Deny and Defend

We are all aware that our society is driven to lawsuits  but why is this?  I’m sure there are many theories out there but my theory is that the continual denial of any wrongdoing (by total mistake, ignorance or malice) and the inability to say “I’m sorry”, “you’re right, I made a mistake, how can we fix this?” or any acceptance of responsibility leads to anger and frustration on the part of the parties harmed which then leads them to the court – the last resort for some sense of reality check on what really happened.

What a waste of time, talent and money – money that could be used for good if only people (agencies) could accept responsibility and be accountable.

Working in Labor and Delivery for many, many years, knowing that at any moment a disaster could happen which would change the lives of the family, I saw every birth as a miracle – for many reasons.  Knowing that one moment in time a disaster could happen which was no fault of anyone but just happened in the birth process, I was amazed that any child came out alive (or mother for that matter.)  Yet, Obstetrics is one of the highest areas of litigation and also has some of the highest rates for malpractice insurance.  Yes, there is malpractice but not every thing that goes wrong is caused by malpractice or misjudgment on the part of the healthcare providers.  Things just happen.

In recent years I have been the involved in several situations in which I was told “you should sue” but I don’t want to sue just because I could.  I wrote letters to those involved and received apologies, acceptance of responsibility, strategies to improve and re-train the healthcare staff in appropriate practices and documentation.  That’s all I wanted – I just didn’t want others to experience the same things that we experienced when they could be fixed.  Why sue when people accept responsibility and make efforts to improve?

I am writing this post because I recently submitted an inquiry on the Washington State Auditor’s Citizen Hotline.  This past year the Washington State Auditor did a so-called audit on the Developmental Disabilities Administration.  This audit (DD Audit) was riddled with inaccurate and incomplete data and opinions yet was treated as “fact” in recent legislation.  It is shameful that this document was used in our legislative process for decision making.  Many of us attempted to point out the glaring errors in the DD Audit but apparently it is assumed the State Auditor has the facts and there is no need to question reports that are generated.  Interesting to note though is that our state paid over $400,000 for a local company which also subcontracted to an out-of-state entity, well known across the country, to be biased in assessing needed supports for our most vulnerable.

In submitting an online Citizen’s Hotline referral, I was hoping there may be some new insight into this issue and I may receive some sort of response which acknowledged the glaring errors.  I was so wrong.

I have attached the response letter that I received.  It is a great example of the “deny and defend” policy.  I now understood why people are driven to sue – I was more than angry – giving the Auditor an opportunity to accept responsibility and look at the errors and admit there were mistakes only lead to more denial.  The people in the auditor’s office cannot even see the facts or respond to questions that were asked.

I am more than disappointed with this – I am ashamed that we allow our government to treat us this way and am ashamed that those in our government cannot accept responsibility that they are given.

Deny and Defend policy hurts us all.  The medical field is learning this and is trying to change it’s ways.  By being honest and trying to promptly disclose medical errors and offering earnest apologies together with fair compensation, the medical community is hoping to restore integrity.  The hope is this will dilute the anger that is built up in those wronged by continually being told inaccurate and incomplete information which will in turn reduce lawsuits.

I would hope our government agencies take notice of this too.

Auditor response to citizen complaint

 

 

 

What is a continuum of care?

A continuum of care is a model which strives to serve the needs and supports of the people – this is a holistic approach, respecting and honoring the person and their choices.  In my mind, this is the logical and just model but it is a continual fight to try to educate and enlighten others to the benefits to ALL by providing a continuum of care.  Supporting a continuum of care does not deny people the needed supports and services nor does it coerce or threaten people to make choices which would endanger their safety and lives.

Researching issues with the recent audit by Washington State Auditor of the Developmental Disabilities Service System, I learned of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  The North American Industry Classification System was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of statistical data describing the U.S. economy.

