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. 

 

Arbitrary Overreach by State Authorities 12/1/17 Colorado DHS State Board Testimony

   Reports are coming in from across Colorado showing Adult Protective Services are being misused as an arbitrary management tool. CCBs are training staff that "families are the main perpetrators of Abuse and Neglect against people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)". It feels like a KGB Witch hunt.

   On Friday, December 1, 2017, Maureen Welch, made public comment on proposed rule changes at the State Board of Colorado Human Services. She testified to the experiences and information that have been shared. Adult Protective Services (APS) are state agencies, under auspices of Colorado Department of Human Services, and exist as county level entities.

   A reliable source at the Capitol has reported that leadership at the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has told local authorities that “the State Statutes, Rules and Regulations do not apply to APS” and “to do what they need to do”. What appeared to be well-intended legislation to protect Coloradans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) is being misused as a management tool and to gain guardianship. With guardianship, the decision making power, including for placement of Case Management and Direct Services, for people with IDD is centralized. 

   The intention of multiple pieces of legislation (SB15-109, HB17-1284, HB17-1253, HB15-1370 and SB17-254) may have been to benefit Coloradans with IDD but the result of this “perfect storm” is harming them.

  • Mandatory Reporters call APS just for a “suspicion”. Sometimes they call 911 and local law enforcement intervenes. These scenarios to justify a report to APS have been shared with me:
  • Parents and families, often aging, ill themselves and exhausted, have requested to be considered for an emergency 24/7 waiver slot (DD waiver), after caring for a challenging aging family member in their home for decades. Instead of being supported, their case manager or Community Centered Board (CCB) reports them to local Adult Protective Services for “suspected abuse and or neglect”.
  • Another family proactively and willingly filed to be considered for guardianship of their family member with IDD. Instead they now have their names turned over to authorities and are end up investigated for abuse and neglect by APS.
  • APS has harassed extended family members of the accused, demanding to see their identification, social security cards. They get multiple phone calls a day and have had people bang on their doors. All to interview them as extended family. This is unacceptable.
  • Use of provider client incidence reports to trigger APS investigation. Incident reports are being used by service providers to intentionally justify contacting APS. These have been from day program providers or other services. The triggering “incident” has included simply showing up with a dirty shirt (not uncommon if one drools or self-feeds). Others are for behavioral issues that have been regular for years. 
  • Case managers at CCBs are being “actively told in trainings” that families of IDD persons are “the main perpetrators of exploitation and neglect”. Case managers are grilling services providers, including residential, to gauge level of involvement by families. Even if a client is in residential services, APS has leveled charges of neglect by family to be able to award guardianship to another entity.
  • A family had a court date regarding allegations of abuse and neglect. They received an email from authorities stating that all the emails regarding the case were “Deleted by them”. They covered up their email trail. This family has complied with every request. This does not feel like America anymore. How is that allowed?

 
More to come on this important board meeting and APS topic in a several newsletters, stay tuned.
 
Know others who should be reading this? Forward and subscribe at http://changecoidd.com/mailing-list/
If you have any information pertaining to this, please contact me, I will protect sources and redact information that is identifiable. mpwelchco@gmail.com


 

9News 15 minutes over 2 parts story- 2016 Arvada Host Home Fire Fatalities

Thanks to Kevin and 9News for taking on a difficult tragedy to cover. This story will result in changes to the broken system, thanks to caring Legislators like Colorado State Representative Dan Pabon. There are two video links embedded at top, Part 1 and Part 2. At the very bottom of article is a link to comment on the article, please send a thank you to Kevin Vaughn and 9News for coverage. Good local journalism is critical. Tanya Bell thanks you for caring. http://www.9news.com/news/local/investigations/fire-hazards-arvada-host-home-fire-may-2016/490047948?fb_action_ids=10212734884798412&fb_action_types=og.comments

Privatization of State Medicaid services - a Kansas experience to learn from.

We must get involved in policy! 
“But Gov. Sam Brownback said all KanCare services had to placed under three contractors to meet the goal of reducing estimated Medicaid costs by $1 billion over the first five years through better coordination of care. The companies — Amerigroup, Sunflower State Health Plan (a subsidiary of Centene) and UnitedHealthcare — get about $3 billion annually in state and federal Medicaid funds and keep whatever they don’t spend on care.”

