ALERT: Adult Protect Services ripping families apart&Legislative update, guardianship-related bills At risk adults, LGBTQ+ , IDD seniors forcibly removed from their homes


picture above-

This floor sign stands outside the Denver Probate court, where guardianship hearings are not posted on the docket and the public is not allowed in the courtroom during guardianship hearings.

  • This appears to be unique to Denver only.

  • Denver Probate Court, Judge Leith's courtroom, appears to misinterpret the Supreme Court Justice Directive on suppressed court documents.

  • Judges in other probate courts across the state allow public in the courtroom and only suppress access to court records to "interested parties".

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

and Registered Volunteer Lobbyist

Content is mine, and protected under First Amendment

March 24, 2019

ALERT: Be aware!

Adult Protective Services are creating false narratives about at-risk adults, accusing families of abuse and neglect. Say nothing and lawyer up. They are showing up at homes, demanding the at-risk adult  and forcibly removing them.

There has been an harmful increase statewide, of county Adult Protective Services creating fabricated narratives about at risk adults and their family/caregivers. 

  • There is strong interest to address this overreach and conflict of interest by many at the Capitol and the impacted Intellectually and developmentally disabled, Seniors and LGBTQ+ communities. 

  • At-risk adult means any person who is seventy years of age or older or any person who is eighteen years of age or older and is a person with a disability as said term is defined in subsection (11) of this section. Definition of at-risk adult in statute is here

  • These county employees, from APS/Social or Human Services, then use these fictional stories to request  "emergency" guardianship hearings in front of a judge. A judge currently can grant emergency guardianship without ever informing the person or their family!  

  • It appears the judges just trust the reports of county APS and don't ask to hear the other side of the story.

  • Sometimes judges even put in the court order that law enforcement will assist in the removal of the at risk adult! 

  • The trauma, stress and shock for this  vulnerable population means APS are the perpetrators of abuse! 

  • The judge often appoints the same county person to serve as both the investigator and guardian.  This is a clear conflict of interest.

  • Soon after the secretive "emergency hearing" that no one knew about, APS has shown up with law enforcement to enter the home and remove the person. They are ripped from loving families and caregivers to unknown placements that often cost their estates or medicare/medicaid much more money. 

It is wrong that people are living in fear of being forcibly removed from their homes without any prior warning, reason or opportunity to face a judge. 

  • What year and country is this? 

  • The court appointed attorneys, court visitor, guardian ad litem, and conservator on the case all get paid, either billing the at-risk person's assets or the State.

  • The assisted living, host home or nursing home charges are forced to be paid from that individuals resources or bill to the state via medicaid.

  • Yes, this is happening. Initially, I doubted this and didn’t want to believe it either. But, I am contacted weekly with more new heartbreaking cases, from counties large and small.  

  • It is a travesty of civil rights and goes against all the values of our great state and nation.

What you say will be used against you. Cooperation, due to their innocence, has backfired for many loving families. 

  • If someone comes to your door, unless they have a warrant, you are not obliged to answer. 

  • Keep calm and lawyer up. Don't let them in your home without a warrant, don’t share information, and trust your gut. 

  • The new registry of substantiated perpetrators started notifications on January 1, 2019 and has harmed many families. Once on the list, they claim all family are incapable of being trusted. This was designed to keep true perpetrators from working with vulnerable populations but has been used to rip at risk adults from loving family caregivers doing their best, and nothing wrong. Info here.

The number of statewide APS overreach cases is growing daily.

  • Or if you are able to freely share, come to the capitol and share your stories with legislators and the media. 

  • I will be at the Capitol most days  for the next few weeks. I am happy to meet and talk. I will and do maintain confidentiality. 

  • The 2019 session ends May 3. 

  • Contact me if you are in this situation at mpwelchco@gmail.com. 

  • View past newsletters on my website www.changecoidd.com under BLOG.



HB19-1045 Office Of Public Guardianship  Operation Conditions: Concerning funding for carrying out duties related to the office of public guardianship  officially has no funding and was removed from the Long Bill Budget on Friday March 8, 2018 at the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) figure setting hearing. 

SOURCE: From the JBC staff document: 

Page 138-139. 

https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/fy2019-20_judfig.pdf

REQUEST: The Office of Public Guardianship requests a FY 2019-20 General Fund appropriation of $1,718,786 and 14.0 FTE.

RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends that the Committee not approve this request but instead eliminate the existing $1,718,786 cash fund appropriation and the 14.0 FTE for the Office of Public Guardianship from the FY 2019-20 Long Bill.

  • From the start, the Office Of Public Guardianship (OPG) Commission violated open records and meetings requirements and treated public stakeholders with hostility. 

  • It is good that the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) realized their failure to succeed with raising funds did not constitute a justification to use General State Funds for this pilot program.

  • I applaud the careful analysis of the Joint Budget Committee staff  and members who recognized the shortfalls of funding this bill for the OPG pilot program.

  • The most vulnerable at risk adults in Colorado: the elderly, the intellectual/developmentally disabled, and survivors of AIDS/HIV deserve safeguards and oversight with Colorado Guardianship Reform BEFORE launching a huge new empire in the Judicial Branch. 

  • The next Commission meeting for the OPG is on Wednesday March 27, 2019- details and call in phone number are here. 


Alert: A new bill signed into law last week by the Governor, which allows information sharing between Child Protective Services and Adult protective services.

  • A new bill HB19-1063 At-risk Information Sharing Between County Departments was also just signed into law. In its description, it states: The bill allows adult protective services (APS) to access child abuse or neglect records and reports when the information is necessary for APS to adequately assess the safety, risk, or provision of services for an at-risk adult.

  • I opposed HB19-1063 as there is already over reporting to Child Protective Services of parents with disabilities, children with disabilities and those who are poor or minority.

  • Now those child protection reports, substantiated or not, can be accessed for use in an Adult Proceeding. 


SB19-072 Bill Of Rights Protected Person Under Guardianship: Concerning establishing a bill of rights for persons protected through a guardianship  was opposed by the Colorado Bar Association.

  • Senator Holbert, the bill Prime Sponsor, strongly believes in keeping loving families together. He requested the bill be postponed and that the stakeholders would work on this topic to bring back in the future.

  • It is wrong that the process for emergency guardianship and special conservatorship can he conducted in secrecy, without any involvement of the at-risk person or their family.  The judge relying solely on county staff provided information.

  • At least two counties, including Denver, do not even post the emergency hearings on the public website dockets and they close the courtroom to the public during emergency hearings. 

  • The climate of fear and secrecy do not build trust. Adult Protective Services is more vested in tearing families apart under guise of "protection".

  • There is interest by many at the capitol  to address the need for a Bill of Rights for Protected Persons,  including the at risk Intellectually & Developmentally Disabled, Senior citizens and LGBTQ+ communities.

  • The motive appear to be to gain control of residential placement, medical decision making and all their finances.

  • Guardianship is equivalent to Civil Death (meaning one is lacking capacity and has someone else making decisions). One's civil rights must be most carefully respected. 

  • The Colorado Bar Association stated they will commit to collaborative work with Stakeholders for Guardianship Reform. A written commitment is still pending.

  • Contact me if you are in a situation with your county social services/human services/ Adult Protective Services with overreach at mpwelchco@gmail.com. 

Legislative update - week of Feb 11, 2019 Two bills in Committee, Update on another

This and past newsletters are cross-posted and archived at www.changecoidd.com

Protected under the First Amendment
of the United States Constitution


All Content by
Maureen Welch,
Volunteer Activist and
Registered Volunteer Lobbyist, Colorado.

