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.

Finding Your Way Around

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Call Senate Ways and Means Committee members: NO on SSB6780

This blog is long, but a quick read.

Below are some info & reasons for defeating SSB6780 and encouragement to call Senate Ways and Means Committee members. The names and numbers are at the bottom.

The RHC closure bill is still bad business. From a humane point of view, it repeals the legal rights of RHC residents to an adjudicated appeal process when a move planned by the State may not be based on their "best interests." SO, why would the State want to repeal the one law which protects the best interests of a person whose mentation makes it impossible to protect him/her self???? Could it be that the best interests of people with severe and profound developmental disabilities are secondary to some other agenda, such as closing the doors of the facilities that DO AND MUST SERVE their best interests?

The recent Times articles describe the State's quota system for moving nursing home residents into Adult Family Homes. They point out that even when it was clear that "the low hanging fruit" had been picked, & it would not serve the best interests of the nursing home residents to be moved to Adult Family Homes, DSHS required the moves! Incompetent care and abuse resulted! And, we learn that as a "cottage industry", oversight was intentionally lax. Some of us have long wondered why "community" care oversight for people with DD was so inadequate. Could their care fall into the same "cottage industry" category? Similarities don't stop there. In 2003, I read the phrase "low hanging fruit" in instructions to DSHS workers being trained to convince parents and guardians to move their loved ones from RHCs.

1. OUR STATE IS IN A BUDGET CRISIS. Even in an economic boom, replacing the RHC system of care with a community system of similar quality would be staggeringly expensive if it could even be accomplished! It is doubtful that it could. The proposed reorganization would require massive initial outlay to even establish the foundation for such a drastic endeavor. The current economic crisis notwithstanding, adequate funding could not be counted upon from the state when a year after having been removed from RHC care, residents' federal "roads to community living" funding all dried up. Legislators should not be fooled into thinking the state can wade in with a little bit of money to accomplish this change. The proposed changes would require very serious money from the outset to establish the necessary infrastructure and a serious commitment to future appropriations to sustain the level of care and services that would be required. They should know in advance exactly how complex and expensive it will be. Doing away with the RHCs before this poorly conceived experiment has proven a success would be a terrible mistake.



4. It will result in real harm to real people. The attrition by death rate of the 2003-5 forced/coerced moves from Fircrest was 10%: 6 out of 61 moves. What would it be for the entire remaining RHC population?

And what about the people who didn't die,who suffered interminably, instead. A few, whose guardian is an attorney, recovered substantial damages from the state and some returned to Fircrest. Others just suffered. So did their parents and loved ones.

5. Based on costs reported by LEAP for the 2003-5 Fircrest closure attempt, the State spent $10,000,000 to move 61 people and have 10% die. Based on those figures, it would cost $161,000,000 to move all RHC residents (in addition to many unplanned, therefore unknown, but expensive factors).

Why defeat SSB-6780?

SSB-6780 will not save money, will cost enormously, and

Real people will be harmed.

It would not result in a system of care and supports that serves the people.

Instead, it would repeal their legal protections that their best interests will be served.

People who now live in RHCs are there because they could not succeed in the "community." They either failed in the community or were failed by it.

Services can be provided to current community residents at far less cost than SSB-6780 by opening RHC based services to the community in all 4 RHC locations and establishing satellite clinics in areas where the RHCs are too far away.

Yesterday, the amended RHC closure bill, was passed out of Senate Human Services, and has gone to Senate Ways and Means. It is now called a Substitute Senate Bill: SSB6780.

Below is a list of phone numbers of all of the Ways and Means committee members. Please call all of them, today and tomorrow and until we hear that the bill is dead! Just keep calling. You can copy and paste the list onto a page on your desk top.

Also write: brief emails. If you have to make a choice, choose calling. When Legislative Aides get too busy, emails can go unopened.

You have a story which supports this truth. Distill it so you can tell it briefly along with some of the above, depending on how much time you are given. Then engage your phone. One person worried, "I am afraid that what I have to say is not significant enough." Realize that your voice adds to the cumulative voices and it does not in and of itself have to be totally persuasive. Just make the calls; you don't have to be a soloist; just be part of the choir. We will succeed together.

As they say: "Change is made by those who show up."

Saskia......See Ways and Means list below.

Committee Members

Prentice, Margarita (D) Chair
JAC 303
(360) 786-7616
Fraser, Karen (D) Vice Chair, Capital Budget Chair
LEG 404
(360) 786-7642
Tom, Rodney (D) Vice Chair, Operating Budget
JAC 220
(360) 786-7694
Zarelli, Joseph (R) *
INB 204
(360) 786-7634
Brandland, Dale (R)
INB 203
(360) 786-7682
Carrell, Mike (R)
INB 102
(360) 786-7654
Fairley, Darlene (D)
JAC 227
(360) 786-7662
Hewitt, Mike (R)
LEG 314
(360) 786-7630
Hobbs, Steve (D)
JAC 213
(360) 786-7686
Honeyford, Jim (R)
INB 107
(360) 786-7684
Keiser, Karen (D)
JAC 224
(360) 786-7664
Kline, Adam (D)
JAC 223
(360) 786-7688
Kohl-Welles, Jeanne (D)
JAC 219
(360) 786-7670
McDermott, Joe (D)
JAC 230
(360) 786-7667
Murray, Ed (D)
JAC 215
(360) 786-7628
Oemig, Eric (D)
LEG 416
(360) 786-7672
Parlette, Linda Evans (R)
LEG 316
(360) 786-7622
Pflug, Cheryl (R)
LEG 415
(360) 786-7608
Pridemore, Craig (D)
JAC 212
(360) 786-7696
Regala, Debbie (D)
JAC 233
(360) 786-7652
Rockefeller, Phil (D)
JAC 218
(360) 786-7644
Schoesler, Mark (R)
INB 110
(360) 786-7620
*Ranking Minority Member