“But former Rep. Mark Hutton, a conservative Republican from Wichita who is running against Colyer, said the state moved too fast in privatizing Medicaid services. He said the KanCare companies, called managed care organizations, or MCOs, were not ready to serve Kansans with intellectual disabilities, and the state didn’t do enough to hold them accountable.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/…/politics…/article184167411.html…

Sue Birch, resigns Governor Cabinet member at Medicaid Agency HCPF

Letter to Denver City and County regarding Mill Levy and RMHS

 

Dear Denver CIty Council Members:

Thank you all for your continued interest and patience with my inquiries.

I continue to grow concerned about the delays in release of the DHS contract for Denver County Mill levy Dollars for the IDD. 

1. There is some word on the street from some past programs funded with these dollars,  that RMHS is now being super stringent in its release of mill levy dollars. When compared to the first three quarters of the year, it seems they prefer to not to grant the funds out.

2. The past, Denver and Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) contracts have been 5 year contracts. I feel that annual contracts are more appropriate given the past issues and current system changes due to the Federal Final rule, allowing other providers to enter what has been a 20 agency monopoly for Targeted Case Management. This, according to Gretchen Hammer at HCPF, could occur as soon as this coming Spring or Summer. Remaining flexible to respond to a changing Medicaid Waiver system is critical for this local Denver Property Tax money.

3. Douglas County has a set aside program for  5% of the IDD Mill levy dollars to be allocated through a County grant making process, transparent  Advisory Council. I attended the meeting as a public guest,  on  October 9th for the Mill Levy Advisory Council orientation, where we had a good discussion. I shared and several members agreed that for full taxpayer transparency, 100% of the fund uses should be accountable directly to the County rather than through an intermediary non profit State Contractor, the CCB. 

4. RMHS is a gatekeeper and it is hard for families to get their individualized needs met. Several families I know had an unmet need and were told they had to go through their case managers, who gave them lots of delays, hoops to jump through and reasons they would not get funds, and discouraged from applying. It is not an easy or clear process on the website. It's a "mother may I" approach that is not person centered or supportive. 

The unmet needs are as diverse and individual as the person. There needs to be an easy way to directly access funds from the city/county. Fund people's needs equally or more than large "programs" with agencies.

Many people e IDD do not use RMHS (CCB), as many waivers are actually managed by other case management agencies. Or they are on a waitlist Others have had bad experiences and avoid RMHS at all costs. We need taxpayers to have direct government transparent access to funds for unmet needs.  

5. The RMHS Community Advisory Committee (previously the Mill Levy  is a rubber stamp, and have no review process for actual funding requests. This is similar to the pre-2015 Audit under the previous leadership. Know the right people and your big program request might be considered. 

I attend all the RMHS meetings pertaining to mill levy. When I asked who makes the decisions, I was told three people do: Maggie D, Shari Repinski and Kris Kogan, all RMHS staff and leadership.  This is an inside staff decision with no transparency and/or  accountability.

6. RMHS canceled the October Advisory committee meetings and delayed until December. No reason was offered when I asked. "Busy bees here" was the answer.  

7. High turnover and resignations are occurring at RMHS. 

Thanks for considering all this input.

 I hope the contract review process has the ability for stakeholder feedback. I can get Denver residents to participate who also are familiar with the ML process. Feel free to call for any information.

Graciously, 

Maureen Welch Mom to a 10 year old son w IDD and CCB is RMHS

Follow up letter regarding Joint Tech Committee JXC payment debacle Medicaid

Sent to the Joint Tech Committee members and a few legislator Guests who attended 

Following up from the presentation (on Oct 11th to the Joint Tech committee)

Nothing has changed from what I have heard from the street. Still a whack a mole. 

I referred a friend to our Medicaid GI specialist who is now not accepting new Medicaid patients. He said due to the payment issues.

Seems the state could somehow be responsible if medical care is not available and people suffer or even die all because of a business contract's non performance.

Now the HCPF director has resigned. 