February 10, 1019

This coming week, two Colorado bills are being heard in committee which impact the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Community: 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 01:30 PM
Senate Judiciary Committee
Senate Committee Room 352. 
SB19-072 Bill Of Rights Protected Person Under Guardianship

 Thursday February 14, 2019 1:30 pm
House Committee Room  0112

HB19-1045 Office Of Public Guardianship Operation Conditions

UPDATE: HB19-1063 At-risk Information Sharing
Between County Departments.
It passed committee in the House, and is currently calendared for committee, with public testimony Senate Judiciary Committee 
Monday Feb 25 at 1:30 pm in Senate conference room 352. 


SB19-072 Bill Of Rights Protected Person Under Guardianship. 
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 01:30 PM Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Committee Room 352. 

  • Senator Holbert, Senate Minority Leader, is to be commended for taking the lead on this bill, followed up with addition of Rep Ransom and Rep Melton, to highlight the dire need to reform guardianship of at-risk adults.

  • Colorado currently lacks safeguards and oversight of Legal Guardianship in County Probate Courts.

  • Who is watching the Guardians? (most particularly the professional and county human services/public employees who sometimes serve as guardians) 

  • State of Nevada's Supreme Court Justices got involved, with similar concerns, and their legislature passed Guardianship Reform.

  • SB19-072 is modeled after Nevada's Reform (click here), as a means to shine light on Colorado's dire situation.

  • It is critical to integrate current best practices of consideration of presumed competency, and less restrictive options. These include options to full guardianship if appropriate, such as:  supported decision-making and limited guardianships. "Current trends presume the decision-making capacity of individuals with I/DD and the preservation of legal capacity as a priority for all people needing assistance with decision-making." American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Arc Joint statement 


HB19-1045 Office Of Public Guardianship Operation Conditions

What is this Office Of Public Guardianship Pilot Program (OPG)?

From the OPG webpage
Background

HB17-1087 created the Office Of Public Guardianship Pilot Program within the judicial department to provide legal guardianship services to indigent and incapacitated adults who:

  • Have no responsible family members or friends who are available and appropriate to serve as a guardian;

  • Lack adequate resources to compensate a private guardian and pay the costs and fees associated with an appointment proceeding; and

  • Are not subject to a petition for appointment of guardian filed by a county adult protective services unit or otherwise authorized by law.

History of HB19-1045

  1. The original bill language simply removing the requirement to raise $1.7M before being able to hire an Executive Director, which would be presumably at no cost to state.

  2. As of publication of this newsletter on Sunday Feb 10th, the original version of HB19-1045 was on the bill website.

  3. However on February 7, 2019 at a stakeholder meeting, Rep Snyder shared that there will be amendments to ask for funding of the pilot, likely about $2M, TBD as the fiscal note is not yet complete! 

  4. As of publication of this newsletter, neither the amendments nor fiscal note for 1045 had been finalized. Future versions will be updated on the bill page online here

  5. HB19-1045 will be vastly different bill than originally proposed. And it comes with a huge price tag in the area of $2M.

  6. Stakeholders, including myself, have been participating and up to date in OPG Commission meetings for over a year.

Concerns about HB19-1045 Pilot progra OPG include:

COSTS

  1. Precedent Setting Funding: Colorado Joint Budget Committee members raised the concern on September 20, 2018, when they voted down a supplemental budget request for the OPG,  that if the JBC approved funding after they failed to secure gifts, grants and donations there could be a long line out into the downtown streets from other legislation, also wanting state funding after they too failed to raise gifts, grants and donations. Audio can be found here, scroll to Sept 20, 2018.

  2. Funding the OPG pilot creates an inherent need to continue future funding.  There will be OPG wards (CO statutory term for people in legal guardianship) from the pilot. Won’t the state have to continue to support them? Will that fact put the legislature in a position of feeling compelled to continue the office?

  3. The eventual state wide OPG was estimated to be at a cost of $8-10M a year, several years ago from a fiscal note, with 81+ full time staff projected.

PILOT METHODOLOGY 

  1. Critical details of the pilot are undetermined. There is no evidence based data, a new JBC requirement, that reflects accurate numbers of people in need of OPG. 

  2. What methodology and tools will be used? What controls are in place for comparison? Will the pilot data be valid? Who will oversee the guardians, of a very vulnerable population? Current statute does not have safeguards or oversight of guardians. The OPG requires more thoughtful and inclusive planning in an open and transparent process, not passing it all forward to the future Executive Director.

LACK OF OPG DETAILS AND TRANSPARENCY

  1. Per discussions on February 7th, 2019 with current OPG chair, all details of OPG operations will all be left to the discretion of one person: the future Executive Director of the OPG. There are no checks or balances to that power.

  2. The hiring of the Executive Director  will be likely be a private process with the Commission,  conducted in closed Executive session with no Sunlight of Transparency. (OPG often goes into Executive Session for discussions).

  3. Shari Caton, Esq., the former OPG Commission Chairperson, recently resigned. Stakeholders asked for clarification on process for appointment of the new commissioner, questions which have gone unanswered. 

  4. An Open records request of Colorado Adult Protective Services produced a document showing that 600+ at -risk individuals are in a conflicted relationship with County APS serving as both their guardians, and case investigator.  

IN CONCLUSION,

  1. Many stakeholders believe it would be most responsible to hit the PAUSE button on funding HB19-1045 and focus on guardianship reform that will produce safeguards, oversight and current best practices.  

  2. The high cost of this initial pilot of $2M is a big demand.

  3. Many at the capitol perceive the launch of OPG as a means to create unnecessary layers of government, which are lacking in transparency, which could lead to harmful, unintended consequences. 


Update on HB19-1063 At-risk Information Sharing Between County Departments
Concerning the ability to share information between county adult protective services with county child protective services as well as at-risk adults obtaining their own information.

  • It was heard in House Public Healthcare and Human Services.

  • The audio is here, scroll down to Feb 1, 2019 it was the first agenda item. 

  • At the opening of the hearing, Rep. Liston made a rare super motion. A super motion  allows the bill to be voted on in the affirmative, without testimony, and  be sent to the Full House for a vote ("committee of the whole").

  • More on Supermotion here

  • Thankfully, Committee Chair Rep. Singer overruled the motion, stating that four individuals had signed up to speak in opposition had waited for hours to speak, and he felt they should be heard.

  • The committee heard public concerns of the bill expanding investigatory power of Adult and Child Protective services since the bill proposed opening information sharing between these departments.

  • The bill does state that individuals shall have access to their records, but the requirements make it rare that a person in guardianship that will actually access their records.

  • HB19-1063 passed unamended in an 11-0 vote.

  • It is currently calendared to be heard in Senate Judiciary committee, with public testimony Monday Feb 25 at 1:30 pm in Senate conference room 352.

  • Calendars change so it is recommended you check hereonline regularly.


What can you do? 

  • Come down and participate. Join me at the Capitol this week. I usually am easy to find with my full size cardboard cut out of my son! 

  • The best way to learn the process, is to come attend some committee meetings, experience the environment and also stop by your own legislators' offices to say hello.

  • Check out the a simple "build a testimony worksheet" for those wanting to come to committee and sign up to testify for 3 minutes. These are posted for Jan 30, 2019 under BLOG tab here. I usually have several extra printed out before committee meetings so just ask!

  • A person can also call or email legislators,  realizing the sheer volume is staggering for one person and an aide to manage. Face to face is most memorable and interactive.

