Monday, May 5, 2014

More DD News from Detroit/Wayne County Michigan

These are excerpts from the May 2014 Newsletter from Ed Diegel of DDadvocates of Michigan. Ed is responding to a survey that went out to people who receive services through the Detroit/Wayne County Mental Health Authority (DWCMHA). The questions are specific to Wayne County, but many of Ed's answers apply more generally to people in other parts of Michigan.

...Areas of concern:

  • The current Recipient Rights process does not require [providers or provider networks] to make systemic improvements. If a [provider] refuses job supports to an individual, and the RR process requires the individual to be served, the [provider] is under no obligation to serve all the others they have refused but who have not raised a claim.
  • Currently the Authority relies on [provider networks] for performance metrics; these metrics tend to be quantitative not qualitative. The only way to measure success or failure is for the Authority to have its own set of metrics collected from the persons being served. In today’s world we have the absurd situation of a senior [provider network] executive offering a family to reconsider its refusal for day supports IF the family agrees to not submit a rights claim ie raise the issue with Authority...
  • CLS [Community Living Services] is allowed to take a ‘high ground’ stance against congregate settings…(avoiding or minimizing funding for workshops and other settings like the PEP Center) but is not required to develop and support meaningful options...
  • I understand the political and philosophical posture to reduce sheltered workshops and AFC settings but it has to be done with the understanding that this may be done for persons who have the ability and the desire to move into less restrictive settings. I know persons in these settings who love where they live and work and it should be their choice to stay or to move on, regardless of how many of their friends live or work in the same building.  Everyone should have the right to try something and have it succeed or fail, but if they have no choice in the trying, or in the staying, then it is not a right at all—it becomes living according to the will of another which becomes the most basic of concerns. [emphasis added]...
  • I challenge the [CMH] Authority and the [provider networks] to quit pontificating on these issues and to start creating the environment that we want for the people we serve.  This environment needs to include a full range of supports – required for each person from the most needy to the most independent. Don’t defund and push people out of workshops, draw them out with better more successful programs. In the meantime, make the workshops the best they can be for the persons using them. [emphasis added]
What suggestions do you have for the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority as we move forward?

Operate in such a way that in 10 years when your grandchildren ask what you accomplished in your tenure, you will be able to say that “I listened to the persons with developmental disabilities and their families and acted accordingly.”

Ed Diegel,
Advocates for Persons with Developmental Disabilities in Wayne County.
and now at

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