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"Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent
 about things that matter."
   -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Advocates For People With Developmental Disabilities

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Action DD is the only disabilities advocacy licensed in Washington state that does not receive government money. Therefore, we are free to represent the best interests of people with developmental disabilities.  We do so by lobbying for the care of the most needy.  
      Action DD leaders and volunteers receive no compensation.
 
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ActionDD meeting and legislative reception February 3rd
Senator Maralyn Chase, keynote speaker  Details here.


Action DD bills are active in both houses of the legislature 

January 19, 2015
Paul Strand

Lobbyist Rick Jensen came on strong in Olympia for Action DD with three bills to benefit people with developmental disabilities. Senate Bill 5243 would allow Yakima Valley School to continue its important mission of treatment, personal care and respite care. Two years ago, a misguided legislature ordered YVS to close by attrition, even though a joint legislative task force resolved to keep our RHC system in place. A companion bill, HB 1366, is active in the house. These bills can right a grievous wrong.
      The third bill, HB 1367, is Action DD's  medical training bill that would help pay for the education of medical professionals to work with people who are developmentally disabled.
      Jensen put together an impressive list of sponsors for all three bills.
      Now it's up to rest of us to push these bills through.  Legislators must hear from their constituents that these bills are important. So what can you do to help? 
  1. The single most important thing you can do is make appointments with your legislators and tell them you want these bills to pass and why. they listen to those who vote for them.

  2. Invite your legislators to come to the Action DD Winter legislative reception
  3. Leave messages for your legislators on the Hot Line (800) 562-6000.

  4. Email your representatives and senators.

CMS Survey protocol Gets Major Make overr
January 13, 2015
Paul Strand

CMS has revised its survey protocol for the first time since 1988, giving facilities broader latitude to develop the processes by which it implements active treatment services. It is called, “State Operations Manual, Appendix J - Guidance to Surveyors: Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.” This manual has been in use for the past year.
      The manual is quite detailed and emphasizes supporting individuals in their own homes and communities, rather than placing people in facilities. In addition, services in virtually all States are placing increased emphasis on person-centered planning and person-centered services that focus on the preferences, goals and aspirations of each individual and on supporting them in reaching their personal goals.
      This manual follows trends in QA that places increased emphasis on outcomes related to choice, control, relationships, community inclusion, and satisfaction with life, as well as satisfaction with services and supports. Click here to view all of Appendix J

Be an activist this legislative session
December 30, 2014
Paul Strand

I just read an outline of the diminished role of the "Human Rights Committee" once called the “Client Protection Committee” at the RHCs, I couldn’t help but tell myself, This is part of the dummying down of DD services. The social works are gone, the resource coordinators are gone, and so are other professionals who provided therapeutic and personal services.
      Continuing shortfalls of financial resources are driving the RHCs toward a maintenance system while administrative staff is increasing. We saw some of the repercussions of this when Lakeland Village got caught by CMS for moving clients without providing some required services. It is incumbent upon us who care about people with developmental disabilities to reverse this trend, not only for RHC residents but for all who are being shorted by a system in financial crisis.
      As always, it is our legislature that will provide the needed programs and services. They also ask for cost reductions from social services. So they are the problem and the solution. On January 12th, the legislature will meet to determine what the state will pay for over the next biennium.
      They will act on information provided to them by state agencies, advocacy groups (some who hate RHCs) and other interests. We as advocates must become part of the process. We must know our legislators and tell them our needs, but it’s more than just a good idea, it’s absolutely essential that your legislators know who you are and what you need. They provide services based on what their constituents want.
      Make sure he or she knows exactly what you expect them to do. Without getting into details, that would be to provide a continuum of care for all who need it. Tell them about your struggles and the needs of your loved one. Find your senator here and your representative here. Go ahead, call their offices and make an appointment. You can do it.
      Also plan to be on campus February 3rd for the Winter Action DD meeting, Details here.

Delaware families raise issues of importance to any state

November 2, 2014
Paul Strand

People with developmental disabilities are not the winners when providers, families and states fight over care and financing.   This week, in Delaware, a debate rages that echoes the debate of a nation. The debate centers on whether government funds should be spent on congregate housing arrangements – group homes, villages, neighborhoods, where people with such disabilities are the primary residents.
     "I want my daughter to be in the community, but I want her to be safe," said one woman.,
     Another said, "Don't suck [all the CMS money] up because you want to live in summer camp forever."
     Cruel arguments over the care of people who themselves have no say in their futures are showcased in this Delaware News Journal article.

Woodbridge Developmental Center New Jersey to close in January with tragic results.
October 20, 2014
Paul Strand

Another facility closes and more innocent people are harmed. This trend has to be stopped.  Closing such facilities leaves those who need the closet care at the mercy of what ever the community can provide, which is often not good enough or a shameful disaster.
      Linda J. Akerman of Lakewood New Jersey writes, "Most of the Woodridge residents have already moved and some are not adjusting well to the change. People have fallen and broken limbs, some cry constantly and others who do not quite understand, have acted out and were moved to psychiatric facilities. Our hearts go out to those individuals and to their parents and families who are unable to travel to see their loved ones due to long distance placement or poor health."
      Only by the banding together of families and friends can we defeat the trend to close these homes. Visit VOR to see what you can do to help.   

What Happens When Sheltered Workshops Close?
September 30, 2014
By HALLE STOCKTON, PUBLICSOURCE

The sheltered workshops that are still prevalent across much of the country were shut down in Vermont more than a decade ago. And now, the employment rate of people with developmental disabilities in the New England state is twice the national average.
-- More

VOR calls on Congress to stop illegal evicts from Medicaid approved homes
"No federal agency should define 'choice' so narrowly and illegally as to disenfranchise the most vulnerable segment of our disabled population." Writes VOR in a plea to congress to prohibit the use of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) appropriations in support of deinstitutionalization activities. 
      Each time a we hear of a closure we hear again of the deaths and traumas of displaced individuals.  Read VOR's full testimony to Congress here.
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From Our President

It's important to know the facts


Fact 1.
Only 4% of people with a developmental disability  who require state services live in a large facility called an RHC*. (They need them)
Fact 2. People who need RHC care cost just as much when served in the community, but the community provides fewer services.
Fact 3. Closing RHCs and moving residents causes depression, injury and death. This is called transfer trauma. It's now happening nation-wide. 
Fact 4.  Washington State wants to close RHCs. They are encouraged by community based advocacy groups and even the federal government.
Fact 5. People want the services of RHCs. For people in need of close care the RHC is the best possible treatment and residential option.
Fact 6. People with high care needs are often isolated in apartments not free to be part of a community.  Many are being deprived the needed care of an RHC.
Fact 7. RHCs may not look like what you've been told.  Click on gold seal to see.


* What's an RHC?
 It's what Washington State calls an institution for people with disabilities who are in need of close personal care.


Read Disability Scoop
The Premier Source for Developmental Disability News

Statement 1 No savings to close
Statement 1 Part of continuum
Statement 1 Efficient services
Statement 1 Respite care 
Statement 1 Safety net
Statement 1 Prevent mortality


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Take ACTION to keep a full continuum of care in Washington State. 

We need a full continuum of services for people with developmental       disabilities.”
 

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