Are we just to sit back and let harm happen? Let good providers stop taking Medicaid patients? Push up ER costs and hospital admissions when one cannot get seen at clinic appointments with specialists?

It's not okay.

California halted their IT system overhaul in 2016 and reverted to old system. 

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/california-junks-179-million-medicaid-it-modernization-project-xerox

What is Colorado gonna do?

Thanks and I look forward to your thoughts. 

Wed Oct 11 at 10am Legislative Joint Tech Committee to question HCPF re Billing IT debacle

This pertains to the computer billing/payment issues statewide for Medicaid.  Joint Technology Committee.

HCPF and som speakers are10-11am and 11-12 public comment Capitol Senate Conference room 352 near elevators

Please come speak Agenda Link here https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/17jtc_1011agenda.pdf

Listen live audio orarchived at http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/cslFrontPages.nsf/Audio?OpenPage

The committee wants to hear from you! Bring individuals who provide or receive Medicaid services. 

2 hour metered parking usually available on Broadway between 13 and 14th Ave.

If you require accessible parking, drive up to the gate 

in the circle drive around capitol with Placard visible and they will open it remotely for you. Enter capitolon South side near 14th and Sherman.

Also in Denver county, with disability placard, an eligible person is permitted to park for free on street OR free in metered spots up to double the posted time

 

with a 4 hours max

 

Douglas County Mill Levy Advisory Council

An Amazing Opportunity

    Are you or anyone you know who lives in Douglas County interested in serving on this county committee? It reviews grant applications and recommendations for grants, for 5% of the multimillion dollar property tax "mill levy". DEADLINE TO APPLY IS END OF DAY TOMORROW MONDAY 9/25. Reply to this email if you want details. Look at the pictures embedded in email to see who has received this money in the past
     With conflict free case management around the corner, choice of Case Management agencies (and CCBs wont be only show in town)  coming as soon as Spring 2018, the amounts awarded through a grant RATHER than 95% going to Developmental Pathways is a possibility. Make a difference and appy to serve! 
1. Denver Post Article link http://www.denverpost.com/2017/09/19/developmental-disabilities-mill-levy-tax-douglas-arapahoe/
2, More information at this link. You MUST apply by end of day Monday Sept 25.  http://www.douglas.co.us/community/partners-and-providers/developmental-disabilities/developmental-disabilities-mill-levy-grant-awards/developmental-disabilities-mill-levy-advisory-council/
 

Douglas County has three open positions on the Developmental Disabilities Mill Levy (DDML) Advisory Council.  If you live in Douglas County and have a heart for helping people with developmental disabilities obtain the services they need, you are invited to complete an application to serve on the Council.  The ideal candidate will be able to attend a new member orientation and a session to review grant requests.  The DDML Advisory Council makes recommendations of grant awards to the Board of County Commissioners.  An optional open house has been scheduled to ask questions of the current Council members.  The 2017 DDML Advisory Council schedule is outlined below.  All meetings will be held at the Philip S. Miller Building, 100 Third Street, Castle Rock.

  • September 21, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Open house
  • September 25, 5 p.m.
    Advisory Council applications due
  • October 2, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Advisory Council Member Orientation
  • October 19, 830 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    Evaluation and scoring of applications
  • November 14, 1:30 p.m.
    Recommendations to Board of County Commissioners

Advisory Council Guidelines:

  • The Council will be made up of seven Douglas County residents.
  • The Council is advisory in nature and the primary function is to make funding recommendations to the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners regarding competitive grants for DDML funds. They may also offer suggestions regarding the application review and evaluation process and grantee reporting measures. Douglas County employees provide guidance and oversight to the Council.
  • Members serve two three-year terms.
  • To provide broad community representation it’s preferred that residents serve on only one county board or commission at a time.
  • Members selected will be available to attend the Advisory Council Orientation on October 2, 2017, 10:00am-12:00pm, and the Application Evaluation meeting on October 19, 2017, 8:30am-2:00pm, with a potential follow up meeting to be agreed upon by the Council Members. All meetings will be held at the Philip S. Miller Building, 100 Third Street, Castle Rock.
  • Information submitted on the application form is considered public information.
  • A signed Douglas County waiver must be provided by members selected for service on the Council no later than the Orientation on October 2, 2017.

September 18, 2017 Update

The Joint Budget Committee has a public meeting this Wed Sept 20 6:30pm.

At 1:30 they will get an update from the state medicaid agency Health Care Policy and Financing on the CHP+ program and also update the COMMIT billing contract/performance. At 2:15 they will meet with Colorado Department of Human Services regarding the Grand Junction Regional Center. The meeting is live streamed on their website, and they are also recorded for archiving and listening online, on demand. Get involved- I have no choice as our family depends on these services. https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/schedule1_76.pdf

Payment issues DXC

The payment issue with new IT contractor DXC is not getting better according to my sources. Agencies that serve Medicaid clients are reducing services, turning away new clients and some are closing or opting to serve paying customers.

This story ran earlier in month http://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/09/04/medicaid-payment-problems-colorado/

Denver CCB Board Meeting

Community Centered Board Rocky Mountain Human Services has Board of Director Meeting this Wed 9/20 at 6:30pm. If needed they have an executive session at 5:30.

Public comment is at the start of meeting. Comments can be on any topic relating to CCB, not limited to agenday. Call in participation and comment is welcomed- General Conference Line:

1-888-387-8686. Participant Passcode: 2939136#. Link to Agenda

https://www.rmhumanservices.org/sites/default/files/documents/2017_september_bod_meeting_agenda-for_bod.pdf

Are you a Douglas County Resident interested in transparency of IDD Funds? Apply to serve on IDD Mill Levy Advisory Council  by September 15, 2017.

Did you know that Douglas County has about 4.8 Million dollars a year collected to meet needs of Douglas county residents with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities  IDD)? It is a property tax and commonly called a Mill Levy.  Most goes to the county CCB Developmental Pathways. But they have a carve out of 5.5% or about $265,000. that the county manages to do grants to local entities. They have 3 openings on the Douglas County Mill Levy Council. The County appoints and oversees this council, not the CCB. This means the process  is all out in public eye. There is no middle man, or CCB to control and do internally. It is critical to have people serve on this Douglas County council who know about living with IDD personally. If so, you may be a candidate for one of three open seats on the Douglas County Developmental Disabilities Mill Levy Advisory Council, the annual review committee for grant applications from organizations seeking funds for local programs supporting residents with Developmental Disabilities. Your application is due by September 25.

http://www.douglas.co.us/community/partners-and-providers/developmental-disabilities/developmental-disabilities-mill-levy-grant-awards/developmental-disabilities-mill-levy-advisory-council/ 

 

Significant Structural Changes at HCPF

Significant restructuring at State Medicaid Agency, Healthcare Policy and Financing. It appears the Division of Developmental Intellectual Disabilities (DIDD) is no longer. HCPF Waivers are optional, current federal 50% match encourages States to participate. If the current DC Regime opts for state controlled Block grants, it is quite possible, if not probable, that medicaid waivers (EBD, SLS, DD, and CES amongst many others) will be significantly reduced if not eliminated. Many in our state legislature may not understand how this will impact constituents. Time to reach out to your elected officials and share your story of how HCPF medicaid waivers keep people lives rich, healthy and out of institutions. 

NOW  is time to get involved.  Find all your elected officials at the link http://act.commoncause.org/site/PageServer?pagename=sunlight_advocacy_list_page

 


 

Hello Stakeholders,

The Office of Community Living (OCL) at the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) is restructuring to create a more integrated and cohesive operation so that we can more effectively, efficiently and responsively administer and develop the long-term services and supports benefits for the members and families that we serve. OCL officially began operating within HCPF in 2014 as a merger between HCPF’s Long-Term Services and Supports Division (LTSS) and the Department of Human Services Division for Developmental Disabilities (DDD) as guided by an Executive Order from Governor Hickenlooper. Over the last three years we have learned a lot about the populations served by all our programs, our contracted partners that help administer core components of the long-term services and supports and the stakeholders we engage with as we develop and administer services. And, we think now is a good time to leverage what we have learned and restructure ourselves internally to help support the critical innovation and systems redesign we are all so deeply committed to and to better support operational excellence in our work.

