APS VIDEO Edition, & Millions of Colorado Targeted Case Management mis-billed.

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist, self funded newsletter, past editions are archived at www.changecoidd.com

Hot Off Press: Feds find millions $ of issues with Colorado Medicaid: 

1. Managed Care has poor safeguards, state's $10B annual program.

"Colorado officials vowed to improve oversight of the managed-care portion of the state’s $10 billion Medicaid program after a federal audit found poor safeguards against waste, fraud and abuse."

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/04/07/colorado-medicaid-audit-fraud-abuse/ 

2Colorado Claimed Millions in  Unallowable Medicaid Payments for Targeted Case Management Services

"The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (State agency) claimed Federal Medicaid reimbursement for some Targeted Case Management (TCM) services that did not comply with Federal and State requirements for fiscal years (FYs) 2014 and 2015."

"We recommended that the State agency refund approximately $2.2 million to the Federal Government for unallowable TCM claims". 


Colorado Department of inHumane Services- Adult Protective Services Registry, a plethora of concern and civil right violations

VIDEO EDITION

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist, self funded newsletter, archived at www.changecoidd.com

Many many thanks to videographer extraordinaire, David Owen. Davideowen01@gmail.com , https://deowenandassociates.com 

     House Bill 17-1284 created a registry for Adult Protective Services. The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has authority to "propulgate" (write) rules to implement the bill. This process involves several stops at various committees. And after stakeholder concern, they held three evening sessions at CDHS. 

    We have some video short highlights below, from the many hours of meetings. Get out the popcorn! 

     Also more are on the youtube channel, "APS Debacle" . Bookmark it, subscribe, and  look under playlists for video queue, organized by date. 

    May 4 meeting details- rule packet 3 to be introduced, with a Board vote at the June meeting. 


1:32 clip- Memory issues? This video says it all. Peggy Rogers, Manager of Adult Protective Services at Colorado Department of Human Services, admitted on tape April 5, 2018 there are "MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS" of confidentiality in their units and would "ADDRESS AT NEXT QUARTERLY MEETING". Yet the following day, she shakes her head no!


2 minute clip- Emergency room visits are "red flags" that are listed as reason to investigate someone, and is "watched for" by APS.  Yet many are sent to Emergency rooms by their regular doctors with standing orders for chronic conditions. It is inappropriate to train APS employees that visits are reasons to investigate. Doctors are mandatory reporters and already report suspicions to authorities.


2:59 Clip- Preponderance of Evidence is a low threshold, former State Senator Rob Hernandez during his public comment, is abruptly interrupted, out of order, by Assistant Attorney General Ted McCombs without the Chair's acknowledgement.


Jim Tatten, who lives with a Brain Injury, also testified on 4/6/18. Strong 2 minute commentary on issues at State Capitol with "Preponderance of Evidence":

 Concerns regarding allegations My concerns results from the discussions on floor of senate earlier this week, and some allegations. I don’t want this board to use these rules to fall into a legal, PR hole that the legislature has fallen into…. 

I saw a public stoning of the floor of the State senate I heard stories from an individual and his family being harmed… 

We have a shared goal, to protect… what I don’t want is for a system to be in place that falls apart as the process is moving forward, like we saw in the House and Senate.”

Colorado Department of inHumane Services and APS Debacle Continues- Rule Making

Written by Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

Video credit to David Owen, Family Advocate, Camera man extraordinaire! 

Child Welfare rules state that the "age of culpability" is 11 years of age. 

In proposed rule packet 3, scheduled for State Board on May 4, minors from ages 11-17 could be substantiated with abuse, neglect, exploitation and self neglect charges.

  • Here is a link to a video clip from March 28, 2018 Stakeholder meeting confirmation HERE.
  • APS violates all civil rights of children, declaring them "substantiated" without access to legal counsel. 
  • APS violates the Sixth Amendment in the process.
  • The APS administrative investigation is secretive, these situations would likely also alert Child Protective Services action.
  • Children are children. Let them be that. They learn as they grow. They should not be on a blacklist as minors!  Let them eat donuts!
  • It is concerning especially as peer on peer issues are common, and adolescents and especially the intellectually and developmentally disabled should not have an adult label placed administratively. 
  • A charge of self-neglect between 11-17 years of age seems preposterous.

There is a pattern of CDHS exceeding the statutory language in promulgating rules and stepping out of bounds to write law.

  • The two areas of biggest concern are the severity levels in rule packet 2 (up for State Board vote on April 6)  and the age 11 as "age of culpability" in rule packet 3 (presented to State Board on May 4)  .

  • Neither take direction from HC17-1284 but rather they are replicating Child Welfare rules.   

  • This is not the intent of the legislature.

  • These clips are from the March 28, 2018 meeting. This short video clip with independent advocate Jim Tatten, who happens to have a law degree, is about the fact that the Department is not a law making body and exceeding statute is wrong. HERE


Family Caregivers and small PASAs can be investigated and put on the Registry as Substantiated "perpetrators" and never see the accusations or investigation information (per the rules, one needs a court order to get access).
Also APS can apply for guardianship and change the person's placement, and service plans. 

Believe it, it is happening now. 
 

  •  Your Best protection is to LAWYER UP Remember even if you know you have done nothing wrong.
  • It is best to refuse to talk to APS without your counsel present.
  • This can stop the harassment. 
  • Also consider a Colorado civil rights complaint, fast, free, no attorney needed and done online/over phone HERE !
  • Read www.changecoidd.com past newsletter about Colorado Civil Rights Commission under the News Tab.

State Board for Human Service Meeting on Friday April 6, 2018
Colorado Department of Human Services, 1575 Sherman Street, 8th Floor, Denver, CO 80203.


8am State APS 101 Presentation to Board
10am Regular Work Meeting,

General open Public comment at start of meeting at 10 in person or over phone (must give notice for this accommodation).
You can also submit written comment to beth.kline@state.co.us .
Later, during agenda,  public comment is limited to Rule Packet 2 feedback.

State Board Website link here 
Link to documents here
Live Meeting Broadcasts

CDHS broadcasts all State Board meetings. Click to join the live GoToMeeting broadcast. 

Or call 866-899-4679 to listen by phone. Access Code: 758-645-967

Please be advised that the time and place for scheduled meetings is subject to change and the broadcasts will only occur when meetings are in session. A "waiting for organizer" message may appear if access to the service is attempted prior to launching of the broadcast. If you receive this message, wait a few minutes and try again. Potential unforeseen technical difficulties may affect availability of the broadcast. After clicking the meeting link, you may be prompted to install the GoToMeetings application. Follow the onscreen instructions, and the meeting will launch once the application has installed. 

If during the broadcast you lose the connection, click the broadcast link again to rejoin the meeting.

If you have any suggestions or comments, please e-mail our technical support team.Live Meeting Broadcasts CDHS broadcasts all State Board meetings. Click to join the live GoToMeeting broadcast. Please be advised that the time and place for scheduled meetings is subject to change and the broadcasts will only occur when meetings are in session. A "waiting for organizer" message may appear if access to the service is attempted prior to launching of the broadcast. If you receive this message, wait a few minutes and try again. Potential unforeseen technical difficulties may affect availability of the broadcast. After clicking the meeting link, you may be prompted to install the GoToMeetings application. Follow the onscreen instructions, and the meeting will launch once the application has installed. If during the broadcast you lose the connection, click the broadcast link again to rejoin the meeting. If you have any suggestions or comments, please e-mail our technical support team.

Remote Testimony
The State Board meetings are broadcasted by webinar. Members of the public should call in to the listen-only line. Please note the line is unmuted during public testimony so that registered individuals may speak. 
If you wish to testify remotely, you will need to register with the State Board Administrator by 10:00 A.M. on the previous business day. Email beth.kline@state.co.us with the following information:
1. Your name. Use the same name when logging in to testify.
2. Name of group or organization you represent.
3. Agenda item (public comment or rule number).
4. Mailing address.
5. Whether you support or oppose the rule.
6. Written summary as backup is encouraged.


You may be under investigation by Adult Protective Services and not even know it!

That is because the rules don't require notification until the end, at point of substantiation. Then to appeal it can take up to 18 months to do an administrative appeal OR one can take APS to court where there is assured due process. The CAPS registry has a low bar for "preponderance" of evidence. Also only APS can actually see the files for, for anyone including persons involved with the investigation, CAN ONLY see their files with a Court Order, which requires a judge.

Chronic health conditions which require Emergency Room visits can also trigger APS involvement, including investigations PASAs.  A short video clip with former Senator Rob Hernandez on this topic from 3.28.18 is HERE 


Do you run a PASA? Do you remember the HPE/DXC medicaid revalidation debacle? Many PASAs are still struggling with that and now THIS with CDHS?

 The Colorado Department of  Human Services will have 30 days period before start date (in December of course) for employers to register for the required background checks in Adult Protective Services CAPS system. Then on January 1, 2019 employers will pay up to $35 per employee (this could go even higher if lots of appeals happen) for employment registry check and wait up to 10 days for the manual check. 

This is the administrative process of substantiating not criminal. Due process with "preponderance of evidence" is severely lacking under CDHS Administrative process. Law enforcement is separate with a much higher criminal "beyond reasonable doubt" measure.


RMHS again doing what they please with Denver Taxpayer Million ($17.5M for 2018) Time for Denver to have Direct oversight of these public dollars

Deja Vous? Rocky Mountain Human Service admits misuse of Denver Taxpayer money. Repeat of 2015?

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

• On March 21, I made public comment to the RMHS Board meeting. I shared my Denver City Council testimony from  Monday March 19 regarding the  oppressive RMHS subcontractor agreement for Mill Levy Monies which included forced assignment of all intellectual property to RMHS as well as changes in insurance requirements and grievance procedure.

• These contracts were sent out late, and essentially coerced small providers into agreeing, or they would not be paid for services already rendered. This new contract is discriminatory against independent providers of disability services. RMHS now has these agreements signed "under duress" and now can steal all the hard work of these companies. RMHS could essentially run the same programs under their names legally. 

• I then asked the Board about use of monies, and how they ensure that funds are only used for Denver residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

• CEO Shari Repinski grew hostile, and kept repeating that they have ongoing audits from City and County of Denver, Department of Human Services.

• CFO John Wetherington grew more angry at the questions during the Public Board of Directors' meeting. He stated that they are indeed using local tax payer money without verifying Denver residency or Disability status.

• Mr. Wetherington became quite agitated and defensive after a public comment and inquiry about use of Mill Levy Monies.

• He shared that Denver Human Services (DDHS) said it was acceptable to use funds this way.

• The member of the public mentioned that this in fact violates their agreement with DDHS and the Denver Ordinance. 

• The voters who passed this Property Tax (“mill levy”) in a ballot initiative knowing it would be specifically for Denver residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

• Mr. Wetherington make his heated response in front of his entire board, public attendees, Mill Levy Program Manager from DDHS, Justin Sykes, and RMHS's corporate Attorney, Richard Westfall. 

• After the CFO’s comment, I mentioned aloud that Denver City Council would be very interested to hear that they are not respecting the ordinance.  

• I was quite shocked that no one in the entire meeting advised RMHS against admitting such actions. The Denver Human Services Mill levy Manager said nothing. 

• RMHS Corporate attorney said nothing during the meeting to his client.

• After the meeting, I introduced myself to Richard Westfall, and asked for  his role on Board. He was outright hostile with me, "I have been Corporate Counsel for RMHS, Hale-Westfall, for many years". I asked if he wrote the Subcontractor agreement. He replied dismissively with , "Ask Shari", and he pushed past me, practically bumping my shoulder. 


So many questions

• What is the point of paying a high-cost corporate attorney to attend Board meetings if he fails to advise them? Perhaps this is an expense RMHS could consider slashing to give more to the clients on the waitlist for services? Just a thought.

• What is the point of having a full time Denver DHS program manager (Justin Sykes) and a full time DHS  Senior Internal Auditor (Cynthia Hinojosa), both dedicated to this IDD Mill levy? Who at DHS advised RMHS that they could violate the ordinance? 

• The Denver City Council should have direct oversight over this $17.5M a year for IDD services.  The updated ordinance does not require the City to contract with RMHS. 

• Rocky Mountain Human past and current actions make one question whether they are trustworthy stewards of these public taxpayer funds for the most vulnerable in Denver.   

• RMHS is working with Denver Human Service on a new contract starting July 1, 2018. Please contact the committee members who are over this mill levy ASAP and share your concerns about the dangers of rewarding an private non-profit with unchecked control of $17.5M a year. RMHS is not who they present to be, look at their actions.

• Contact the City Council Committee members of Safety, Housing, Education, & Homelessness with your thoughts.
Copy and paste emails below: 

paul.kashmann@denvergov.org, kniechatlarge@denvergov.orgpaul.lopez@denvergov.orgstacie.gilmore@denvergov.org, districtone@denvergov.org, ortegaatlarge@denvergov.org

Colorado Civil Rights Division By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

1. Have you or a loved one ever been treated wrongly and felt that the treatment was discriminatory?

2. But did you "let it go" because of barriers like time, money for attorney, or fear of retaliation?

3. Did you know there is a place for YOU to get an impartial investigation without an attorney, and with transparency so persons can see the documents which are uploaded.

4. The  types of settings can be interpreted broadly. It can be for private or government services. (Think hostile work environment- can include family being paid to care for loved ones, Community Centered Boards, Division of Vocational Rehab, School Districts,  , Employment discrimination, Housing discrimination, Public amenities failing to provide accommodations. Examples might include: recreation centers/ public programs /schools /libraries /museum /parks, and reasonable accommodation provisions to participate- example person/nurse attending camp as a support at a public recreation center or public facility).

5. It may covers retaliation (for engaging in a civil rights-protected activity).

6. This is a little known but effective, transparent and time-sensitive process for Coloradans who deserve equal treatment. It can be very effective. 

7. This can cover discriminatory experiences while advocating for one's services/rights, being treated in a hostile and discriminatory manner, and when seeking employment, public accommodations or housing. 

8. You can call the Division, they have Tuesday morning sessions by appointment or drop in for assistance. It is very user friendly. 303-894-2997. They are at 1560 Broadway, Suite 825
Denver, CO 80202.

9. Don't delay, fill out form or call for an appointment!

Yes, the Division does have adjudicatory power.  

• The result of the adjudication process is a legally-binding judgment; the stipulations and demands of the judgment are legally upheld by a local or federal governing body. 

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/civil-rights

• This division has been in the news lately as a possible "sunset", or closure, due to their involvement in the Masterpiece Cake Case, which was appealed to the Supreme Court. Now is the time to file, and get cases in the pipeline. They are still active and accepting cases, until the legislature figures it out. There is a bill at the Capitol for continuing their funding here.  If the Division is important to you, let your Colorado State Senator and Representative know! Here is link to find their contact info here

• There is a legal requirement that a charge must be filed within a specific period of time (statute of limitations) from the date of notice of the last discriminatory act. After the statute of limitations has passed the Colorado Civil Rights Division does not have jurisdiction.

Colorado timelines

• Employment filing deadline: six (6) months

• Housing filing deadline: one (1) year

• Public Accommodations filing deadline: sixty (60) days

Federal timelines for EEOC are longer, an an option as well here.


How does it work?
(source for below is the 2015-16 CCRD annual report here

1. File complaint online, free. Call if you have questions call the Division at 303-894-2997. They have Tuesday morning walk in or by appointment support as well, call to check in advance. Colorado Civil Rights Division 1560 Broadway, Suite 825 Denver, CO 80202.

2. It is ok to not be completely sure of all details, the Division will help once it is filed. The process is transparent, all persons involved can view uploaded documents for easy response and resolution.

3. After a complaint is filed, an investigation is launched. The investigation involves the collection of documentary evidence, witness interviews, and any other evidence relevant to resolving the charge.

4. Once the investigation is completed, the Division Director issues a decision as to whether sufficient evidence exists to support the allegations of discrimination.

5. If the decision is that no discrimination occurred, a Complainant may appeal the decision to the Commission.

6.  If the Division finds that discrimination occurred, the statute requires that the Division attempt to settle the matter through a mandatory mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the Commission determines whether to set the case for an adjudicatory administrative hearing.

7. In order to resolve matters at the earliest possible stage in a case, the Division offers an Alternative Dispute Resolution (mediation) program early in an investigation, which can identify viable options for the early constructive resolution of cases.


The Civil Rights Division investigates claims involving discrimination based on a protected class in employment, housing and places of public accommodation. (Source https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/civil-rights ) 

Colorado law prohibits discrimination in the following areas based on these protected classes:

Employment

◦ Race, Color, Disability, Sex, Pregnancy, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/ Ancestry, Religion, Creed, Age, Marriage to a Co-worker, Retaliation

Housing

◦ Race, Color, Disability, Sex, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/ Ancestry, Religion, Creed, Marital Status, Familial Status (families with children under the age of 18 or a pregnant woman), Retaliation

Public Accommodations

◦ Race, Color, Disability, Sex, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/ Ancestry, Creed, Marital Status, Retaliation


From the State Website: The Civil Rights Division investigates claims involving discrimination based on a protected class in employment, housing and places of public accommodation.

Colorado law prohibits discrimination in the following areas based on these protected classes, complete an Intake Packet if you wish

Enforcement

The Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) is charged with enforcing Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws in the areas of employment (Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-34-402), housing (Colorado Revised Statutes §24-34-502), and public accommodations (Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-34-602).  We promote awareness of civil rights laws through training and education to groups and individuals across the state.  We work in cooperation with federal and local agencies, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (HUD/FHEO), as well as community-based organizations that promote and protect civil rights.  CCRD maintains formal cooperative agreements with EEOC and HUD/FHEO to avoid duplication of efforts on those cases where joint jurisdiction (state and federal) exits.

Our staff assists aggrieved parties who want to file a formal complaint of discrimination with CCRD by drafting their allegations into a legal charge.  The charge is served on the Respondent and the investigative process is initiated.  The Respondent will be asked to provide a written response to the allegations.  Once the reply is received, a copy of the position statement is provided to the Charging Party, who is given an opportunity to provide a rebuttal statement. 

Colorado CIvil Rights Complaint Link:
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/caseconnect-0 

Info about process in PDF:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2RqMM3zUzjtYWwyclVtTUlHbnc/view

 


The Civil Rights Division has a Commission, which holds public meetings. They do have executive session regularly, due to confidentiality, but much of the meeting is open. 

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a seven-member, bipartisan board whose mission is to:

• Conduct hearings regarding illegal discriminatory practices

• Advise the Governor and General Assembly regarding policies and legislation that address illegal discrimination

• Review appeals of cases investigated and dismissed by CCRD

• Adopt and amend rules and regulations to be followed in enforcement of Colorado's statutes prohibiting discrimination

Here is info about the Commission: 

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/civil-rights/commission

• The Commission meets to develop policy and hear appeals in discrimination cases.  Unless otherwise announced, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission holds meetings on the fourth Friday of the month at 1560 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202, beginning at 10 a.m.  

• Dates on website for 2018 meetings are March 23, April 27, May 25 and June 22. 

What is this Rule making versus Statutes?

by Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist



Come learn more March 28 at a Stakeholder meeting. 

1. Legislature makes laws which go into State Statute (Telling What to do)

2. Executive branch departments promulgate (make)  the Rules (Telling all how to do it). 

3. Each department in Colorado Government has a rule making body, to keep rules updated to statute or make changes in rules that do not require legislative direction. (Rule making meetings publicly posted on department calendars)

4.  At the department rule making body, there is open comment available and the proceedings are live streamed and archived. The members of these rule making bodies are nominated by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. They are considered Governor Appointees with designated terms in their bylaws. The internet conveniently allows access to these bodies, agendas, minutes and audio links.

5. The Colorado Department of Human Services has the rule making body, State Board of Human Services. Health Care Policy and Finance has the Medical Services Board. Each department has their own board. Here is a link to the State of Colorado info on Rule Making: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora-oprrr/coprrr-process

 


When Do The People participate?

1. During State Legislative Process, if awareness is raised to garner participation. Sometimes stakeholders must demand more meetings as we did with this rule making for APS HB17-1284.

a. Testimony is afforded at each committee in both the House and Senate.

b. The public can also communicate with their elected officials or those on the appropriate committee.

2. During Rule making process,

a. At subcommittee meetings in appropriate department

b. At the Department's Rule making body/board.

c. The Attorney General can review rules if the department requests it, which is charged to the Department budget.

3. Legislative Legal Services at Capitol

a. They review the rules to ensure they reflect statutory intent.

4. The rule is active! Can always go back to State board for more amendments or clarifications. 


Colorado Department of Human Services will have its third Stakeholder Meeting. This packet is about the Registry for substantiated persons. It is critical we participate.

APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 Review Meeting —Proposed revisions to APS rules related primarily to the process for CAPS background checks 

Wednesday, March 28th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  

Link to register for the webinar:    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/216150081276809986

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge.

• Purpose:  Gather stakeholder feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 in advance of the State Board initial reading planned for May 4th 

• Format:  We will review the portions of the rule that feature proposed additions of language and deletions, discussing the rationale and requesting specific feedback from stakeholders

• How you can help:  Please read the draft rule packet and bring your feedback to the meeting. Rule Packet 3 is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jaTDBtHQb5qmlwla5A_ZplNmZILG6V_k/view


Attend the State Board CDHS in Denver Friday April 6, 2018

Final stop for the Rule packets to be reviewed or amended.

8:30am Board Work Session Presentation by APS staff to State Board "APS 101" overview of program

Rule Packet Three at the State Board meeting

APS Presentation Friday April 6, 2018 at 8:30am, 10am Board meeting Opens with Public Comment and also public comment for Agenda Item.

Location: Colorado Department of Human Services, 1575 Sherman Street, 8th Floor, Denver, CO 80203

Webinar option https://app.gotomeeting.com/?meetingId=758645967
Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  

• 8:30: APS 101, MIndy Kemp Presentation

• 9:30: Competency and Restorations, Robert Werthwein and Patrick Fox

10:00 AM Rulemaking Session

A. Attendance

B. Call to Order

C. Open Comments Period

D. Board Business

E. Rule Making Session

1. Document 1: Transportation for an Immediate Evaluation Hold in a Designated Facility (17-11-29-01)

2. Document 2: APS Rule Additions Related to Perpetrator Due Process (17-06-26-02)

F. Other Business

G. Departmental Update

Note: Agendas may be modified at the discretion of the Board.

 

News on APS Registry, Rules delayed at State Board, Legislature pulls out line item in figure setting CDHS treatment of public concerning

Coloradans, this is our government, of the people,

by the people and for the people. 

At-risk adults are full citizens in our communities, and have liberty to live well, free from worry and fear of APS allegations of arbitrary  "substantiations" which do not have due process.

It is good that the rule making body, State Board of Human Services, validated the lack of input from the impacted stakeholders, after public meeting comment, in December 2017. Robust and thoughtful Board discussions in February, resulted in additional delays for the rule making process for a presentation to State Board on April 6th, as well as additional community meetings.

The Board admonished the department  to authentically engage in a stakeholder process. It is clear the Board has many reservations and urge the Department to proceed carefully.

 

Momentum is building, more Coloradans are

standing up, calling in, sharing, participating to raise hard and important questions. Now is the time to come out of the shadows  of fear and shame to unite for civil rights, due process and reasonable parameters to balance liberty and dignity with reasonable government interference.

 

Implementation of the Colorado Adult Protective Agency (CAPS) Registry is under serious legislative scrutiny (from HB17-1284) at the Legislature. Line item funding for the APS CAPS registry was pulled out, and "PAUSED" at JBC Budget Figure setting. 


 

Catch Up Summary:

1. Community members attended three CDHS meetings on March 8th:

Aging and Adult  SubPAC,

Full Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and

Evening Stakeholder Meeting: APS 101.

• Aging Adult SubPAC, they added public comment, not on agenda. We updated the group to the concern since  State Adult Protective Services (APS) Staffers Peg Rogers and Mindy Kemp failed to do so. It was clear that the SubPAC members were not aware of the Board, Legislature or community concerns.

2. Thanks to State Senator Smallwood for attending the evening Stakeholder meeting March 8th. He has heard from many stakeholders that there is concerning lawlessness in APS operations.

 

3. Stakeholders attending these public meetings continue to met with rude treatement from CDHS employees, refusing to provide information/documents from public meetings and barking that we could make CORA requests to get copies of minutes. Overall there is an obvious and visible distain for stakeholders attending public meetings.

 

4. CDHS has a palatable culture of animosity toward public engagement.  This begins the moment one has to produce a State ID to enter their building, to then be told we can't have documents they are viewing during meetings. 

 

5. Many have a new twist on the department name: Colorado Department of "inHumane" Services. 

 

6. We must continue to attend and participate in public comment, no matter how uncomfortable they attempt to make it. We have to protect the civil rights of everyone, and this is OUR government and community!

 

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL about these rules?

• Rules have the force of law once passed. The statute, passed in legislative branch, tells you what you can do and the rules tell you how to do it.  

• The bills give authority to the appropriate Department to implement and integrated the statute into Rule. 

• The Rule making body considers and votes on the administrative rules from the Department. The state has a rule making free 20 minute tutorial is online here. 

• State Board members are appointed by the Governor and may receive some reasonable expenses reimbursed.


What are biggest trends and concerns with APS and the CAPS registry?

1. No persons, even the at-risk adult, can see information about the investigation without a court order.

2. Lack of Due Process- see packet 2. There is no notification to any persons of their rights at the start of an investigation. Often the investigation stays open indefinitely. This creates fear and secrecy.

3. The threshold for civil term "substantiation" is a "preponderance of evidence".  Preponderance is very subjective, that something had a  50% likelihood of happening.

4. In rule packets, they use the criminal term "substantiated perpetrator". Perpetrator is a word used in criminal contexts. The Cambridge dictionary definition is:  Perpetrator- someone who has committed a crime or a violent or harmful act. 

5. Time and cost of CAPS background check ($35 for now, and up to 10 day process) is a barrier to timely job offer and hiring.

6. The trend is that APS "jumps to judgement" and applies for emergency guardianship before an investigation is complete. Usually the same APS person is both guardian and investigator, a conflict of interest. The courts generally accept APS testimony, sometimes not allowing family or interested parties to even address the court.


Mark your Calendar: The Department of "inHumane" Services hosts two more evening stakeholder meetings in March. Come in person, call in (anonymously if you prefer), or use the webinar format. 

• The State Board has "strongly cautioned" CDHS to actively engage and listen to stakeholders.

• In December 2017, the State Board of DHS were informed of major concerns and DELAYED the rule process to INCLUDE STAKEHOLDERS. 

• They can pull out sections of rules from vote, and send back for more work. 

• The State Board CDHS information is stored here.  At next meeting April 6,  they requested APS to make a presentation at 8:30 before their 10am meeting. Packet 2 is up.

• March 13 and 28, from 5:30-7:30 are Stakeholder meetings to review Rule Making Packets 2 and 3. 

• The Rules are promulgated from Departments to come into alignment with Statute/Legislation. It can feel very technical, helps to read it and review in advance of the meeting. 

• Read the packet from APS Stakeholder meeting #1 from March 8 here. Realize it was written by State APS and local unit operations differ. 

#2 APS Stakeholder Meeting-Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 Review- Due Process Rights and Appeals- 
Tuesday, March 13, 5:30pm – 7:30pm

1575 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203, USA (conference room 4A/4B) 

Description APS 17-06-26-02 Packet Updated 2.21.18

To receive the document listed above, please email tara.franck@state.co.us.

Webinar Link

Call In Information:  1-302-202-1110  access code 171769

"Please click on "more details" to be directed to the calendar notice to obtain the document pertaining to this meeting"

Please note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge

#3 APS Stakeholder Engagement Meeting - - CAPS Registry Check- Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 Review

Wed, March 28, 5:30pm – 7:30pm

1575 Sherman St. Denver, CO 80203 conference room 4A/4B 

Description *The Department is in the process of developing a final draft of this rule packet. Once a final draft is completed, it will be posted here for review.

Webinar Link

Call In Information:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769

For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge

Meeting Purpose:  Gather feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 prior to the State Board second reading planned for May 

Meeting Format:  We will review the portions of the rule packet that feature new language and deletions to existing APS rules, discuss the rationale and request specific feedback on changes from stakeholders.


"Keep Calm and Lawyer Up!" 

If you need a lawyer and are struggling to find one, reply back as we have a growing list of attorneys, civil rights and guardianship, across the State.

Many are asking for information to gain guardianship and whether they should pursue it. It is wise and good to consider all choices. 

Remember to protect yourself. Being open with APS has only caused regret by families who "had nothing to hide". Many have had their loved ones moved against their will, and have limited contact. 

We continue to ask for a "Safe Bridge" to communicate the lawlessness of these actions.

So far it seems legal representation is extremely effective in slowing or stopping the LAWLESS METHODS OF APS.


Many have asked where are the people who claim to represent at risk adults like our loved ones with Disabilities?

We must not expect others to represent

our unique individual interests. It is up to us. 

Now is the time to learn the process, as these rules and statutes can be used wrongly, and hurt at risk adults in the name of "protecting them".

Is it easy or enjoyable? It is debateable, but we live this everyday and it better have guardrails to ensure rules that mitigate future misuse.

• The State Board delayed rule making timeline.

• The JBC pulled out the line item in figure setting.

• Leadership at Capitol are getting involved.

• Multiple stakeholder groups have concerns about the unintended consequences of the CAPS Registry.

• Now is the time to step up and learn, as this affects lives and liberty!

Millions of local tax monies earmarked for Intellectually Developmentally Disabled residents How to access the funding & other Meeting Updates

All content written by Maureen Welch, Volunteer

Local Mill Levy Funds Millions $$$! Opportunity for Unmet Needs of County Residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Where does your local mill levy go?

      Many Colorado Counties have a property tax dedicated to the Intellectual and Developmental needs of their residents (aka Mill Levy). Make sure you ask your county commissioners/city council officials about this opportunity. And ask the board of your community centered board.
    I support the County/City who collect the millions,  to manage it. Currently, nearly all of it goes to one contract with the local case management agency/Community Centered board (CCB). Many people with IDD do not use a community centered board at all. And with Conflict Free Case Management coming, people need direct access to funds not thru a CCB.
      There is no requirement to be on medicaid, or a waiver. There is flexibility in its use (think summer programming, waitlisted individuals needing additional supports, or items to support living a full life).
     Residency and IDD disability determine the funding. If you run into challenges, contact me. In Denver they collect $17.5 Million annually. In Arapahoe/Douglas counties the total is a bit less. Did you know of this opportunity? Follow up and reach out if you hit roadblocks! If all the money goes to contracts,  suggest ways to get money to fund needs with least amount of overhead.

APS issues? What can YOU DO? You can help Hit the PAUSE button.

1. First off, if you or anyone you know gets APS involved in their lives, tell them to refuse interviews, LAWYER UP and always  have their  attorney present. Those who have gotten counsel have halted the lawless actions of county APS. Those who knew they had "nothing to hide" and cooperated, lost out in the end, with APS gaining emergency and ongoing guardianship. As one local civil rights attorney said: "APS and their actions are LAWLESS!" Contact me if issues getting legal representation.

2. Get involved in active work to PAUSE this APS Trainwreck of Terror.  See options to listen, learn and comment. Telephone call in allows for full anonymity.

3. If you or someone you care about is involved with APS, contact me offline to share the situation. I will keep identities in confidence.

Learn about Adult Protective Services, Remote options!
3 Evening Denver Meetings Announced. 


Participate: After extended concerns  at the February State Board meeting, Colorado Department of Human Services will be hosting the following three evening meetings during the month of March to continue the stakeholder engagement process related to the APS Program and proposed rule revisions to be considered by the State Board of Human Services.  

Come to one or all, in person, on webinar or call in on the phone.

Meeting 1:APS Program Overview Meeting    Thursday, March 8th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5687295751834330626

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard to receive a guest badge. 

• Purpose:  Raise awareness of how the APS system operates, including the legal foundations, protection framework, roles and responsibilities of County Departments of Human Services and the State

• Format:  The APS leadership team will solicit questions, deliver an “APS 101” presentation, and engage in a dynamic question and answer session

• How you can help:  Send any questions you would like to have addressed to mindy.kemp@state.co.us

Meeting 2: APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 Review Meeting—Proposed changes related primarily to the addition of due process Tuesday, March 13th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:   https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2560135148858034690

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge.

• Purpose:  Gather feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 in advance of the State Board of Human Services second reading planned for April 6th 

• Format:  We will review the portions of the rule packet that feature new language and deletions to existing APS rules, discuss the rationale and request specific feedback on the proposed changes from stakeholders

• How you can help:  Please read the draft rule packet and bring your feedback to the meeting. The most recent version of APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-02. This version is dated 2.21.18. 

Meeting 3: APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 Review Meeting —Proposed revisions to APS rules related primarily to the process for CAPS background checks Wednesday, March 28th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/216150081276809986

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge.

• Purpose:  Gather stakeholder feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 in advance of the State Board initial reading planned for May 4th 

• Format:  We will review the portions of the rule that feature proposed additions of language and deletions, discussing the rationale and requesting specific feedback from stakeholders

• How you can help:  Please read the draft rule packet and bring your feedback to the meeting. The Department is in the process of finalizing this draft rule packet and will post the document in the meeting notice on the CDHS Public Meetings Calendar for this meeting when it is finalized at:  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration

 

 

Time to hit the PAUSE BUTTON

Time to hit the PAUSE button on this Run Away train called the Adult Protective Services Registry, a Data System check of Abuse Neglect! It is headed to a derailment if the CAPS registry goes active per HB17-1284.


HB17-1284 had many NO votes**, and for good reasons. The CAPS registry is scheduled to go active on July 1, 2018:

1. There is No Due Process, a constitutional right under both the 5th and 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, that no one shall be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

2. The CAPS registry is essentially a Blacklist; Blacklists are illegal in Colorado State Statute.

3. Many in the IDD service world as well as doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, daycares and school systems are concerned that they may be in the CAPS system and not even know it, since the process is secretive and APS reports/records are not available for anyone to see, even the persons directly involved! 

4. Barrier to hiring: The 10 day delay in waiting on the CDHS registry CAPS review in hiring,  will be a barrier to good applicants. Many will take another job or not bother applying at all, if they need work immediately.

5. There are no checks and balance to ensure that the State oversight is sufficient on local county APS units.

6. The State should hit the PAUSE button and re-evaluate BEFORE the CAPS is set to go active on July 1, 2018. 

** Final vote on HB17-1284 had  25 no votes in the House on final versions, and 10 no votes in the Senate. Details here under VOTES https://leg.colorado.gov/content/hb17-1284vote78910b


What can YOU DO? You can help Hit the PAUSE button.

1. First off, if you or anyone you know gets APS involved in their lives, tell them to refuse interviews, LAWYER UP and always  have the  attorney present. Those who have gotten counsel have halted the process. Those who knew they had "nothing to hide" and cooperated, lost out in the end, with APS gaining guardianship. As one local civil rights attorney said: "APS and their actions are LAWLESS!"

2. Get involved in active work to PAUSE this APS Train! See options below, call in allows anonymity.

3. If you or someone you care for is involved with APS, contact me offline to share the situation. I will keep identities in confidence.


This Friday March 2, The State Board of CO Department of Human Services (CDHS) rule making body will  meet at 8:30am for a work session at 1575 Sherman Street Denver,  with a presentation about  Due Process for Child Welfare. APS is being inappropriately modeled after the very broken Child Welfare system, so this does affect APS.

At 10am the State Board has regular meeting, which does have an early general open public comment period for anything not on agenda. Agenda for March 2 and document at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1X2Iy0uWuc8b-RZSv81K6ZSQOOv41eXQB

For the 10am meeting, there is audio streaming: https://app.gotomeeting.com/?meetingId=758645967

Also mark your calendar for Friday April 6, 8:30 work session with APS presentation and 10am State board meeting. Denver CDHS location.


Participate: After extended concerns  at the February State Board meeting, Colorado Department of Human Services will be hosting the following three evening meetings during the month of March to continue the stakeholder engagement process related to the APS Program and proposed rule revisions to be considered by the State Board of Human Services.  

Come to one or all, in person, on webinar or call in on the phone.

Meeting 1:APS Program Overview Meeting    Thursday, March 8th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5687295751834330626

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard to receive a guest badge. 

• Purpose:  Raise awareness of how the APS system operates, including the legal foundations, protection framework, roles and responsibilities of County Departments of Human Services and the State

• Format:  The APS leadership team will solicit questions, deliver an “APS 101” presentation, and engage in a dynamic question and answer session

• How you can help:  Send any questions you would like to have addressed to mindy.kemp@state.co.us

Meeting 2: APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 Review Meeting—Proposed changes related primarily to the addition of due process

Tuesday, March 13th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:   https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2560135148858034690

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge.

• Purpose:  Gather feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 in advance of the State Board of Human Services second reading planned for April 6th 

• Format:  We will review the portions of the rule packet that feature new language and deletions to existing APS rules, discuss the rationale and request specific feedback on the proposed changes from stakeholders

• How you can help:  Please read the draft rule packet and bring your feedback to the meeting. The most recent version of APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-02. This version is dated 2.21.18. 

Meeting 3: APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 Review Meeting —Proposed revisions to APS rules related primarily to the process for CAPS background checks

Wednesday, March 28th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/216150081276809986

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge.

• Purpose:  Gather stakeholder feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 in advance of the State Board initial reading planned for May 4th 

• Format:  We will review the portions of the rule that feature proposed additions of language and deletions, discussing the rationale and requesting specific feedback from stakeholders

• How you can help:  Please read the draft rule packet and bring your feedback to the meeting. The Department is in the process of finalizing this draft rule packet and will post the document in the meeting notice on the CDHS Public Meetings Calendar for this meeting when it is finalized at:  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration

 

Meeting 1:APS Program Overview Meeting    Thursday, March 8th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5687295751834330626

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard to receive a guest badge. 

• Purpose:  Raise awareness of how the APS system operates, including the legal foundations, protection framework, roles and responsibilities of County Departments of Human Services and the State

• Format:  The APS leadership team will solicit questions, deliver an “APS 101” presentation, and engage in a dynamic question and answer session

• How you can help:  Send any questions you would like to have addressed by email to mindy.kemp@state.co.us

Meeting 2: APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 Review Meeting—Proposed changes related primarily to the addition of due process

Tuesday, March 13th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:   https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2560135148858034690

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge.

• Purpose:  Gather feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-02 in advance of the State Board of Human Services second reading planned for April 6th 

• Format:  We will review the portions of the rule packet that feature new language and deletions to existing APS rules, discuss the rationale and request specific feedback on the proposed changes from stakeholders

• How you can help:  Please read the draft rule packet and bring your feedback to the meeting. The most recent version of APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-02. This version is dated 2.21.18. 

Meeting 3: APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 Review Meeting —Proposed revisions to APS rules related primarily to the process for CAPS background checks

Wednesday, March 28th, 5:30-7:30pm, CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver Conf Room 4A/B

Call in option:  1-302-202-1110 access code 171769  Link to register for the webinar:    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/216150081276809986

Note: For those attending in person, please plan to arrive a few minutes early and bring a photo ID to sign in with the security guard and receive a guest badge.

• Purpose:  Gather stakeholder feedback on Draft Rule Packet 17-06-26-03 in advance of the State Board initial reading planned for May 4th 

• Format:  We will review the portions of the rule that feature proposed additions of language and deletions, discussing the rationale and requesting specific feedback from stakeholders

• How you can help:  Please read the draft rule packet and bring your feedback to the meeting. The Department is in the process of finalizing this draft rule packet and will post the document in the meeting notice on the CDHS Public Meetings Calendar for this meeting when it is finalized at:  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration


Rule making for APS is now linked to the Aging and Adult SubPAC (Policy Advisory Committee), a critical meeting for our community. Call in option,  303.636-2017

10:45am Aging and Adult SubPAC Meeting

Thursday  March 8, 10:45am – 12:45pm

Arapahoe County DHS, 14980 E Alameda Dr, Aurora, CO 80012, USA 3rd floor

Agenda topics for this meeting will include:

Overview of the Role of the Governor's Senior Advisor on Aging

APS Task Group and APS Allocations Task Group Updates

Review of APS Rule Packet 17-06-26-03

Differential Response Discussion

 


APRIL/MAY: APS Task Group meetings

The agenda has the date, time, location and call in number and webinar registration link on top.  

April 12, 2018 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

and May 16, 2018- 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

1575 Sherman St. 

8th Floor C-Stat Room

Denver, CO 80203

You can get to this information on the APS Task Group page with Agendas and documents, etc  at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration/adult-protective-services-task-group

State Board urged CDHS to have an open and inclusive stakeholder process in rule making for Adult Protective Services. Due Process is critical.

 We got their attention!

February 10, 2018

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

      Adult Protective Services' (APS) lawless operations are tearing apart loving families/living situations with ridiculous accusations, ignoring doctors' orders, gaining APS emergency guardianship when family/friends are interested and stealing disabled people's liberty as well as their civil rights. Chairman of the State CDHS Board, David Ervin, CEO of The Resource Exchange cautioned CDHS and APS to have an "an open and inclusive stakeholder process" with rule making and his desire "to underscore the need for caution".

    On February 2, 2018 in Fort Collins, the State Board of Colorado Human Services met to promulgate rules to implement statutory changes from legislation. The State Board heard justifications from Mindy Kemp, Director, Division of Aging and Adult Services. She summarized the January 25, 2018 stakeholder meeting, held after community requests to review the Proposed Rule Packets. 

    The February 2 discussion was rich in content, dialogue and desire to grasp the severe negative unintended consequences  of this whole APS debacle. It is clear that the State APS unit has many issues and may even be promulgating rules that are not required by statute.

Big Progress at Feb 2 meeting

   The State Board heard testimony by two volunteer stakeholders on final reading of APS rule packet 1 and agreed that the collection of Social Security numbers at initial contact was concerning. After discussion, they removed the social security number from the rule in the motion, second and voted affirmatively on the rest of the rule packet #1. Members agreed there are other ways to identify people than to collect that personal data which poses security risks since it is shared in reports.

    A robust discussion followed on the initial reading of APS rule packet #2. The overall tone from both stakeholders, as well as  the Board, was great concern about due process and severity levels. The Department staff (Mark Wester, Mindy Kemp, Peg Rodgers) gave answers which were dismissive, defensive and justified rules based on Child Welfare rules, even though statutes are not requiring such rules for either Child Welfare or APS. Mr. McCombs was there from the Attorney General's office as well for clarification. 

    Board member Bernard Buescher, a former state legislator and the former Secretary of State, stated he was very concerned about statutes as roadblocks to constitutional rights”. He also shared that this state supervised,   but county implemented APS conundrum was the "toughest discussion" since he has been on the board. 

     LaPlata County Commissioner and State Board member Julie Westendorff  questioned the absence of a training requirement addressing cultural competency/disability specific approaches. She astutely noted the difference between an at risk adult and minor in child welfare system.

    Board member Ms. Taye-Channell, of Florence Crittenton Services,  did sense that there was a lack of trust in the community and asked, “what can we do to build training to build trust in the community?" She later expanded and shared, "Perform on what you say you will do… that is how to build trust." She also asked if persons are given a sheet with their rights when an investigation begins including due process, answer was "no". There is actually no notification of the start of an investigation in rule, only notification of substantiation.

    Board member Stephen Johnson,  a Larimer County Commissioner and former State Legislator, had concerns about the APS investigators also gaining emergency guardianships. He noted that courts indeed make the decision but "they look to APS for direction". Ms. Kemp agreed. A discussion followed about whether people would be "reluctant to file complaints due to fear of retribution" and members wanted specifics on the number of cases of emergency guardianships initiated by APS. 

    Board member Connie Rule, of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver made valuable analysis about the pitfalls of using Child Welfare as a model for much of the proposed rules for APS. "Encourage us not to use an existing system because it has been in place. While we don’t want to reinvent the wheel, sometimes it is time to reinvent the wheel."

APS #2 Packet also Delayed In n response to stakeholder request at the February 2, 2018 State Board meeting, CDHS ("The Department") is planning additional stakeholder sessions. They will delay second reading of APS #2 packet until April.  The department will provide education and information about APS as a program, review the current rule packet under consideration and answer any questions stakeholders have at that time. The Department plans to invite any State Board members who would like to attend these sessions.    

    The Department is preparing a presentation for the Board to review the components of the APS program and the manner in which it functions. CHDS will make presentation of APS program at the April 2018 meeting, during the ‘work session’ prior to the beginning of the meeting. The purpose is to provide additional context and an understanding of the APS program.

    The Department will delay the second reading of APS rule packet #2 until their April 6th, 2018 meeting in Kit Carson County, to afford enough time to have robust stakeholder meetings. Ms. Welch requested the board consider a standing state board meeting accommodation for remote telephone public comment for those unable to attend due to caregiving, disability, work or transportation. She is waiting to hear back on that. 

    The Department will provide the board with an APS update during the Board of Human Services meeting March 2nd in Denver. More information to follow. 

    Stakeholders requested the Board and Department consider how to make a "safe space" for the community to share experiences without fear of retaliation or judgement. As of this newsletter, there was no comment on this request. 

Links and more info

Links and more info

• APS Rule draft packets 1 & 2 is available to review

• Link to the Colorado  Dept. of Human Service State Board page: here

• Scroll down page halfway until  to Rule Making Session Agendas & Minutes

• Choose 2018-02-02 Agenda and Documents 

• APS rule packet one and two are labeled document 3 & 4 for the Board Meeting. 

• Audio recording (sorry, very poor quality) is also on the same link as agenda and documents.

• Additional APS Rule packets are being drafted as well. APS Task Group meets 9-12 Noon on Wednesday February 14 at 1575 Sherman Street if you are interested to come in-person. Also conference call Information: Dial 302-202-1110, access code 915771. Webinar Link: here 

• APS Task Group documents are here 

Suggestions if APS shows up:

• make sure you are very clear, state your name and say you need your lawyer with you before any conversation.

• ok to let them see the at risk adult and confirm no one is in direct harm

• do not allow them to isolate, talk to or interview anyone, especially the persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities

• this is for providers as well as families, there is a pattern of pressuring PASAs to allow private access to persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities 

• immediately call your lawyer or go  get "lawyered up". 

• it is best speak with APS only with your legal representation present. It is your right. 

• better safe than sorry! 

• you do need legal representation, even when you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, is not advised to talk without counsel. 

• current APS actions are lawless, and any voluntary cooperation with APS, although it seems the right thing to do, can and likely will be twisted around and used against you

Next Steps: 

• The stakeholder meetings will be determined and shared in this newsletter. If you have more information to share, contact with a reply to this email.

• The delay and time for the board to learn and reflect, is progress in slowing down the train, before the wreck. 

• Have hope and get involved to make sure the system has due process and safeguards for those falsely substantiated as perpetrators.

• Make sure the focus is on getting the bad players, and protecting at risk adults.

• If you have a story, contact me. I can protect identifiers when I share your story.

• Come out of the shadows don't let shame or fear isolate you. If you have been falsely accused and unsure what to do, you are not alone. 

• Feel free to forward this email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

State Board of Colorado Dept of Human Services 2/2

State Board of Colorado Dept of Human Services meets on Friday Feb 2nd, 10am at the Larimer County Courthouse Offices, 200 W. Oak Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524. 
*This board is the Rule Making body for Colorado's Department of Human Services (CDHS). *They update rules in the executive branch to come into alignment with changes to state Statute from the Legislative branch. They are only over civil issues. The judicial branch is over criminal charges/cases.

*Statewide concerns about unchecked power of local County APS units.
*State APS helps fund the local APS units, and provides supervision and oversight.
*However local APS staff are employed by the county. 
*Reports from across the state indicate a wide local variance of operations and interpretations. Having 64 different counties doing it 64 different ways is not fair or equitable. The State rules, regs and statutes should be applied in a fair and even handed manner across our State. 
*Many question the function of State CDHS oversight and supervision. 
*Open public comment is available, in person only,  for each agenda item 

*The Public can listen remotely, via Go To Meeting.  The audio is also archived.

https://app.gotomeeting.com/?meetingId=758645967

*The board likes to limit comment to changes in rule.

https://drive.google.com/drive/mobile/folders/1zEfpLyhefMb3Fsv-CPlHOL0TaTWnJk7F

*Here is info on state board website https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1zEfpLyhefMb3Fsv-CPlHOL0TaTWnJk7F 
*Docs 3&4 for the Feb 2 meeting are the rules up for review regarding Adult Protection Agency (APS). https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration/state-board-human-services

*Feel free to share this announcement as well!
*More information on APS and past newsletters with individual cases are archived under news,  at my website www.changecoiodd.com.
 

Rules for APS are being promulgated, affecting at-risk adults, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Many in the community are being victimized by APS even in hospital rooms and the safety of their own homes. APS is using KGB tactics, showing up without just cause or warrants, gathering social security numbers and stripping people of their rights via emergency guardianship.

Many feel unable to go into the community for fear of overzealous mandatory reporting . It is time to leave the shadows and move past fear and give our input. Afraid of retribution? Can be done anonymously by listening on the phone, and texting me in real time at 720-436-4121, or emailing me your feedback on proposed rules. Make sure you read the rules, link below.

Why ? The purpose of this meeting on 1/25/18 is to seek feedback from community stakeholders on the proposed changes to Adult Protective Services (APS) Rules outlined in APS Rule Packet #1 which will go to the State Board of Human Services (CDHS) for final review on February 2nd and APS Rule Packet #2 which will go to the State Board of Human Services for first reading on February 2nd.

See links for documents of proposed rules and changes, at the bottom of this email.

What are rules? The legislature passed several bills over the last sessions that direct Colorado Department of Human Services the authority to add or change rules to come into alignment with the changed or new statute. The State Board of CHDS These rules drive department operations and procedures. If you prefer to share your feedback to me, and I can share anonymously, just reply to this newsletter to share with me. 


When? The meeting is on Thursday January 25, 5:30-7:00pm

How? Three ways to participate:

In person downtown Denver, call-in, or preregister for webinar.
In Person: Colorado Department of Human Services, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver
in the 8th Floor C-Stat Conference Room. The State board of CDHS is currently in the midst of "promulgating" (writing and approving rules) for APS using recent legislation and current statute as their guides. 

There is metered on-street parking and several pay-for-parking lots in the area. For those attending in person, they will need a photo ID to sign in at the security desk to receive a badge to enter the building.

Remote participation  For those that would like to attend via phone and/or webinar, the information to call in is 302-202-1110, passcode 171769. You can mute your phone and stay anonymous.

Register for Webinar and to register for the webinar the link is https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1621008181777061378.


Prepare for Meeting and to discuss rules being considered

Rule packets (17-16-26-01 and 17-16-26-02). Stakeholders that would like a hard copy are asked to print and bring to the meeting.(I will request some are printed for the meeting by CDHS  for those unable to print own copies.) There are three files total to examine:

Link  to review document #1 (Look for file: Doc1 IR #1 APS 17-6-26-01 Packet) from Dec 1, 2017 CHDS Board meeting http://bit.ly/2CXJWXK .

Link to Rule packet #2 (look for file: Rule Packet #2 11.29.17 Pdf)  and third item:  DRAFT OM for Severity Levels 11.28 (look for file: DRAFT OM Severity Levels 11.28.pdf), the two APS documents from Dec 5, 2017 APS task group meeting both located at:  http://bit.ly/2myaZTB    

If you wish to see the referenced legislation, they are available by searching by bill number at http://leg.colorado.gov/bills .
Access to current Colorado Revised Statute is at http://bit.ly/2rkp7Vm.

CO Adult Protective Services (APS) actions are "lawless" according to one civil rights attorney

What to do when Adult Protective Services (APS) shows up at your door,  day program or other setting.

By Maureen Welch, 

Volunteer Activist and Mother to child receiving Colorado Medicaid waiver services

What triggers an APS visit? 

• There is a pattern of APS targeting Individuals with Intellectual and Developmentally Disabilities (IWIDD)  who are their own guardians. Some families are choosing to apply for guardianship now, as a precaution, if they had not already started that process. 

• At least one Community Centered Board(CCB) is requiring parents who are applying for emergency 24/7 care via Developmental Disability HCBS waiver to “check a box” stating they are neglecting their child. This is not a good idea, as it may result in a call to APS for investigation.

• Critical incident reports are triggering visits from APS. It appears the CCB calls into APS for a few small things like arriving to day program with some drool on their shirt.  Several CCBs report that they have been pressured multiple times, by a Director at the state’s Medicaid agency, Health Care Policy and Financing, to call a report into APS.

• Several law enforcement officers have shown up claiming that APS has falsely reported that the IWIDD has “visible cuts and bruises”, only to justify a visit. More than one county has realized the reports were fabricated, and being used for harassment. Law enforcement told APS they would not further respond after their initial check, especially after finding that the IWIDD were indeed happy, safe and healthy.


2. What to do when APS shows up? 

• Through the door, ask if they have a warrant. You do not have to let them into your home without a warrant. Often they arrive with someone from local law enforcement (LLE).

• APS are not law enforcement officers, they are investigators for a State program. APS operates at the county level with state funding from Colorado Department of Human Services. 

• Their training consists of short few days of “academy training” and on the job with other APS employees. 

• Exercise your right to have an attorney present! Then immediately get one! 

• Read more about your rights at the ACLU website https://aclu-co.org/know-your-rights/ 

• The fourth amendment of the US Constitution: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


3. Be very careful with any information shared

• Respect confidentiality of personal information.

• You are not obligated to share personal information like dates of birth, social security number or names of friends, family or acquaintances.

• Under no circumstances should APS be allowed to isolate the IWIDD for private interviewing. It has been reported that APS traps the person, unlawfully detains them without an attorney or anyone to assist, twists things around, asks confusing questions and keeps them isolated in a room until they sign documents, which they do not understand. APS refuses to release these documents, signed or blank, after forcing the IWIDD to sign it.  

• APS is very creative in how they question/pressure people. The intent of APS is to remove the person and get emergency guardianship. 

• Some cases report that people wanted to be “helpful” with information about clients’ family members and contacts, only to find out APS harasses them and has even charged them also with abuse and neglect as well. 

• Law Enforcement officers in the past have instructed APS to leave the property, after seeing the client was safe and healthy, and the report of injuries were a fabrication. The officer sent APS away since they did not have a warrant and immediate danger was ruled out.

• Colorado is a “one party consent” recording state, meaning it is legal if just one person in the conversation wants to record it. Many feel a recording of an interaction is the best record possible for documentation in the future. Phones or small digital recorders are convenient tools.


4. What happens once an “APS investigation” is opened?

• It has been shared with me that after APS gets guardianship, the CCB calls the Program Approved Service Agency (PASA or Direct Service Provider Agency)  and  pressures them to move the residential placement. The IWIDD is moved, often against their will to another residential setting.

• Often the new residential setting is far away from day program or employment, so that is changed also. Their entire world is turned upside down. 

• There is little to no communication from APS to the alleged perpetrator(s). Per APS draft rules, “It is important to note that the perpetrator’s intent is not a factor in making a finding”.

• Mandatory reporting rules state that mere “suspicion” is sufficient to make a report to APS.

• After the client  signs the APS document, APS gains “emergency guardianship”. Within a few days, there is a court proceeding and APS gains guardianship. Then the judge has deferred to APS, has often not allowed the attorney for the IWIDD or family to speak. 

• At the court proceeding, APS has implied the existence of overwhelming evidence of abuse or neglect when the investigation had hardly been opened. Guardianship is frequently awarded to APS. This has happened even when family members desired to apply to serve as guardian, although the judge did not allow anyone except APS to speak. 

• It is important to note that the State’s own Public Guardianship Advisory Group in their report deemed it a conflict of interest for APS to have guardianship. 

• When a IWIDD has retained an attorney, APS claims the client is incompetent to retain legal counsel. However, APS simultaneously claims the same individual was competent enough to sign a paper which APS forced upon them! 

• The pattern from many counties has been reported that after signing the paper, APS gains emergency guardianships. Within a few days, there is a court proceeding and APS gains guardianship. Then the judge defers to APS, has often not allowed the individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IWIDD) or family speak, and guardianship is awarded to APS, sometimes overriding family members willingness to be guardian. APS during these court proceedings twists things around so it appears there is overwhelming evidence from investigations when people have not even been interviewed yet.

• It is important to note that the State’s own Public Guardianship Advisory Group has deemed it a conflict of interest for APS to have guardianship. When a IWIDD has retained an attorney, APS then claims the client is incompetent to chose their counsel, although APS claimed the individual was competent enough to sign a paper which APS forced upon them.


5. What does it take for Abuse/Neglect to be “substantiated”?

• APS is working currently without rules however the proposed rules state a “greater than 50% chance of the report happening is enough to substantiate”. 

• That manner of determining a person’s future with an abuse neglect charge is arbitrary and appears more like a weather report more than a legal determination by the State!

• Many under “investigation” report going months without hearing anything from APS.

• The proposed rules state that once a case is substantiated, a level of severity will be determined and that person will be placed on the Colorado Adult Protective Services registry (CAPS) indefinitely. That registry is for potential employers to use for background checks.

 


6. What can you do to protect yourself?

• Do not let APS into your home or program. Know your rights.

• State your name and nothing more. Don't talk to them any further.

• Get a lawyer. Have them do all the talking. 

• It is wise to discuss procedures with families, neighbors and service providers to be prepared knowing procedure for a visit from APS and or Law Enforcement.


7. Participate and express your concerns

• Contact your local and state elected officials to raise awareness.

• Attend the State Board at CDHS on Feb 2,2018 and sign up to make public comment about APS lawlessness. More info at http://bit.ly/2mT1CNy 

• Call-in or attend the APS Stakeholder rule making review meeting. The meeting will take place on Thursday, January 25, 5:30-7:00pm at CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver in the 8th Floor C-Stat Conference Room. CDHS is currently in the midst of "promulgating" (writing and approving rules) for APS using recent legislation and current statute as their guides. 

The purpose of this meeting is to seek feedback from community stakeholders on the proposed changes to APS Rules outlined in APS Rule Packet #1 which will go to the State Board of Human Services for final review on February 2nd and APS Rule Packet #2 which will go to the State Board of Human Services for first reading on February 2nd. Please feel free to forward this information to your contacts. 

◦ There is metered on-street parking and several pay-for-parking lots in the area. For those attending in person, they will need a photo ID to sign in at the security desk to receive a badge to enter the building. 

For those that would like to attend via phone and/or webinar, the information to call in is 302-202-1110, passcode 171769 and to register for the webinar the link is https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1621008181777061378.

◦ Rule packets (17-16-26-01 and 17-16-26-02). Stakeholders that would like a hard copy are asked to print and bring to the meeting.(I will request some are printed for the meeting by CDHS  for those unable to print own copies.

◦ Link  to review document #1 (Rule making packet #1 "DOC 1") from Dec 1, 2017 CHDS Board meeting http://bit.ly/2CXJWXK . Link to Rule packet #2 and DRAFT OM for Severity Levels 11.28 , the two APS documents from Dec 5, 2017 APS task group meeting http://bit.ly/2myaZTB    

◦ If you wish to see the referenced legislation, they are available by searching by bill number at http://leg.colorado.gov/bills . Access to current Colorado Revised Statute is at http://bit.ly/2rkp7Vm.


8. How can this lawlessness be happening? 

• Embarrassment or shame are keeping many in the shadows. Now is the time to be outraged. 

• The rules for the multiple pieces of legislation that created this lawlessness are not yet promulgated. It appears they are “winging it” as they go. 

• Rules, regs and statutes seems to “not apply”. 

• People cooperate with APS since they know they are innocent of abuse and neglect.

• One civil rights attorney even referred to this APS guardianship process as “lawless”. 

• There is a new Office of Public Guardianship in formation in the Judicial Branch, with a projected eventual annual budget over $7M with a state funded staff of 81 full time employees! It could be  that this artificial “need” of IWIDD will be used to justify emergency state “supplemental” funding. 

• Inherent in the conflict of interest with APS is that guardians determine placement for services which drives dollars to their preferred providers, often via CCB recommendations. 

 

CHDS is kidnapping our Ioved ones

State of CO is kidnapping the Intellectually and Dev Disabled (IDD), Stakeholder meeting 1/25, Arbitrary mandatory reporting of Abuse and Neglect

Violating individual civil rights, forcing IDD to sign papers and refusing access legal counsel

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer  

This is a short synopsis of the civil rights issues affecting vulnerable at-risk adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) by the CO Department of Human Services- Adult Protective Services (APS) who are aggressively, and lawlessly gaining guardianship over IDD individuals.

Dozens of Stories have come to our attention. And more concerned community members are reaching out daily.

IDD adults are forced, and coerced during interrogations. APS shows up, often at day program without any court order, the individuals with IDD are isolated in rooms with strangers telling them they cannot leave until they sign a paper. After signing, they become clients of APS and their rights are then under State authority. APS then moves forward with emergency guardianship. No one is allowed to see these forms (signed or blank). APS requires a court order. 

They are then kidnapped by APS investigators (without a court order), forcibly removed from their current residence, and against their will are placed at other residential host homes and day programs. 

All of their rights delineated in statute are then revoked, including the right to seek legal counsel.

Sometimes APS overrides current guardianships due to the abuse and neglect investigation with an emergency guardianship. Then APS then gets a judge to award them guardianship in a court process. It appears the courts prefer to listen to APS over the guardian and the people who most know the person with IDD. Often months go by with no update to involved parties. 

What can we do? It is not to late for input to the rule making process. Colorado Department Human Services (CDHS) is a department in the executive branch which gets rule making authority from the Legislature. You can contact me by replying to this email. 

CDHS is currently in the midst of "promulgating" (writing and approving rules) for APS using recent legislation and current statute as their guides.  There is opportunity to provide stakeholder input to proposed rules before the State Board at CDHS votes. At the December 5, 2017, I asked for a delay to create time to review and have the impacted Coloradans have an opportunity to meet in a stakeholder meeting. It is scheduled for January 25th 5:30-7pm at CDHS, details below. 

Below please find the details for the CDHS Stakeholder Meeting on January 25th. If you prefer to share input with me to bring to the meeting and keep your identifiers confidential, please reply to this email. The rules are the directives by which the department proceeds so they read very technically, however we can ask for clarification if they are not clear.

The purpose of this meeting is to seek feedback from community stakeholders on the proposed changes to APS Rules outlined in APS Rule Packet #1 which will go to the State Board of Human Services for final review on February 2nd and APS Rule Packet #2 which will go to the State Board of Human Services for first reading on February 2nd. Please feel free to forward this information to your contacts. 

The meeting will take place on Thursday, January 25, 5:30-7:00pm at CDHS, 1575 Sherman Street, Denver in the 8th Floor CStat Conference Room. There is metered on-street parking and several pay-for-parking lots in the area. For those attending in person, they will need a photo ID to sign in at the security desk to receive a badge to enter the building. For those that would like to attend via phone and/or webinar, the information to call in is 302-202-1110, passcode 171769 and to register for the webinar the link is  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1621008181777061378

Rule packets (17-16-26-01 and 17-16-26-02). Stakeholders that would like a hard copy are asked to print and bring to the meeting.(I will request some are printed for the meeting by CDHS  for those unable to print own copies.) 

LInk  to review document #1 (Rule making packet #1 "DOC 1") from Dec 1, 2017 CHDS Board meeting http://bit.ly/2CXJWXK 

Link to Rule packet #2 and DRAFT OM for Severity Levels 11.28 , the two APS documents from Dec 5, 2017 APS task group meeting. http://bit.ly/2myaZTB 

If you wish to see the referenced legislation, they are available by searching by bill number at http://leg.colorado.gov/bills . Access to current Colorado Revised Statute is at https://leg.colorado.gov/agencies/office-legislative-legal-services/colorado-revised-statutes .

If stakeholders are unable to attend this meeting but would like to provide feedback on either of these rule packets for the Department's consideration, they may either email or call me, Mindy, at the contact information listed below and we will take the feedback into consideration. 
(OR you can email to me, Maureen by replying to this email- I can keep confidential your identifiers)

Mindy Kemp , Director  Division of Aging and Adult Services

P: 303-866-4927  C: 720-626-9627 F: 303-866-2977 1575 Sherman Street Denver, CO 80203

mindy.kemp@state.co.us    www.colorado.gov/cdhs

Kidnapping of IDD individuals Seeking Stories

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer activist and Mom to an HCBS waiver recipient

Seeking stories Adult Protective Services (APS) kidnapping people with Intellectual Dev. Disabilities under MANE

I have received dozens across state and want more. Send me information. Confidential.

If you or someone you know has been victimized by this arbitrary overreach and kidnapping with guardianship as a goal, please send them my way. Were you involved as a provider or family member? I will protect names and identifiers. 

More information with tactics and suggested responses will be forthcoming. Stories are already in from across the State of Colorado. It is widespread and often retaliatory. The shame often keeps people silent but NOW is the time to speak up. Providers and families have details that can help this injustice. 

Many cases have engaged attorneys.  Now is the time to unite and demand change.

I hope to hear from many more, very soon. Stay tuned! 

Maureen Welch 720-436-4121 voice or text and mpwelchco@gmail.com

RMHS lacks Critical Cultural Competencies*. It is too risky to hand over control of  $17 Million of Denver Tax Money to them. 

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist and Parent of a participant at RMHS
www.changecoidd.com  Self Published

Denver Human Services (DHS)  has extended their contract 6 months, with City Council support,  for 1/1/18- 6/30/2018 for a maximum of $7.5 Million.

This six month window is a ideal time for Denver to consider alternatives to move from a contract to a more participant directed process:  allow Denver Residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to self direct funds to meet their unique needs. This paradigm shift is person centered, community focused and culturally sensitive. The most dire unmet needs for prioritization are services for those on the adult DD wait list. Mill levy should first fund those gaps in services for those needing but unable to receive 24/7 care through Medicaid Waivers. Use direct mill levy funds for services typically funded with the DD waiver: residential/housing, medical/dental care,  community access, supported employment and transportation.

1. Read the Body Language- the disdain and contempt for varied viewpoints is clear.

• RMHS Chief Program Officer Ford Allison was in the audience chairs, curled up in the opposite corner seated on a chair, head down, taking notes. Tension was in the air.