  • Read and research online at http://leg.colorado.gov 

  • Watch live streamed or archived Floor work of House and Senate and listen to committee meetings at http://leg.colorado.gov/watch-listen





Colorado Bill of Concern: HB19-1063 Opens Sharing of Data between Colorado County Child Protective Service and Adult Protective services. 


by Maureen Welch,

Volunteer Activist and Volunteer Lobbyist. 

All content is my own, protected by the First Amendment.


Please consider the unintended consequences of this legislation.

Click here  to read current bill language. 

  • Yes, we want to get the abusers caught.  Currently, Adult Protective Services (APS) can ask to see Children's Protective Services records (CPS)  with a judge's order, when there is good cause.

  • My personal concern is the universal opening of personal data between two distinct programs. 

  • I know many families with disabilities who have experienced many false allegations of abuse and neglect of their disabled loved one. 

  • Anonymous reports are often from people who do not understand disability, especially living with intellectual or developmental disabilities. 

  • Other families have expressed their belief that an anonymous report to Child Protection Services was an act of retaliation, often for speaking out.

  • Many people upon reading the bill, have shared that they interpret this opening of the data sharing as a means of expanding investigation powers of county protective services, and with this bill, it opens investigations all the way back to birth.  (see page 3 line 18, added JOINT) 

  • The bill also creates protections for the reporting party, stating there must not be any identifying information about the person who makes the report to APS or CPS  and even limits the disclosure of  information, even with a court order. 

  • The open access and expanded investigatory power has the potential to vilify families and data could be used to remove and place their loved ones, at-risk adults, into guardianships by strangers. 

  • As to the opening access to court records, the language doesn't in practice offer much. Access is restricted to the ability for the at-risk person to request their own record, and only if the person is not deemed incompetent.  If they are incompetent, only the guardian or guardian ad litem may request the records (which in some counties is also the APS worker, a dual role and conflict of interest). 

  • What do you think? Can you see unintended consequences to sharing of information that could cause unnecessary trauma and mental anguish? Please express your thoughts to lawmakers ASAP.


HOW CAN YOU EXPRESS YOUR CONCERNS?

  • People can attend committee in person and speak on this bill on Friday Feb 1, arrive early 10am.

  • It is upon adjournment,  (when they are done on the floor of House) @ House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee  in House Committee Room 0107, on ground/basement level by the elevators. "Upon Adjournment" means when the House members come off the floor, it can be as early as 10 or much later. It is best to come early.

  • The committee agenda is here and HB19-1063  at time of this publication, was scheduled first on the agenda. 



Prefer to email? 
Subject Line:  Bill HB19-1063 Data sharing CPS APS in PHCHS committee 2/1.
Include your reasons and contact information.

For  copy and paste
Bill sponsors and committee members below

reptracy29@gmail.com

bob.gardner.senate@state.co.us

pete.lee.senate@state.co.us 

jonathan.singer.house@state.co.us

lisa.cutter.house@state.co.us 

lois.landgraf.house@state.co.us 

kyle.mullica.house@state.co.us 

dafna.michaelson.jenet.house@state.co.us 

serena.gonzales-gutierrez.house@state.co.us 

colin.larson.house@state.co.us 

rod.pelton.house@state.co.us 

yadira.caraveo.house@state.co.us 

cathy.kipp.house@state.co.us

larry.liston.house@state.co.us 


Or let your fingers do the walking, make a phone call and leave message:

House Bill lead sponsor Rep Kraft-Tharp 303-866-2950

The chair of the first committee is Rep. Singer  303-866-2780.

Other House Public Health Care & Human Services committee members are:

Rep. Cutter 303-866-2582

Rep. Landgraf 303-866-2946 

Rep. Mullica 303-866-2931

Rep. Michaelson-Jenet 303-866-2945 

Rep. Gonzales-Guttierez 303-866-2934

Rep. Larsen 303-866-2927 

Rep. Pelton 303-866-3701

Rep. Caraveo 303-866-2918 

Rep. Kipp 303-866-4569 

Rep. Liston 303-866-2937




Tips and Details for testimony

  • Arrive early, parking and security take time.

  • Remember that you only have 3 minutes generally. 

  • Fewer words,  spoken slowly with some cadence to your voice are most effective. Stick to your points.

  • You can always type up and print out copies to distribute (5 for senate committees, 11 for house committees, if it is a joint committee, check online how many to bring). 

  • It is not uncommon to have committee members on computers or phones, the more compelling your story to grasp attention, the better.

  • Members often step out of the room, to talk to someone or present their own bill to another committee.

  • Clearer, simpler words with cadence when read are helpful.

  • The goal is to take a position of support or opposition and be memorable to the committee members.

  • Parking: I usually can find a meter on Lincoln, between 12th and 14th Ave, up to 2 hrs.

  • Security There are metal detectors as you enter. 

  • Disability Access to capitol is best on south side 14th Ave between Lincoln and Grant Streets, it is an accessible entrance.

  • Meter Parking for People with Disabilities (from Denver City Co Website)

  • A person with a mobility disability using a valid disability placard or plate issued to them may park at Denver City meters for the time period authorized by the parking meter or for four (4) consecutive hours, whichever is greater, without paying during the time parking is allowed. At the end of the authorized time period, the vehicle must be moved at least 100 feet from the parking metered space.


Build Your  Testimony Worksheet 

(copy and paste into word doc)

Name

Address

Phone #

Email

Date

Oppose HB19-1063 Data sharing between CPs and APS

1. ”Mr. or Madam Chair, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify to you today. 

2. My name is __________________  I live in ___________(city or county)  and I  oppose this bill. 

3. About me and family, connect to the bill (Short-one or two sentences)

4. I am here today to  oppose this bill.

5. I  oppose this bill because of these 3 points (only one sentence each )

4. Thank you Madame/Mr. Chair and Committee members for allowing my testimony today. 

5. In conclusion, I urge you to vote no on this bill.
I am happy to answer any questions the committee may have.











Many Bills in State Legislature, How to testify in Committee

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist and Registered Volunteer Lobbyist
Read bills, look up you legislators and their bills, or tune in remotely to view committee meetings live streamed or archived! http://leg.colorado.gov/ 

Find your own legislator here http://leg.colorado.gov/findmylegislator
Ask to get on their email list, or follow them on social media to find out when they are doing townhalls/coffee meeting in your local area. Contact them about any bill that is important to you.

Get involved, come spend a day meeting people and attending meetings prior to the day of the committee meeting.

Path of a Bill:
The bill is read and heard in committee(s) in both chambers, and passed by both full bodies of each chamber, then sent to Governor for signature.


NEXT EDITION: Bills of Interest and their committee calendar!

The session is heating up, bills are stacking up to be heard in committee.
The session will wrap up in early May 2019! 


Tips and Details

  • Remember that you only have 3 minutes generally. 

  • Fewer words,  spoken slowly with some cadence to your voice are most effective.

  • Stick to your points.

  • You can always type up and print out copies to distribute (5 for senate committees, 11 for house committees, if it is a joint committee, check online how many to bring). 

  • It is not uncommon to have committee members on computers or phones, the more compelling your story, the better.

  • Members often step out of the room, to talk to someone or present their own bill to another committee.

  • Clearer, simpler words with cadence when read are helpful.

  • The goal is to take a position of support or opposition and be memorable to the committee members.

  • If you want to share more extensive ‘backstory’ you can write something up separate from testimony, print out but know the longer it is, the less likely they will read it.

  • Parking: I usually can find a meter on Lincoln, between 12th and 14th Ave, up to 2 hrs.

  • Security There are metal detectors as you enter.

  • Disability Access to capitol is best on south side 14th Ave between Lincoln and Grant Streets, it is an accessible entrance.

