Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Comment #6: “Independent” advocates for individuals who have guardians in Self-Determination

[This is a continuation of my comments to the Michigan Department of Community Health on proposed changes to the Self-Determination Guideline.]

The subtitle for this post could be, "Give me a break!"

The proposed Guideline, in its fervor to protect individuals from their guardians, includes a requirement that CMH “must support individuals who have guardians who are using self-determination to identify an independent advocate.” When CMH and others involved in the planning process determine that the guardian is restricting the rights of the individual, CMH would have discretion to choose not to enter into Self-Determination arrangements or terminate these arrangements on that basis.

The court-appointed guardian is the legal representative of the individual. It is especially audacious of those who drafted the Guideline to encourage a CMH agency to attempt to replace that person with an “independent” advocate. There is no mention of the privacy and confidentiality of the individual when bringing in a third party to represent that person without the consent and, most likely, over the objections of the guardian. There is also no specific consideration of potential conflicts of interest.

It is also unwise for the state to allow a CMH agency to knowingly enter into complicated agreements and financial arrangements with individuals who do not have the capacity to understand or uphold their participation in such agreements.

No comments: