this level of care with the low rate of reimbursement that they receive from our state. The funding for this care comes from the Home and Community Based Service Waiver (HCBS) and each state has a different program for funding.
While it has been stated that Washington is decades behind – the facts show otherwise. There are 12 states that do not have any large State-Operated ICFs but that does not mean that they do no not have private ICFs or nursing homes or utilize those services from an ICF in another state. In order to move people from the ICF to a dispersed community setting, it would be critical to know what the resources are in the community and if there is funding available to provide the specialized services and to sustain them.
The chart below has data taken from The State of the States (the same resource that Susannah Frame used for her information). One can see that every state has some residents in an ICF/ID or nursing home. It is also important to note the HCBS per capita spending for those who live in dispersed community settings. The states with fewer people in larger facilities spend much more per capita on the HCBS waivers.
Washington, with a HCBS cost of $87.00 is below the national average of $129.00. Those states with no large state-operated facilities spend an average of $175.00 per capita on HCBS waivers. This care also comes with a cost. It needs to be noted that the HCBS costs do not include cost of living expenses such as rent, food, medical care which are all included in the ICF/ID costs.
If this was all about cost we would not be having these discussions.
Data taken from “The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities” Fiscal Year 2013 and Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Home and Community Based Spending FY 2013
Graph sorted by percent of ID residents in /ID and Nursing Facilities
Graph sorted by State spending on HCBS waivers FY 2013
King 5 “Last of the Institutions” Part 4
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