Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

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Monday, February 1, 2010


SB6780 (See the 2 posts, below.) was introduced right before the 3 part Seattle TIMES expose on abuses of Seniors in adult family homes. The kind of abuses described in the first article mimic those suffered by my sister, Kathy, in a community facility before she came to Fircrest. Be sure to read the article, as its message also speaks to the potential for current RHC residents should they be forced to move to community homes. In fact, such abuses already could be happening in the isolation of poorly overseen homes for people with dd.

You can visit the 3 part TIMES article here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/seniorsforsale/2010939195_seniors31.html

The writer says: "DSHS is not able to answer such questions as: Which homes and how many didn't provide enough food? What homes had assaults on residents?" and "Kathy Leitch, a deputy director who oversees the DSHS Aging and Disability Services Administration, said a hiring freeze — the result of state budget cuts — has left fewer investigators to monitor more homes. Many licensing and training standards may be outdated, she said. There's this idea that it's a cottage industry, and that the state shouldn't be overly regulatory. Personally, I think that's a bit naive." This by the head of the same agency that is responsible for the monitoring of community homes for people with dd! Frightening. Many of us have long held that "community" standards and oversight needed to be strengthened. This article makes it into an imperative, infact, into an emergency.

So what do you think?
Saskia Davis

You Can Help Defeat SB6780

If passed, SB6780 would not help "community" residents with dd, it would not save money for the state and it would harm to RHC residents. (See post below)

You can help defeat it: Tell the committee members your concerns and ask them to vote against SB6780.

1. Make calls to your Senator and to each of the members of the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee: Keep trying until you get through!

Keiser, Karen (D) Chair................(360) 786-7664
Franklin, Rosa (D) Vice Chair.......(360) 786-7656
Pflug, Cheryl (R) *.........................(360) 786-7608
Becker, Randi (R) .........................(360) 786-7602
Fairley, Darlene (D).......................(360) 786-7662
Marr, Chris (D) .............................(360) 786-7610
Murray, Ed (D)..............................(360) 786-7628
Parlette, Linda Evans ...................(360) 786-7622

You can leave a message with the Leg. Hotline for your Senator:.......800 562 6000

2. Public Hearing: Wednesday, Feb 3, 8:00 AM. Room 4 John Cherberg Bldg.
This is a very important hearing, too important to miss if you can possibly make it.

New To The Process? It isn't hard and it can be fun. Here is what to do:
~Watch your email in case a pre-hearing meeting is planned.
~Arrive about 7:30 and wait for the sign-in sheets to be brought out.
~Sign in even if you don't plan to testify so your presence counts.
~As you can, coordinate with fellow RHC advocates
~If you plan to testify, check the appropriate box.
~Find a seat inside the hearing room.

~Testimony can be written or verbal or both.
-Content: Personal is Powerful. And, yes, make it relevant to the value of your loved one or friend's RHC experience and the losses s/he would suffer were they to be closed.

-Verbal, try to have it down so you can say it only looking occasionally at your notes. You may be cut off if you read all of it. Time it in advance to be wrapped up in 2 minutes. If that seems too long, know that you don't have to speak for the full 2 minutes.

-Written: Try to keep it to a page. Bring 14 extra copies for committee members and staff and a few others you may want to leave with legislators who support RHCs. Leave the 14 them at the staff table at the side of the room.

Think of your voice as part of a choir. The music wouldn't be complete without it



Senator Freiser, chair of the Washington State Senate Health and Long Term Care committee, has introduced a new bill that would close all 5 of the residential habilitation centers (RHCs) for people with developmental disabilities. The is bill is a travesty; it's passage would be tragic for people who need and thrive in RHCs. Sponsors are Senators Ranker, Kline, Delvin and Fairley. To read it , click on SB6780 in the website list on the left.

What Impact Would The Bill Have?
SB 6780 mandates development by DSHS of a plan for closing 5 RHCs within 5 years, but does not require the legislature to pass legislation for the plan to be implemented. Where are the checks and balances? Where is the oversight over DSHS?

It would require closure of Frances Haddon Morgan Center, first, within one year.

It would require replacement of centralized RHCs with State Operated Living Arrangements (Solas which are group homes operated by the State.)

It would disperse professional services throughout the "community"

It would destroy the RHC safety net for the "community" residents in crisis.
It would try to substitute 2 crisis teams, one on each side of the mountains.

It would repeal Froberg law, the one legal protection that RHC intermediate care residents have that their best interests will be served. Froberg requires that moves from RHCs be in the person's best interests and provides for an adjudicated hearing in the event that the Guardian disagrees that the proposed move qualifies. These protections would be undone.

It would remove from their familiar homes, environments and "families" people whose stability and behavioral adaptations depend on constancy of accustomed environments, routines and relationships.

It would remove from their familiar caregivers and professional teams people whose medical stability depends on those relationships.

Severe transfer trauma would surely be the result for many, as it was in 2003-5 when 6 people died following forced/coerced moves from Fircrest and others lived on in confused misery, some eventually to recover monetary damages from the state and move back to Fircrest.

It would destroy the centralization and economy of scale that combine to make this state's RHCs national models.

It would dismantle professional teams who work most effectively because of their synergistic interactions.

Centralization of professional services, work programs and active treatment allows people with extremely debilitating conditions to have a life. Spread everything out and limit staff in homes spread throughout the community and, suddenly, what was a challenging and delicately choreographed, but do-able schedule in an RHC becomes impossible, or if not impossible, far more expensive to achieve in the "community."

At a cost that far exceeds $161 million dollars, (based on costs of the 2003-5 Fircrest closure attempt,) this ideologically driven legislation would destroy the one excellently functional part of Wa. state's services delivery system to people with developmental disabilities.

If there is a silver lining to the current budget-deficit cloud, it is that legislators will have to ask where the money will come from. Another salient question is, "Exactly how much would fullfilment of the bill's requirements cost?" The $161 million does not begin to cover the list of unknown or undisclosed costs. If the State could spare even the minimum $32 million per year, just think: if it could be used, instead, for unserved, wait-listed people, how many could receive the services they need for that mountain of money! Or what an excellent "community" quality assurance system could be developed and implemented with it!

What have I missed and what do you think?

Let this not be a time of dis-empowerment due to worry. Instead, let it move us to rise up , finding strength, courage and hope, together, each to do our part for the ultimate good of all our loved ones with dd, residents of RHCs and "community" homes alike!
Saskia Davis