  • Meter Parking for People with Disabilities (from Denver City Co Website)

  • A person with a mobility disability using a valid disability placard or plate issued to them may park at Denver City meters for the time period authorized by the parking meter or for four (4) consecutive hours, whichever is greater, without paying during the time parking is allowed. At the end of the authorized time period, the vehicle must be moved at least 100 feet from the parking metered space.

  • NEXT EDITION: Bills of Interest and their committee calendar!





Build Your Testimony Worksheet 
(copy and paste into word doc)

Name

Address

Phone #

Email

Date

Bill number and title and SUPPORT or AGAINST

 

1. ”Mr. or Madam Chair, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify to you today. 

 

2. My name is __________________  I live in ___________(city or county)  and I support OR  oppose this bill. 

 

3. About me and family, connect to the bill (Short-one or two sentences)

 

4. I am here today to support OR oppose this bill.

 

5. I support (or oppose) this bill because of these points

 

Points (only one sentence each )

     1.

     2.

     3. 

     4. 

 

4. Thank you Madame/Mr. Chair and Committee members for allowing my testimony today. 

 

5. In conclusion, I urge you to vote yes OR no on this bill.
I am happy to answer any questions the committee may have.


Dear 2019, this is the year we stand up for the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled in Colorado 

Dear 2019, this is the year we stand up for the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled in Colorado 


2019 is gonna be BIG. You are most needed! 

Newsletter is self funded, 

and only reflects the views of Maureen Welch, Volunteer.

December 31, 2018


Dear 2019,


Yes, you,  2019,  could be the year to hang out dirty laundry and  disinfect the secrecy of the Industrial Complex of Intellectual/Developmental Disability (IDD) disability services! It is time for the Sunshine of Transparency and Choice to shine in Colorado,  most specifically for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). 


1. Choice of Case Management Agencies for IDD waivers. I would love to have choice. Many of you contact me in agreeing with my writings, but hesitate to "go public" out of fear of "biting the one and only hand" that supports your love one. Currently the local Community Centered Board, one of only 20 statewide per State Statute, is the only place to get case management for the three IDD waivers. 


The recently released (12/1/18)  Office of State Auditor report on CCBs  (link here) from their year long investigation was scathing and pointed to likely fraudulent billing of case management. This was the first ever audit of the CCBs ever, since their creation in the 1960s, thanks to SB16-038 which was a community driven effort for transparency. NOW is the time to demand choice of case management agencies. 


2. True direct, individualized and automated access to Local Mill Levy. The voters intended for the IDD community to have truly individualized access to the property tax that is earmarked for unmet needs of IDD county residents. This means be able to order items online and have them delivered to our door, to be able to use funding in an automated fashion for unmet needs. We are tired of asking our case managers for permission and approval, "mother may I style", then waiting at their mercy for an answer. Now the vast majority of this local tax money ($17.5M in Denver estimated for 2019)  ends up in the Community Centered Boards budget to fund their case management or other things they control and run.


3. Guardianship reform- Currently no one is providing oversight to the process of stripping a person of their civil rights, via courts and often Adult Protective Services. There are several bills that need close monitoring, to oppose and support with testimony-- stay tuned! 


4. Real stakeholder engagement. No more hand picking of well behaved stakeholders that are “safe” for the Industrial Complex of Disability. It is time for the State Departments and Branches to harness the power of technology for remote participation and true surveys of satisfaction.


5. Change requires commitment and hard work. And it is incredibly important and rewarding. This is the year to turn up the heat. 


6. It won’t happen without people, who have skin in the game,  putting in real time. You are not sure if you are directly impacted? Well, you can do get loud as an ally, as we all know someone with an intellectual or developmental disability in our community. 


THINGS I DO & YOU CAN TOO LIST:

1. Show up or call into meetings, I  find out a lot on the state websites and often post my newsletter. When I can't make it in person, I ask for an accommodation to participate remotely through a call in or webinar option. 


2. Spend time where the decisions are made. I am often at the Capitol, city/county buildings, or various State Department rule making and task force meetings.  I have learned a lot and met elected officials  in the elevators and after waiting on benches. 


3. Research! I spend time on the General Assembly Website for bills, agendas, and attend committee meetings to observe and testify  https://leg.colorado.gov/  I also follow the departments and city county government. Pick one to start, this is YOUR government! 


4. Good timing to learn more about our State Legislature- The 2019 Session this year starts early on Friday January 4, 2019. 

  • Contact your legislators by talking directly to people with the power That sometimes means waiting several hours in a hall, on a bench, to talk to one key person for 2 minutes. Find out who yours are (some changes will happen at new session start)  at https://leg.colorado.gov/find-my-legislator 

 

  • Do you Live in county of  Denver, Adams. Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson, Boulder, Broomfield, or Larimer?  Millions of property taxes dollars  are earmarked for IDD unmet needs. Get involved regarding mill levy funds, buy attending city council or county commissioners meetings.

 

  • Emails and voicemails are easily deleted and ignored. 

 

  • 2019 is full of opportunity to affect change. What will you do?

 

  • Find the best fit for you to impact change,  here is an excellent article about a variety of ways to impact change here from Rooted in Rights, an amazing project based out of Seattle, Washington.

Did someone share this with you? To receive this newsletter directly in your inbox, subscribe at www.changecoidd.com 

CCB problems worsen- Denver Post Sunday Op Ed 12/9/18

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist and parent of a child with an Intellectual Disability, client of Community Centered Board (CCB).

The Denver Post Editorial Board on Sunday December 9, 2018:

"A long over-due audit of the systems released last week is disheartening."

"The answer is more oversight from the Colorado Department of Health Care and Financing, and more oversight from the public."

Link to Sunday Op Ed in Denver Post December 9, 2018. 


The 4 Emergency Remedies needed immediately :

1. Expedite implementation of Choice of Case Management Agencies by opening contracts from other Case Management Agencies. (Currently only CCBs can offer IDD case management).

2. Terminate all 20 CCB contracts, re-assign the intake/determination/eligibility process to another entity, to be completely separate from case management.

3.  Create and appoint a Special Liaison to the Governor for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, to serve as a Cabinet Member and safe point of contact for the community.

4. Re-establish the Division of Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (DIDD) at the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing (HCPF) to increase oversight of these programs.


What can you do? 

1. Report the CCBs to Feds for investigation

  • Call  Federal Office of Inspector General at 800 447-8477 . 

  • A report can be made anonymously or you can share information for follow up.

  • Press choices for medicaid fraud and then choose to talk to a representative.

2. Email Governor Polis to express need for attention to this issue   https://boldlyforward.co/share-your-thoughts

3. Contact your State Representative and State Senator to share your opinion. Find your legislator. 


Read the highlights and full Office of State Auditor 200+ page Audit report here .

Denver Post Article on Tuesday December 2, 2018

Front Page Article on Audit.  Full article here 

Fraud exposed in Colorado's first ever State Legislative Audit of all 20 CCBs!

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Community Activist 

Released on December 1, 2018 in Legislative Audit Committee.  


State Auditor staff  stated:
If HCPF had limited the unit billing to just the hours a Case manager worked, 
the state would have saved $1M in just one year. CCBs have responsibility in this area too, they are medicaid providers and should not bill for hours beyond what case managers work. 
 