• Chair of the CAC meeting, Pam Bisceglia, of Advocacy Denver immediately set ground rules stating guests could not speak until the very end. The agenda had no information about this nor did it list an agenda time for public comment.

• Despite offers from members to participate more actively, RMHS continues operate in isolation, making their own funding decisions. Then they proceed to inform the council after the fact. It is a rubber stamp.

• Several CAC members have expressed concern that they are not consulted for their expertise or input regarding program funding. Yet, RMHS uses their name and organization's reputation as members. One member shared that when she is out  in the community, people rightfully assume she has real input into the millions in funding, when she in fact has little to none.

• When a CAC member commented on the process, the defensiveness from RMHS was noticeable. “I know you’ve said this before but I’m getting a different message and tone today” Shari Repinski, CEO. 

• During public comment, RMHS Chief Financial Officer John Wetherington, sitting at the conference table, physically turned his body from the conference table, so his back faced guests.  He avoided all eye contact. He countered comments in an aggressive, condescending tone. Several people commented at his overt hostility. 

2. This Community Advisory Council at RMHS  is the one body formed to “advise” RMHS regarding the $17 Million (2018 estimate) in Denver Tax Dollars. 

• It is supposed to meet every other month.

• RMHS often cancels or reschedules these only with days notice. 

• All meetings are held at RMHS offices on far East side of Denver at 3:30pm on a weekday, which excludes many with caregiving duties or transportation challenges.

• Meetings are not held in the communities most in need like Green Valley Ranch, Montbello and other underrepresented neighborhoods with great need for services.

• Awareness of the availability of mill levy funding is not high, in or out of the RMHS silo.

3. RMHS does not reflect the diverse community they serve. 

• The council lacks the linguistic, ethnic, economic diversity of the community they serve.

• The RMHS leadership team also lacks this representative diversity.

• This is a major weakness for a non profit advising $14Million+ in local tax dollars, when the communities with most financial challenges are not represented. 

• $17 Million in tax payer money is to benefit people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  However, only one person on the council is a participant in RMHS services

4. This Community Advisory Committee is simply a rubber stamp for the decisions already made by RMHS CEO Shari Repinski. 

• Members of the CAC are not called or consulted for their expertise before decisions are made.

• Participation in the Advisory council meeting is intentionally limited.

• Public participation is not allowed in real time during agenda time.

• Public comment is not on the agenda nor are expectations for guests.

• When a guest did attend, the Chair did allow add a comment time at the end of the December meeting.

• The community believes there needs to be more diverse and expert input.

• Treatment of guests is intentionally unpleasant, to discourage attendance and participation.

• The CAC agenda posted online does not list the phone call-in information or accommodation details for disability needs or translation service.

5. Conflict of Interest on Community Advisory Committee: Members can receive funding.

• Laradon, an organization with representation on the CAC, has received mill levy funding.

• The Board of DIrectors at Advocacy Denver, represented on the CAC, wisely had their  decided against accepting mill levy funding.

• Laradon and Overture both have representatives on the CAC. Both service agencies are members of the Alliance, a membership organization which lobbies against the very system changes that both the federal government and families/participants demand.

6. Private meeting after the meeting with DHS and RMHS?

• After all participants had left, RMHS leadership and two DHS employees, Justin Sykes, IDD Mill Levy Program Manager and Cynthia Hinojosa, DHS' senior internal auditor remained in the RMHS building for fifteen private minutes.

• Both DHS employees are funded with the Mill Levy Tax dollars set aside for DHS administration. They work for the taxpayers of Denver. 

• What was discussed in this private meeting?

• The optics on this "meeting after the meeting" are not good.

In conclusion, this meeting captures the smug contempt RMHS holds for true, open and participatory process.

 

It has been two years since the release of the Denver Auditor's Report citing major issues with these local public tax dollars. It is time to create something new. Now is the time. 

 

Give the power to the participant. If the RMHS services are so amazing, people will queue up to choose them,  with their self-directed dollars!

*RMHS Website info on CAC https://www.rmhumanservices.org/community-advisory-council 

**Cultural competence, the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures, helps to ensure the needs of all community members are addressed. “Culture” is a term that goes beyond just race or ethnicity. It can also refer to such characteristics as age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, income level, education, geographical location, or profession. (SAMSA http://bit.ly/2uLpGUW)

 

Denver Mill Levy It is too risky- $17 Million in Denver taxes for the disabled-all in hands of one non-profit? 

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

They take more than half for themselves!

 

News update -Denver City Council
                Denver City Council SAFE HOUSE committee members moved the six-month contract extension up to $7.5 Million (for January thru June 2018) with Rocky Mountain Human Services from the consent calendar onto the agenda for discussion at their December 13th committee meeting. The Denver Department of Human Services (DHS) is tasked with this property tax funding. The councilmembers' displeasure was clear regarding Denver Department of Human Services' handling of this contract with the Denver Community Centered Board, Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) They were not satisfied with RMHS’s third quarter report content and requested more information. 
            A top concern was RMHS’s lack of outreach and presence in the community, particularly in communities with more socioeconomic diversity and cultural needs. Councilwoman Gilmore shared that local neighborhood awareness and presence in her district  is sorely lacking. Many of her constituents could benefit from this funding, as the majority of residential host homes for IDD are in her district. Several  committee members requested additional and specific data, with breakdowns by demographics by council districts in the RMHS reports. The committee expressed frustration with lack of follow through on the promised items needs-assessment plan from DHS. The committee requested a timeline from Department of Human Services (DHS) for next steps and voted to move the agenda item forward to full City Council. It was heard at the December 18th City Council meeting.
            Denver Human Services (DHS) must end their contracting with Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) for the mill levy for residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Residents can and should self-direct use of funds. Historically RMHS has had five-year contracts with DHS. However, there were enough concerns that on December 13, 2017 at the Denver SAFE House committee approved a six-month extension to the current contract, with a few minor changes. The Council members expressed concerns at the lack of detail in the third quarter report, in addition to a lack of community awareness across Denver. There were questions about using this funding for new services and companies,  while ignoring clients’ basic needs.
            Denver residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities know their needs, and should he able to self-direct the funds, and “vote with their dollars. It is best practice to respect the wants and needs of every individual. Much like a flexible spending account, categories and parameters of uses can be pre-approved for expenditure with less than half the administrative overhead at RMHS.
            Direct to the people in need, without the overhead. RMHS takes $2.5M off the top for their 15% overhead. And then the direct services subcontractor has overhead and marketing costs, reducing the amount one more time, with less reaching the person with IDD. A flex plan cost overhead runs under 7%, per an employee benefits company. Flex plans embrace best practice of individualized “person or patient centeredness”.

Solution: Contract with a company to use Flex Spending Plan
            Mill levy funds should prioritize meeting basic needs of this population first. Make funding available to individuals in need of appropriate housing and 24/7supports. Assist with medical and dental needs with premiums and copays. That was the intent of the initiative, to meet needs of the IDD, not to pad a local non-profit’s bottom line with $2.5 in overhead, and use almost half the mill levy for their programs.
             Best practices assume the competence of individuals with disabilities to self-identify their needs. A flex plan allows client control of funding.  Priority can be granted to have funding to those with greatest need, like those on the waitlist or those with extra-ordinary needs which exceed their service plans. It would have a one-time overhead cost for administration, at overall cost of less than 7%, per a flex plan administration company.

Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) lacks cultural competence
“Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. In practice, both individuals and organizations can be culturally competent. Culture must be considered at every step of the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). “Culture” is a term that goes beyond just race or ethnicity. It can also refer to such characteristics as age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, income level, education, geographical location, or profession.”
Learn more about the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health’s National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care: A Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice.
https://www.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/clas/blueprint  
                RMHS claims their Community Advisory Council (CAC) has “advisory input” regarding mill levy funding. But the reality is that it is a rubber stamp. The council finds out everything after the fact. They are not informed of meetings at the city to participate. The council lacks the cultural diversity reflective of the Denver community and includes only one person who has an intellectual/developmental disability! The expenditures are made by a few RMHS staffers, primarily Shari Repinski, CEO and her staff in the Strategy and Innovation Department. Approximately half the annual funding, totaling $7 Million are expended through their organization, RMHS.
                Members of the public who desire to participate at the CAC have very little opportunity. The website agenda omits the call-in information and the chair now disallows non-voting members from participating in the meeting. For the December 2017 meeting, there was not a public comment time on the agenda. It was offered by the chair.  Ironically, Denver Human Services proposes paying a consultant to identify priorities with an expensive “needs assessment”, when community is right there at these meetings! There is no need for this costly, time consuming process. Let people access the funding and “vote with their dollars”.
                CAC meetings are held at 3:30pm on a weekday, at the RMHS offices and are often canceled days before they scheduled. Some guests are treated poorly when they do attend. On December 20, RMHS Chief Financial Officer John Wetherington physically turned his body away from guests, refusing to make eye contact and making in derogatory comments in a paternal tone, to guests when they contributed to the discussion. The optics of this experience perfectly represents the way RMHS views community input. They don't engage the public and they don't meet people where they are at, in the community. They feel they know better than the community

Ableism must be acknowledged and addressed
            Ableism is a form of discrimination or prejudice against individuals with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities that is characterized by the belief that these individuals need to be fixed or cannot function as full members of society (Castañeda & Peters, 2000). As a result of these assumptions, individuals with disabilities are commonly viewed as being abnormal rather than as members of a distinct minority community (Olkin & Pledger, 2003; Reid & Knight, 2006). Because disability status has been viewed as a defect rather than a dimension of difference, disability has not been widely recognized as a multicultural concern by the general public as well as by counselor educators and practitioners.
Laura Smith, Pamela F. Foley, and Michael P. Chaney, “Addressing Classism, Ableism, and Heterosexism in Counselor Education”, Journal of Counseling & Development, Summer 2008, Volume 86, pp 303-309.
            The current mechanism for this IDD mill levy funding has all decision making by Shari Repinski, CEO of RMHS and her Department of Strategy and Innovation. RMHS to determine programs and priority areas funded, because they believe they know needs better than the client themselves. That is ableism.  Individuals with IDD and their teams are fully capable self-directing to their needs, via supported decision making. The least dangerous assumption is to presume competence of individuals with disabilities.

Raising unnecessary fears
            RMHS alerted mill levy recipients this Fall that mill levy funds are in jeopardy and in turn, told the clients that “their program was in peril”. That is disingenuous and designed to promote dependence upon RMHS when the funds actually are public dollars and not theirs.
            $17Million of property tax will be collected by Denver in 2018, regardless of how the funds are contracted for disbursement.  It is right and good that leaders in Denver exercise caution and demand more accountability. Soon there will be Conflict Free Case Management for Medicaid HCBS waivers, coming down from the Federal Rule into the State and now local level. More management agencies will open in Denver. RMHS won’t have the present monopoly.  The flex plan fits in an environment of choice and person-centeredness.
            Denver voters passed Initiative 100 for the mill levy in 2003. The campaign focused on helping the “most vulnerable due to the waitlist”. At that time, there were three waitlists these waivers. Now, there is just one waitlist. Use funding to address basic needs and those whose extra-ordinary needs exceed their services plans. RMHS contract is vague on expenditure priorities and reporting requirements.

