Thursday, March 12, 2015

VA plans to close facilities for DD as numbers on waiting list soar

An editorial from the Lynchburg Virginia News Advance questions the wisdom of the state legislature failing to address the concerns of parents and guardians of Virginia’s four remaining residential “training centers” [Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities or ICFs/IID].

“The training center closings result from a consent decree Virginia, under the administration of former Gov. Bob McDonnell, entered into with the U.S. Justice Department, which has been pushing states to care for its disabled citizens in community-based group homes, rather than in residential hospital-type settings. In the 2012 settlement, it is important to note that the Justice Department did not require the closing of Virginia’s four training centers; rather the state chose to go that route to come up with the money for group homes.” [emphasis added]

Most of the remaining residents in the facilities have the most intense needs and include people who have profound physical, mental, and behavioral disabilities. Under the terms of the Department of Justice settlement, these people would be moved to community settings where they would theoretically receive the exact level of care that they now receive  at less cost to the state:

“Except — and here’s the scary part for guardians and families — the needed group home infrastructure in the commonwealth simply does not exist. Currently, there are thousands of people on the state’s waiting list for a group home spot. And that waiting list has only grown in the three years since the McDonnell administration decided to embark on the closure of the training centers, a path chosen because Richmond didn’t want to spend any additional money to build out the group home network before the training centers would close.” [emphasis added]

The editorial board asks, “To all its foes — from the Assembly Democrats and Republicans to the McAuliffe administration, we ask this question: Are you too tightfisted to care properly for the least among us?…Time and again, though, the answer has been yes.”

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