Senator Fields: "I am looking for leadership, I am looking for  someone to look at this and be able to determine how we can be most cost effective with our tax dollars... I am getting frustrated hearing all these problems as being identified and no one is really one is taking initiative to address before an audit takes place… Not new science… Someone  has chosen to ignore it

Front Page article by Christopher Osher 

Tuesday December 4, 2018 Front Page Audit Denver Post Article link click here 

Excerpts:

“Maureen Welch, an advocate for the developmentally and intellectually disabled... People are silenced into fear, because if you speak out, you risk your services and how you are treated," said Welch, whose son has Down syndrome and is unable to speak. “

and 

“Auditors found 202 instances in which CCB milling for case management services to the state totaling more than 24 hours or more in a single day, which auditors determined was not only unfeasible but unreasonable.”

and 

“The auditors found more than $790,000. billed by CCBS to the state that did not follow federal and state requirements.”


 Call it what it is: FRAUD.

What can you do?

  • Call and report it to the Federal Office of Inspector General at 800 447-8477 . 

  • A report can be made anonymously or you can share information for follow up.

  • Press choices for medicaid fraud and then choose to talk to a representative.

  • Cite the Office of State Auditors report outlining the findings of fraud

  • This is a misuse of public funds.

  • The Colorado State Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing has FAILED to exercise oversight of these funds.

  • Funds need to be refunded by CCBs to State and Federal government.

  • We need further investigations and prosecution. 


November 2018 NewsFlash By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

First Ever Statewide Colorado Audit of the 20 Community Centered Boards to be released on December 3, 2018

SB16-038, Regarding the Transparency of Community Centered Boards included a state compliance audit. Now, three years later, Office of State Auditor report will release it on December 3! The Colorado Legislative Audit Committee Hearing for the CCB audit is scheduled for December 3, 2018 from 10 am to 12:00 pm and then again from 1:30 to 4:00 pm. The 20 CCBs and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing will be at the hearing to respond to our recommendations. While the hearing is open to the public, there is no time for public comment. We are still working on where the hearing will be held. It will also be live streamed. It will be posted on our website soon. 

https://leg.colorado.gov/agencies/office-state-auditor/legislative-audit-committee-schedule-agenda 


9News Investigative Team exposes a problem
with no easy solution. Click Here 

Yes, there is a state-wide  issue of services and facilities for our difficult at-risk adults (which by definition, in current statute, includes ALL adult persons with Intellectual and Developmentally Disabled). However, this proposed Office of Public Guardianship is a solution looking for a different problem. The hospitals don't want it enough to donate to this proposed pilot program. I have been attending these "Longest monopoly game" meetings for almost a year.

Story includes quotes with Maureen Welch who feels strongly that this Office would have harmful unintended consequences as the current Guardianship Statute has no safeguards or checks and balances on guardians. Those need to be addressed first in Statute prior to funding an entire office using those statutes. 

 Wednesday Nov 14, 2018

 

https://www.9news.com/video/news/local/newscasts/solutions-hard-to-come-by-for-at-risk-adults-stranded-at-colorado-hospitals/73-8324023

Other 2 stories in the three part series:

Monday Nov 12, 2018 https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/investigations/man-with-alzheimers-sent-on-one-way-flight-to-denver-among-scores-of-patients-stranded-in-hospitals/73-613906543

Tuesday Nov 13, 2018 https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/investigations/nursing-home-dumped-man-unable-to-care-for-himself-in-lobby-of-independent-living-facility/73-614272560


Colorado Legislative Audit Committee has placed Colorado Adult Protective Services (both State and local County Units) in the queue for an Office of State Auditor Performance Audit.

This audit was ordered after an unprecedented level of constituent complaints about Adult Protective Services' unchecked power, ability to get emergency guardianship of persons in two days without the person even appearing in court.  How statute allows these units to operate without transparency with suppressed court documents.

The unlawful kidnapping of at-risk adults  (which by definition in  statute includes all people with Intellectual and Developmentally Disabled) with no formal testing of capacity must end. Stripping people of all their rights with no due process is not acceptable. It is right and good that our legislature is responding.
Remember that contacting your legislator is powerful: you can find yours at https://leg.colorado.gov/find-my-legislator


Denver Auditor Office will do a follow up audit of Rocky Mountain Human Services, Denver's CCB in first quarter of 2019.

  • The needs survey that Denver Human Services contracted to a private consultant revealed a great lack of knowledge of the local mill levy funding for Denver County Residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (projected to be $17.5 Million collected from property taxes in 2018). 

  • Constituents continue to express difficulty in accessing funds and new restrictions on uses imposed unilaterally from RMHS without any input from the Community Advisory Council at RMHS.

  • Denver City Council members have heard concerns and are interested in results of Auditor Tim O'Brien's audit report.

  • Historical Denver Post article regarding the original 2015 scandalous audit here 


Charges of Discrimination under Public Accommodations continue to grow with Community Centered Boards and several Executive Branches of State Government 


The Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) is a effective tool to push for compliance with the Colorado Anti Discrimination Act (CADA).

Protections under CADA include Public Accommodations requiring full and equal enjoyment and participation for all. Their jurisdiction also covers Housing and Employment. The number of cases grow by the week. Explore by attending their free trainings. Attorneys are not required, state staff will assist with filing charges.

More CCRD details on my Blog Post of newsletter dated July 4, 2018. Find at www.changecoidd.com where all these newsletters are archived under BLOG. 

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


 

HEALTH CARE POLICY AND FINANCE (HCPF) SATISFACTION SURVEY - FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER

HEALTH CARE POLICY AND FINANCE (HCPF) SATISFACTION SURVEY - FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
Thank you for your participation in this stakeholder survey. Your answers are highly valued. Feel free to copy and paste this information widely to others.
The results will be published once the survey closes. No taxpayer dollars were used. 
This is an independent survey, and was not requested by HCPF. 
Your answers are important and are confidential.

https://udenver.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_50BjRhmjWR7wQkZ

Rocky Mountain Human Services restricts access to Denver Taxpayer Money, counter to City Ordinance and Voter Initiative

By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist

  1. Millions of dollars are available and Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) is choosing not to get it out to qualified, needy and most vulnerable Denver Residents.
  2. Is RMHS planning to use it for expanding their own organization with more employees? The last board meeting in July 2018 shared hiring dozens of therapists, rather than use independent providers in the community. 
  3. The new contract allocates a maximum amount to RMHS of $8.5 million for the remainder of 2018, bringing the total mill levy funding for 2018 to $16 million. It also allocates $14 million for 2019, and $15 million for 2020. per RMHS post here. 
  4. "The new contract allocates a maximum amount to RMHS of $8.5 million for the remainder of 2018, bringing the total mill levy funding for 2018 to $16 million. It also allocates $14 million for 2019, and $15 million for 2020." according to the RMHS July 5, 2018 website.
  5. Rocky Mountain Human Services has unilaterally changed the allowable uses of Denver Taxpayer money intended for "unmet needs of Denver Residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. This newsletter went out on August 30 and the change was effective the next day, September 1.
  6. This change was not considered by the Community Advisory Council, which supposedly "advises" RMHS on mill levy programs and priorities.Suddenly with no notice, 
  7. Another sudden change, RMHS has also stopped accepting proposals from community partners who use Mill Levy Monies to offer in-demand programming to qualified participants (Denver City and County Proper Residents who also have Intellectual Developmental Disability). It might reopen to requests after January 2018, the website states here.  
  8. See the new RMHS changes to the Client Assistance Fund overview, sent out as a link in their August newsletter. The flyer with new restrictions is below and   here.
RMHSClientAssistance.jpg

Why? So many unanswered questions.