I found something very interesting which actually describes a continuum of care very well:

Sector 62 — Health Care and Social Assistance

The Sector as a Whole

The Health Care and Social Assistance sector comprises establishments providing health care and social assistance for individuals. The sector includes both health care and social assistance because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the boundaries of these two activities. The industries in this sector are arranged on a continuum starting with those establishments providing medical care exclusively, continuing with those providing health care and social assistance, and finally finishing with those providing only social assistance. The services provided by establishments in this sector are delivered by trained professionals. All industries in the sector share this commonality of process, namely, labor inputs of health practitioners or social workers with the requisite expertise. Many of the industries in the sector are defined based on the educational degree held by the practitioners included in the industry.

Below are some examples of what are included in this category – it’s odd that the auditors did not include any of these in their recommendations –

62   Health Care and Social Assistance

621   Ambulatory Health Care Services

6211   Offices of Physicians

6212   Offices of Dentists

6213   Offices of Other Health Practitioners

62133   Offices of Mental Health Practitioners (except Physicians)T

62134   Offices of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists, and Audiologists

62139   Offices of All Other Health Practitioners

6214   Outpatient Care Centers

6215   Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories

6216   Home Health Care Services

6219   Other Ambulatory Health Care Services

622   Hospitals

6221   General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

6222   Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals

6223   Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals

623   Nursing and Residential Care Facilities

6231   Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)T

6232   Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities

6233   Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly

6239   Other Residential Care Facilities

624   Social Assistance

6241   Individual and Family Services

62412   Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities

6242   Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services

6243   Vocational Rehabilitation Services

 

The organizations which did the audit and wrote recommendations did not consult with the professionals in the field, nor are they themselves experts in the fields listed above.  BERK & Associates (523930 – Investment Advice) and Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) (541720 –  Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities) only looked at one part of the continuum and tried to fit all people into that section.

For being researchers, HSRI really misunderstands people and the supports and services they may need to keep people healthy and safe.

It is shameful that HSRI is recommending changes in a service system which they clearly are not experts in and clearly do not understand the impacts their recommendations will make to not only the people who utilize those supports and services, but the community as a whole.

Below is a list of the areas of expertise of the BERK & Assoc. and HSRI contracted people for this audit:  Where are the healthcare professionals on this panel?

 

M.A. – Public policy

B.S. – Finance

MBA – Business Administration

B.A. – Politics

M.A. – Urban Design

B.A – Art History

M.A. – Urban and Regional Planning

B.A. – Geography

B.S. – Mathematics and Economics

M.A. – Urban and Regional Planning

B.A. – Sociology

Ph.D. – Special Education and Rehabilitation

M.A. – Psychology

B.A. – Political Science

M.A. – Public Policy Administration

B.A. – Business Administration and Management

B.A. – Special Education

M.S. – Public Policy and Administration

B.A. – Management of Human Services

B.A. – Psychology

M.A. -Public and Non-Profit Management

B.A. – International Relations

MSW – Social Work

B.A. Health Care Management

M.A. – Administration of Higher Education

B.S. – Family and Human Services,

M.S. – Special Education,

MSW – Social Work

B.A. – Social Work

Who would you consult for a health problem?

If you suffered poor health due to a disability who would you seek the advice of a medical doctor or a social worker?

People are trained in specialties and it is prudent to seek advice from the experts in the field you may be concerned about.  I think this is a generally accepted and logical plan but for some reason those advocating for the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations, do not consult professionals and experts in the health and medical fields.

We are allowing experts in social work, special education, political science and other non-healthcare related fields to make health and safety decisions.  Is this logical?  Is this safe?  Do these non-healthcare professionals understand the holistic issues of caring for many of these people with profound developmental disabilities?

The Washington State Auditor’s Office recently paid BERK & Associates together with their subcontractor, Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) $489,500 for a Performance Audit of the Developmental Disabilities Administration.  These companies made recommendations which drastically affect the health and safety of many of our citizens yet do not have the expertise or qualifications to make health and safety decisions.

Using non-experts  for healthcare and safety decisions greatly puts our loved ones lives at risk.

Is this how you would make health and safety decisions for you or your family – by asking an expert in Art History or Urban Design?  For some reason Washington State believes this is okay.