Part of the restructure will be the creation of new divisions in the office that will more cohesively organize our work. I am pleased to share that Jennifer Martinez and Bonnie Silva will continue to provide valuable leadership to the Office of Community Living as Division Directors. Today I am also pleased to announce two new Division Director positions have been created and are posted for hiring. Brief, operational descriptions of the four divisions are as follows:

1. One Division will focus on our work and oversight of entry point, assessment, and case management functions. This Division will be led by current Division for Intellectual and Developmental Disability Director Jennifer Martinez.

 

2. Another Division will carry out the work to administer our benefits, including the entire spectrum of services from home and community-based service waivers to skilled nursing homes. This position is vacant and the job posting can be found here: Link to Benefits & Services Management Division Director Posting

3. A third Division will serve the role of guiding policy, strategy, system redesign and internal performance, including communication with our stakeholders. This Division will be led by the current Long Term Services & Supports Division Director Bonnie Silva. In this position, Bonnie will also serve as the Deputy Office Director of the Office of Community Living.

 

4. The fourth Division will manage the operations and administration of our office, including contract and financial management and provider support. This position is vacant and the job posting can be found here: Link to Operations & Administration Division Director Posting

 

We believe this internal restructuring will further our ability to meet our goal to create a 21st century system for long-term supports and services where all members served by Medicaid:

· Are in a home of their choosing

· Have the supports they need to live in that home

· Participate in communities that value their contributions

· Are able to access services in a streamlined, simple, timely, easy process

· Have highest quality services

Please forward these positions announcements to anyone you think might be interested in joining our great team and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Regards,

Gretchen M. Hammer

Medicaid Director – Health Programs Office and Office of Community Living Director

Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

P 303.866.3058 I State Relay: 711 I C 720.483.5893

ADAPT Denver Protesters arrested for Senator Gardner Office occupation

ADAPT Denver protest and arrests

Senate Vote on Health Care bill delayed until after July 4th Congressional Recess

In Denver, ADAPT, protested at Senator Gardner's office starting on Tuesday June 27th. The protesters wanted a letter signed by Senator Gardner that he will vote no on the Healthcare Bill. For more history on ADAPT watch a fantastic 21 minute summary here from the June 23th Rachel Maddox MSNBC show.

There are so many articles published it is hard to keep up. . As of this writing, 8pm Friday night June 30th, this Denver Post article is most  current and has great still photos from the actual arrest here

There were a dozen or so people in his office starting on Tuesday morning, June 26th and many more out on the sidewalk at 1125 17th Street in Downtown Denver. There was a lot of media coverage local and national- see more here. Here is a first hand account posted on Facebook by Carrie Ann Lucas here

By Thursday evening, June 29th, ten protesters inside Senator Gardner's office were arrested. Nine were taken to the Denver Jail and one was evaluated, issued a summons and released after the police said they would not take her to the jail due to her ventilator. Ironically, the police had a RTD bus on site, with the very lift that ADAPT demanded back in their historic 1978 protest at Broadway and Colfax. A plaque is installed there to recognize Denver's civil rights action,  which catapulted accessibility in public transportation. 

There is some disparity in stories noted in this Channel 7 report. Senator Gardner's office said they would not call the police yet the police spokesperson reported that a staff person from Senator Gardner's office had signed the complaint. Trespassing and resisting arrest are among the charges. 

As of 7:45pm Friday night, June 30th, at the writing of this post, the jail is delaying release of the eight jailed protesters. Their finger prints and bonds were completed this morning. Some feel the media presence might be a contributor.  Carrie Ann Lucas posted a first hand account on Facebook here. They are asking people to come down in support. 

People are requested to support as possible, and can follow updated on Carrie Ann Lucas Facebook page or Atlantis ADAPT on Facebook. The Twitter hashtags have updates as well #SaveMedicaid and #ADAPTandRESIST.

As of now, 8pm Friday night, people are at Justice Center 490 West Colfax Ave Denver. After their release, they may return to Senator Gardner's office at 1125 17th Street Denver.