  1.  Where is the Denver Human Services contracted Needs assessment report Health Management Associates completed in July 2018 which cost $50,000. of  mill levy tax funds. It was supposed to be released to the public, and used transparently to improve the ordinance directive.
  2.  The need in the community is great yet RMHS is not getting the money out. And they are not being inclusive OR transparent. They never ran this past the very council at RMHS which advises on mill levy, the Community Advisory Council.
  3. In the July 2018, Executive Director report to the Board of Directors , it states 86 percent increase in services for Denver residents’ individual needs requests. This demonstrates a great need, and rather than restrict, there should be automation to make requests faster and easier. 
  4.  State Deeper dive coming soon: The Office of State Auditor plans to release their statewide audit of Community Centered Boards in late 2018, including RMHS. 
  5.  Denver Deeper dive: The Denver Auditor's Office will do a follow up audit from the 2015 audit scandal of RMHS, to check in on local mill levy funds in early 2018.
  6. Denver City and County  has these local property tax mill levy funds allocated and they need to be used, to directly meet unmet needs of individuals rather than remain allocated in a budget, but never distributed. 

The Colorado Civil Rights Division: How it works.
Remedies, both non monetary and monetary, are possible, often through mediation. No Cost, no Attorney Required! 

 By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist  


What is the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD)?

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

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). 


How Does a Person file a Charge of Discrimination (a compliant)?

  • The Civil Rights Division investigates claims involving discrimination based on a protected class in three categories: employment, housing and places of public accommodation.
  • It is a State Funded Division, and a neutral party.
  • CCRD encourages use of no-cost Voluntary Mediation with their staff, for initial attempt at Dispute Resolution. This gets parties to the table within 60 days. Details at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/civil-rights/mediation
  • The mediation is a free 4 hour half day session, within 60 days of the Charge filing date. This can often result in resolution, if not, after 7 days post mediation, the case moves into investigation with CCRD.
  • Voluntary 4 hour initial mediation may result in a monetary or non-monetary resolution that can benefit and reduce costs for all parties.
  • Online filing, no attorney needed. It is easy for lay people to access online.  After filing online, an intake person calls to write up the official Charge of Discrimination. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/caseconnect-0.
  • All cases are reviewed by intake staff for consideration of Charge of Discrimination.
  • If you have in past sought help without success, you might be surprised at how the Division take all complaints quite seriously, efficiently with timelines. 
  • If you are an individual with a disability and require an accommodation in order to access CCRD's services, please call 303-894-2997 (local), 800-262-4845 (voice), 711 TTD - Relay, Hotline Español: 720-432-4294,  send an email to dora_CCRD@state.co.us, or request an accommodation in person at CCRD's office.
  • Filing a Charge of Discrimination in person at CCRD:  When:  Tuesdays (that are not State holidays), between 8:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (no appointment necessary - first come, first served basis ). Location: Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), 1560 Broadway, Lobby Level Welcome Center, Denver, Colorado.
    • If you have a disability and need an accommodation while visiting the office, please contact our office in advance so they can make appropriate arrangements for you.
    • If you require the assistance of a language interpreter for a language other than Spanish, please contact the office in advance, so an appropriate arrangement can be made.
    • Your may complete your Complaint Intake Packet by using CaseConnect  online,  prior to filing of a Charge of Discrimination in person.
  • Department of Regulatory Agencies
    1560 Broadway, Suite 110
    Denver, CO  80202. 
    Hours:  Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST
    Tel:  303-894-7855  or  1-800-886-7675 - Toll Free
  • There are three areas covered: Housing, Employment and Accommodations. 
  • The  Colorado Civil Rights Division does not  have jurisdiction over claims involving:
    • federal employees filing against a federal employer
    • police and sheriff misconduct
    • judicial or court matters
    • prisoners' rights
    • characteristics such as personal appearance, political affiliation, lack of education and training, short-term disabilities, and personality conflicts
    • labor relations issues, including wage and hour matters not based on a protected class, and workers' compensation

What do I need to file a Charge of Discrimination?

It is helpful to have

  1. a charge of discrimination in one of three covered areas: Employment, Housing or Public Accomodations
  2. a summary of the discrimination, timeline helpful.
  3. a  list of individuals involved, full names, titles and contact information.
  4. the charge can be made for an Organization, Company, or related group (Board of Directors, Community Centered Board, School District, State, County or local Agencies, and almost every system). Within that charge of discrimination you can list the individuals involved. Managers are responsible for actions of their staff.
  5. an understanding that this process is transparent, meaning documents are all uploaded and available to complainant and respondent.
  6.  witnesses in a charge of discrimination are also protected.  If they experience discrimination as retribution for being listed, that can be used in the charge.

Intake Specialists will assist with the charge:

  1. The clearer your summary and timeline, the easier for the intake specialist. 
  2. Be aware of timelines for types of charges, and remember last contact can be related to an earlier incident.
  3. The Division will take your case seriously and assist with understanding the process. It is very user friendly and can result in resolution quickly.

Critical Details from CCRD Website here:

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:

  • Employment
    • Race, Color, Disability, Sex, Pregnancy, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/ Ancestry, Religion, Creed, Age, Marriage to a Co-worker, Retaliation
    • Legally, a charge of discrimination in Employment must be filed within six months of an adverse action in employment discrimination claims.
  • 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
    • For Housing claims, there is one year timeframe to file from the last date of discriminatory harm to file a complaint with CCRD.
  • Public Accommodations 
    • Race, Color, Disability, Sex, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/ Ancestry, Creed, Marital Status, Retaliation
    • Legally, a charge of discrimination must be filed within sixty days of an adverse action in public accommodations claims.

What Authority does CCRD have in Colorado Statute?

  • Civil Rights Division and Commission sits at DORA- Department of Regulatory Affairs
  • Statutes related to the Colorado Civil Rights Division and Commission sit in statute under Title 24, Article 34,
  • Links to  Colorado Statute searchable here . 
  • Simpliest is to just look at full Colorado Revised Statute and choose Title 24, they click on Principal departments to see Article 34.
  1. CRS 24-34-306 (2)(a) After the filing of a charge alleging a discriminatory or unfair practice as defined by parts 4 to 7 of this article, the director, with the assistance of the division's staff, shall make a prompt investigation of the charge. The director may subpoena witnesses and compel the testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and records if the testimony, books, papers, and records sought are limited to matters directly related to the charge. Any subpoena issued pursuant to this paragraph (a) shall be enforceable in the district court for the district in which the alleged discriminatory or unfair practice occurred and shall be issued only if the person or entity to be subpoenaed has refused or failed, after a proper request from the director, to provide voluntarily to the director the information sought by the subpoena.
  2. CRS 24-34-601 (2)  (a) It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation or, directly or indirectly, to publish, circulate, issue, display, post, or mail any written, electronic, or printed communication, notice, or advertisement that indicates that the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from, or denied an individual or that an individual's patronage or presence at a place of public accommodation is unwelcome, objectionable, unacceptable, or undesirable because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry.
  3. CRS 24-34-601 2 (b) A claim brought pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) that is based on disability is covered by the provisions of section 24-34-802.
  4. CRS 24-34-601 (2.5). Discrimination in places of public accommodation.  It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for any person to discriminate against any individual or group because such person or group has opposed any practice made a discriminatory practice by this part 6 or because such person or group has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted pursuant to this part 6.

 

 

Money Grab for Rocky Mountain Human Services, $37.5M contract with NO RFP/competitive bidding process

 

Written by Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist and parent

of case management client at RMHS

 

 Protected under the First Amendment, freedom of expression. 

It's time to transition to a competitive process to ensure quality, conflict free choice of services for Denver residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Denver has a unique property tax (or "mill levy"), which has always gone to one organization for past fifteen years. Currently, an incredible  of $17.5M is projected for 2018 Denver IDD Mill Levy. It is better to look at trying something completely new, rather than repeat what has already been done with limited success and unspent funds the last two years.   