End archaic practices of Agencies and non-profits making decisions for the “most vulnerable”.

Get more money to the individuals, use automation for efficiency and real time data on utilization.

Implement individual Flexible Spending Plans with estimated costs less than 7% overhead.

Let individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities determine their own individual needs and self-direct the funding, which comes from Denver Property Taxes.

Adult Protective Services is Colorado's KGB By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

“Rules don’t apply to us” the Adult Protective Services investigator said.
How is this possible in Colorado?

This statement confirmed another reliable source that leadership at Colorado Department of Human Services, who directed local APS staff that “You should do what you need to do. The rules, regulations and statutes do not apply to APS.”

Did you know that Adult Protective Services (APS) has unchecked power to make allegations, remove the at-risk person with disabilities and get emergency guardianship, before anything is substantiated? Our State Medicaid agency, Colorado Health Care Policy and Financing, has  Directors Jennifer Martinez and Michelle Craig sign off on orders to seize clients with IDD, based only on allegations/suspicions with no due diligence or substantiation.

APS and HCPF have massive, unchecked power over at-risk adults. They can come seize a person, and not have to prove anything. Unlike many other states, Colorado does not require a court order to pull a client from placement. 

They don’t have to divulge anything, just like the KGB.

Once appointed, the guardian, usually APS, then makes all decisions, including access for family,  medical treatment, and end of life decisions. The authorities also recently stated that "their interpretation of statutes exclude siblings from gaining guardianship".  

Often the appointed guardian is also the APS Investigator- seems a blatant conflict of interest, but then again,"no rules, regulations or statutes apply to them". They believe they are above the law. 

Can you imagine being a person with IDD at your day program, pulled into a room at your day program, with strangers who demand that you sign a paper that you don't understand, in order to leave the room? You then  leave with strangers, go to a strange place they call your "new home", perhaps you are  blaming yourself for causing this all? You miss your family and familiar home and people. Your own family now must provide 72 hour notice for a request to visit, praying that the provider allows it. Your world as you know it has ended. Stress, confusion and sadness are your new norm. 

APS is demanding interviews with extended family, who are not involved in care, demanding identification and Social Security numbers. They call and knock on doors constantly. State employees are using their positions to pressure HCBS Medicaid providers to generate fictitious incident reports to trigger APS investigations against their targets for retribution. 

Do you know the State looks at emergency room visits? Even the times that the doctor issues orders that you should go for after hours chronic care conditions? One family shared that their terminally ill loved one with IDD  was nearly admitted against his will, because doctor wanted the patient with IDD deemed incompetent? Guess who called that family soon after? Yes, APS. 

This is pure hell for the individuals with IDD, their family, and providers. This must change.

Will the lawmakers who gave the authority to the departments rectify this lack of understanding of legislative intent with the departments? Will the Governor who signed them into law, tell his appointed department directors to stop this arbitrary use of unchecked power? Or will it take legal action to rectify this civil rights injustice? 

Why would APS, under the Division of Aging and Adult Services in Colorado Department of Human Services, do this?
It is a management tool used arbitrarily, as retribution, to instill fear, to create shame, to divide our community and isolate family members. Contact me if you have stories to share, you are not alone! 


APS is supposed to protect those at risk. Instead they the perpetrators, inflicting harm, destroying relationships, ruining lives, and at worst, killing people if they die due to the stress and changes. It is all about power, not about protecting our most vulnerable. The end result is they are jeopardizing the health and safety of the IDD Population in Colorado.
 
 
 

When something smells fishy...

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

You know something is fishy when you attend a publicly posted APS Task Group meeting at Colorado Human Services and are told "these meetings are not really open to the public".(Mindy Kemp, 12/5/2017)  She stated this to me, after I asked for the all documents for the meeting in progress, to be added to the google drive for access. I also asked hard copies of proposed rule packets, since they were not there for me to print out before the meeting.  

9 am 12/5/17 APS Task Force at Colorado Department of Human Services at 1575 Grant Street for Adult Protective Task Group Agenda.  

Main link here https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration/adult-protective-services-task-group
Link to meetings, agendas and proposed rule documents here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1lmUbDRaxKQckZqZV9nZ3JvYTA

They were delaying start as they did not have a phone to set up, for call in. They had voting Task Group members call into a cell phone, which was passed around. But no public access until after 10am. It was clear they are not accustomed to public guest attending or participating in meetings.

They went around the room quickly with introductions. Mindy Kemp, Division Director Office of Community Access and Independence at CDHS, carried around a work cell phone we spoke into. At my introduction I introduced myself, Cardboard James and said I was concerned about the police state APS was creating. They cut me off, but I did ask that all members make table tents with their names, title and county. Mindy Kemp said they could have a sign in sheet for me to see. I said that would not help me in knowing who they were when talking.  Mindy said would consider printing up table tents for future meetings. I said they could just make with paper and pen right now. Several started to make, and it caught on. Eventually everyone had a table tent. This is very helpful to know who people are. It is clear from all this that public guests and impacted stakeholders have not been common at their task group meetings.

Mindy also offered a public comment period at start of meeting, which was not on the original agenda. I passed out my hard copy of newsletter and spoke about the police state and how they were all contributing to a state of fear. I gave examples and said they needed to stop and include affected people like me, and cardboard James. I said it was insulting to make rules without including affected citizens.

The rules packets being discussed in the meetings were not posted in the CHDS Drive for the meeting today, I asked they be uploaded immediately.  I also asked Mindy for hard copies since I could not print at home to prepare for the meeting. Mindy Kemp then said to me, “this is not a public meeting, we are not required to do the open meetings rules. But will get you copies”. I was quite shocked at her statement, as this is a work group and posted online, and they even extended me an opportunity to make a public comment! Again, they do not know what to do with stakeholders since we have been excluded from the APS Empire Building process.

During the break Mindy came over to me to give me her card. She reminded me that she wanted to setup two meetings, one with Executive Leadership (after my Public Comment at the State board last week on 12/1) and second meeting with a larger stakeholder group. I declined her suggestion, as  I don’t do private meetings, only will do stakeholder meeting. I suggested she email me some dates and times and I can see if it works for interested folks. (Individual stories are important- If you or people you know, have been touched by this KGB Police state APS action, and want to participate in Stakeholder group around rules and APS, please let me know.  This is a large affected group and growing.)

Basically, legislation grants rule-making authority to departments to implement Statute changes through rule changes. Our General Assembly has created a “perfect storm” with multiple layers of legislation. SB15-109 which added IDD to the at-risk adult definition.

We need the State to fix this mess, to halt the witch hunt of families. (See more from previous newsletter, all under NEWS tab at www.changecoidd.com)

HB15-1370 expanded the exceptions to the APS confidentiality requirements.
HB17-1284 background checks to create a registry (CAPS) based on employment background checks. These checks are to take place by January 1, 2019. Changes relate to statutory changes to definitions, confidentiality, training requirements and investigations.
HC17-1253 creates new mandatory reporting requirements for financial broker-dealers and financial planners. Changes relate to investigation and service provisions of APS Rules.
SB17-254 Long Bill included funding for a new quality assurance unit with the Administrative Review Division at CDHS. There is one job that was posted and closed in November. Several more FTEs are allocated.
12 CCR 1518-1 are the program rules for APS. As authorized by Title 26, Article 3.1 C.R.S. The APS program provides protective services for at-risk adults who are experiencing mistreatment or are self-neglecting.
NEWS FROM COMMUNITY

  • I have heard now that one APS unit has informed a family that siblings of a person with IDD cannot apply to be a guardian. Unbelievable! 
  • This in addition to APS being called when someone asks for a 24/7 DD waiver emergency consideration or when a responsible family member files for legal guardianship…. This is outrageous!
  • And also that Developmental Pathways has been training its Case Managers that “Families are the primary perpetrators of Abuse and Neglect of IDD”. This is so insulting on every level.
  • If you have heard things that “smell fishy”, let me know. Together we can end this, but need our government to halt the KGB Police state. Who in power is listening? Who will really support Coloradans with IDD and their families/caregivers?

A morning in the life of a volunteer activist... By Maureen Welch

Tuesday Dec 5, 2017 

First meeting: 9 am Adult Protective Services (APS) Task Force at Colorado Department of Human Services at 1575 Grant Street for 9am Adult Protective Task Group Agenda.  

Main link here https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs-boards-committees-collaboration/adult-protective-services-task-group

Link to meetings, agendas and proposed rule documents here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1lmUbDRaxKQckZqZV9nZ3JvYTA

They were delaying start as they did not have a phone to set up, for call in. They had voting members call into a cell phone. But no public access until after 10am. The website had the meeting information including webinar, and phone call in posted for public access. 

They went around the room quickly with introductions. Mindy carried around a work cell phone we spoke into. At my introduction I introduced myself, Cardboard James and said I was concerned about the police state APS was creating. They cut me off, but I did ask that all members make table tents with their names, title and county. Mindy Kemp said they could pass around a sign in sheet for me to see. I said that would not help me in knowing who they were when talking.  Mindy said would consider printing up table tents for future meetings. I said they can make with paper and pen right now, nothing fancy needed. Several started to make, and it caught on. Eventually everyone had a table tent. At least know I know who is speaking from what county/agency.

In person: Peg Rogers, APS Manager, Mindy Kemp CDHS, Kathleen, Rose Dora, Sue B Adams Co, Tracy Opp Arapahoe, Cristin Arapahoe Co, Lori Metz Larimer Co, Emilie H Larimer, Whitney Middleton Denver, Terrie Boulder.

On cell phone call in: Candice from Mesa, Delores, Douglas, Otero, Weld, Pueblo ( I couldn’t write names down fast enough) List of members is on the link above for APS.

Mindy also added a public comment period at start of meeting, which was not on the agenda (which leads one to believe it is a public meeting since they had public comment). I passed out my hard copy of newsletter from 12/1/2017 and spoke about the police state and how they were all contributing to a level of fear. I gave examples and said they needed to stop and include affected people like me, and cardboard James. I said it was insulting to make rules without including affected citizens.

Then the rules packets being discussed were not on the CDHS Drive for the meeting today, I asked they be uploaded. And then I asked for hard copies since I could not print at home. Mindy Kemp,  then said to me, “this is not a public meeting, we are not required to do the open meetings rules. But will get you copies”. I was quite shocked at her statement.

During the break Mindy came over to me to give me her card. She reminded me that she wanted to setup two meetings, one with Executive Leadership and second with stakeholder group. I said no, I don’t do private meetings, only will do stakeholder meeting. I suggested she email me some dates and times and I can see if it works for interested folks.

The group continued to review the rules. I left to go to JBC.

JBC- 9-12 noon Sherman Street LBC

Links to 12/5 HCPF and DHS Items http://leg.colorado.gov/content/budget?field_budget_doc_type_target_id=561

Audio Link Look for 12/5 JBC https://leg.colorado.gov/committee/granicus/929571

All the usual suspects were in attendance- Lobbyists and Community Centered Boards Executives and Staff.

They were on to the CDHS services for people with disabilities Briefing. Got hard copy of this packet and the earlier HCPF Office of Community Living Briefing packet. Lots of money, power and jobs.