Denver Ordinance was updated in early 2017 to allow the City the flexibility to contract with any organization or company, interested in meeting the unmet needs of residents of Denver for this $17.5M a year. Yet RMHS continues to be the sole agency of Mill Levy funds. Many local agencies are very interested in serving the IDD. Currently they must go to RMHS to ask for funding and must agree to their oppressive requirements, including IDD contractors to surrender rights to all their intellectual property. This limits who might apply to have to get paid through RMHS. It also places control of multiple millions in a private non profit's leadership top officers, most likely creating a relationship of fear and control. 

Access to individual funding for unique requests ("client assistance funds")  is arbitrary, and unclear with case managers acting as gatekeepers, issuing  verbal denials rather than true processing of requests. This calls into question all the client assistance approval/denial rate data shared from RMHS to Denver in the Mill Levy Reports. It also leads to question of how much need is not going to be requested, as word on the street is the process is long, difficult, requiring a lot of time with multiple letters just to be told no. 

It is well past time to move Denver IDD Mill Levy into the 21st century and out of the centralized "mother-may-I", human services with FTE heavy monopoly at RMHS.  Currently there is no room for innovation when one agency and people at the very top of leadership calling all the shots. 

New opportunities might emerge with competition. There is an established company with local presence, interested in making a proposal of an automated payment processing system, with client empowered access for use of approved funds. Open an RFP process for innovative ideas, not currently those categories of services already available. 

It takes a lot of chutzpah for RMHS to ask for 88% of the total tax fund given all their history, past and present.  Without a competitive bid process, this a simple Money Grab which grants Rocky Mountain Human Services' (RMHS) huge power over services for a vulnerable population. 

Not only does RMHS have control to all the millions, and keep $8M a year for their own organization, now they have the gall to request a raise the allowable administrative/overhead from 15 to 18%? Unbelievable! 

1. It is prudent to make a shorter term contract, to examine several forthcoming audit reports on Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) coming forth in next year. Also, Denver Human Services has a consultant working on a needs assessment due in July.

  • State: The 2015 Denver Auditor office report cited major deficiencies which triggered state legislation for increased transparency  and Office of State Auditor is wrapping up a state wide audit of all 20 CCBs, including RMHS, per SB16-038.  
  • Local: The Denver Auditor Office has RMHS scheduled for an audit team in first quarter of 2019.
  • In my late March 2018 newsletter, I shared that RMHS allowed funds from mill levy to be used inappropriately.  Both Denver Human Services (DHS) and RMHS failed to ensure recipients were both Denver residents with intellectual/Developmental Disability (IDD) status. 

2. RMHS Discriminatory Treatment: Several State Civil Rights Division complaints at Colorado Civil Rights Division have been filed against RMHS, more are coming, and at least one is cross filed at EEOC (Federal level). Many are too fearful to file these due to the centralized control of RMHS and the monopoly of controlling Mill Levy dollars. 

 

3. The word on the street is that RMHS likely has misused funds from the Denver Mill Levy.

  • Allowing one organization and its CEO/leadership team, far too much control over $17.5M a year in flexible funding might by many, be considered a very high risk move. It allows one organization, already with a monopoly of captured IDD clients with no local choice, to have unwieldy power over access to these funds by a vulnerable population, the IDD. 
  • I, Maureen Welch, had raised concerning findings at a board meeting in May, and CFO of RMHS, John Wetherington, stated that “Denver Human Services said it was ok" that some funds were not used for Denver or IDD. 
  • CEO at RMHS, Shari Repinski, stated that Denver Human Services auditor was constantly monitoring.
  • Approximately the same time, a DHS internal auditor assigned to this RMHS contract, Cynthia Hinojosa, went on leave and now “no longer works for DHS” (per Justin Sykes of DHS). Official details are not available, since it is a human resources issue, but the action raises eyebrows about who is protecting who and if there is the cover-up?

5. The Community Advisory Council (CAC) at RMHS is bogus. The City was lead to believe that this group would  have input into the use of mill levy funds when in fact, they only learn of expenditures/decisions after they are already made. Several members have expressed frustration and asked what their purpose was, if their areas of expertise were not consulted before RMHS made large commitments for these dollars.  

 

6. Open Denver Mill LevyFunding to a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

  • When the Council codified the Mill Levy for IDD into Ordinance, it created flexibility for City contracting with other with other organizations to meet the unmet needs of Denver residents with IDD.
  • The city is no longer limited to using just a CCB, RMHS as it was historically.
  • There will be multiple case management agencies in Denver in the near future per federal Final Rule. 
  • RMHS has proven they do not have efficient processes to get money “out the door”, demonstrated by the balance in the cash account of nearly $9M which went unspent in last two fiscal years.

7. Just say “NO"  to raising the allowable overhead from current 15% to 18%. Those are millions of dollars that potentially would go into a private non profit, rather then directly reach Denver's IDD residents.

  • RMHS already steers nearly half the mill levy to themselves, about $8M a year for their own services provided (case management, behavioral services, and coordination). 
  • The Denver Auditor’s Office expressed serious concerns about overhead cost containment; It was an area of focus in the 2015 Denver Auditor’s RMHS audit report.
  • RMHS appears to be a greedy, controlling and oppressive gatekeeper. As a pass through, they wield their power and control, making many individual client requests so lengthy and burdensome so many just give up.  
  • For community partners, RMHS takes high overhead to act as no more than a “pass through”; Mill levy Subcontracting Community Partners are forced to sign over  their intellectual property to RMHS and take on huge insurance policies.
  • Why not allow Community Partners to respond to RFPs for services directly rather than have a “mother-may-I” relationship to RMHS, costing 15%?

8. RMHS announced it will be awarded the CDHS “transition specialist” contract for nearly $5M a year to transition patients from the state’s two mental institutions Fort Logan and Pueblo into community living. They is a shiny new revenue source for them, in mental health services. Many in the medicaid community of providers have expressed surprise and wonder about how RMHS won this lucrative contract, since they don't have expertise in this arena. 

———-

Attend a community meeting Monday June 11th afternoon at 4:30 pm or at 5:30pm  to share YOUR opinions/experiences about Mill levy and Unmet need,  hosted by Health Management Associates (HMS) . HMA was hired by Denver Human Services for $50,000, to conduct and submit a needs assessment. 

Public meeting on DHS' needs assessment of services for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

 

You may also join the discussion via phone at 1-877-668-4493 (access code 732 060 503#) or via Webex (http://bit.ly/2sB8lzx). In addition, the first presentation session of the meeting (4-5:30 p.m.) will be broadcast via Facebook Live from the Denver Human Services Facebook page.

 

Open to the public, providers, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and other stakeholders.

 

Monday, June 11, Two sessions, at 4pm and 5:30 pm

Laradon, 5100 Lincoln Street, Denver, CO 80216

 

Survey results from the City and County of Denver’s Assessment of Services for Denver residents with I/DD will be presented at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

 

Attendees will have the opportunity to react and provide additional feedback after each presentation.

 

 

 

Questions? Contact Robyn Odendahl, Health Management Associates, rodendahl@healthmanagement.com.

 

A sign language interpreter or open captioning via CART provided upon request by contacting SignLanguageServices@denvergov.org.

________

 

Both the 2.5 year $37.5M contract and raise of 3% for administrative overhead (from 15 to 18%). City Council Action Items are up at SAFEHOUSE Committee Wed 6/13/18 10:30am

*Briefing, Public comment and Action will be taken in Committee on June 13 at 10:30 am City and County Building 1437 Bannock St., Rm. 391 Denver, CO 80202.

*Comment limited to two to three minutes a person. Fine to bring written hand out.  To sign up to speak, early, before 10am if possible, sign up closes at 10:15.  There is a max of 15 minutes total of comment allowed, so get there early to make sure you are top of the speaker list.

*If you cannot come but want someone attending to read a written very short statement, that is acceptable. They also can submit written statement for you. And you can email the committee staff contact  Shelly Smith shelley.smith@denvergov.org or call Phone: 720-337-2000 and ask for her. 

18-0588 Bill approves a $37.5 million contract with Rocky

Mountain Human Services, over two and a half years. (Three segments are delineated in this contract, 1- initial five month contract for rest of 2018, a second optional extension for 2019 and Third optional extension for for 2020.)  According to staff, this contract allows for Denver Human Services to extend the contract under this bill for these two additional, one year terms.

18-0589 Ordinance Change: Amends Section 53-550 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code (DRMC) to authorize the use of dedicated mill levy revenue to provide services to children up to age five with developmental delays and people seeking a developmental disabilities or delays determination and to increase the allowable administrative and overhead percentage to 18%  (currently is 15%) of total expenses through 2020.

1. Here is link to committee meeting info https://denver.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=607830&GUID=8004BBF4-F22B-4C75-B9FE-DE08FD20F75D&Options=info&Search=

2. Link to contract request (18-0588) and June 13 Powerpoint for committee https://denver.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3504798&GUID=CCD4F698-06F6-4ED1-BF70-EBDDCB0C3B95

3. Link to ordinance change request (18-0589 to raise admin/overhead to 18%  and includes updated draft language.

https://denver.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3504799&GUID=FADA53C0-9CAF-4FAF-989D-ABCB0E8ED052&Options=&Search=

Secret Gestapo tactics of Adult Protective Services in Colorado Counties - callous disregard of Colorado rules, regs and legislative intent.

 By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist


All Content is my own, protected under the
First Amendment of the Constitution

     They simply do not want to believe it. I share real world experiences, from the community. For months, and for some boards, years,  I keep coming back.  No matter how unpleasant those "chosen" voting members make it, I return. Why? They are more committed to believing their version of "truth" than reality. My comments contradict their version of the truth, which is threatening.  

    Systems, like state government and their privatized sevice subcontractors- only want well behaved stakeholders who "know their place" and after voicing their concerns, they nod in agreement in group think and go away, to never return.

     When stakeholders present information which threatens or questions the systems, they are are treated disrespectfully, scolded for sharing new information, and their time is cut short when others are allowed to go on for twenty minutes. Regardless of this patronizing, dismissive and discriminatory treatment, I will keep showing up and speaking out. 

    Yes, we need adult protective services to protect the most vulnerable. Sadly there are many real cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation.  However there is a  need for guardrails to avoid unintended consequences. 


The content of my public comment threatens many, because I share reports from the community which trigger a defensive, emotional response because these challenge what they believe is the "truth". 

  • My testimony is direct, an untethered independent voice with clear "asks" to increase process, transparency, accountability and justice.

  • I work with many, many families to voluntarily guide them, free of charge, to get what they need and to which they are entitled. This activism covers many silos: school systems,  medicaid/waiver benefits, Social Security Administration, local mill levy funding and more recently, Adult Protective Services. Many comment that I am much more helpful than the paid people supposedly there to help. 

  • My facts are based on my interactions with individuals and their families who live with disabilities. People trust me with their most disturbing experiences.

  • It continues to amaze me that few impacted members of the public participate, but after being treated poorly, I am reminded that most would not subject themselves to these negative experiences.

  • Ultimately, it threatens the status quo and people in positions of power prefer to dismiss us as "a couple of advocates" rather than care enough to welcome, listen and respond.


May 2018 State Board of Human Services

1. On May 4th, 2018, during the board meeting, State Board Member Bernie Buescher, waged an attack and criticism of my Newsletter that compared Adult Protective Services operations as "Gestapo like". His feeling of being offended was more important to share than the violations of rights of the At Risk Adults that I highlighted.

2. During this same May State Board meeting, after Bernie's scolding my newsletter, per first amendment right to free speech, no one else at the table, neither the Board Chair David Ervin or CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha, a governor appointee, said anything to support a stakeholder in exercising their right to free expression. This makes the entire board culpable to discouraging a member of the public from sharing real experiences from the community.

3. Cognitive Dissonance is systemic at State Board of Human Services (CDHS). 


How does this injustice happen with Adult Protective Services (APS)?

  1. APS is an administrative program. They do not rise to criminal justice standards of "beyond a reasonable doubt". Yet judges overwhelmingly defer to their recommendations regarding guardianships based on questionable "investigations".

  2. Be aware that per Colorado Rules and Regulations, APS can  investigate anyone, without them being aware because notifications are only made after a substantiation.

  3. APS often tries to pulls in everyone for interviews, from other family members, providers, neighbors, friends and case managers. This can even be distant people, remember that they are looking for anything that can be twisted or interpreted to validate their position. 

  4. All this information gathered by County APS is required to be recorded in a data base called the CAPS system (for Colorado Adult Protective Services). They have a similar data base for Child Welfare called TRAILS.

  5. The information in the data base can remain, in perpetuity, without anyone's knowledge.

  6. Local Counties run the APS operations, with State supervision. APS training of investigators is minimal. The APS "investigators" are trained with an online Pre Academy (PAW) workbook, which is based in elder research. Then they eventually attend a 5 day training  "Academy" (sounds like pseudo- law enforcement) hosted by the State APS staff (to be expanded to 7 days), and then receive laterally by coworkers in on the job training. The state declined to provide much detail as to the content of this APS "Academy" besides a short basic outline.

  7. These local APS investigators are making recommendations on their judgement of cognition and competency (which is actually a separate legal process in a court proceeding) without appropriate credentials.

  8. APS investigators are also conducting "interviews" of complex individuals with IDD. They are not trained in the complexities of such forensic interviewing, usually done by a licensed psychologist with special endorsements. They fail to offer ADA accommodations and denied individuals the right to counsel,  stating those with IDD do not have capacity to select legal representation. APS interview operations are wholly inappropriate for this IDD population. One local psychologist shared that he now is treating patients with IDD  for the trauma from these APS interrogations.

  9.  Once all this information from questionable interviews are entered in the CAPS data syste,, they can and will use this past information to assist with fabricating their false narrative.

  10. Then APS waits, ready to pounce when they see an opportunity. Common situations include: treatment in an Emergency room for routine interventions, a hospital admission, a  filing for voluntary guardianship by a family member or a short term voluntary respite stay.  they seen an entry point. They file for emergency guardianship and the judges seem to believe them and rarely consider or engage the person with IDD or their families in courtrooms. If one doesn't have funds for an attorney to fight for their loved one, they are at a huge disadvantage.

  11. After July 1, 2018 there will be a registry of substantiated "perpetrators". Family caregivers/members and seventeen year olds are not excluded. Employers can submit names for cross check with this Registry to check an applicant. 

  12. Clearly there are many abuse, neglect and exploitation cases which are quite real and valid, worthy of substantiation. However I am hearing more and more cases where APS had pulled adults from their own family home, to have County APS get guardianship awarded by a judge, based on mistruths.

  13. Then County APS as guardian becomes their captors, dictating in which host home they reside, change their service plans/day programs, restrict or forbid contact with others, and monitor phone and visitor conversations. The person with IDD  loses all their rights, their dignity and their right to privacy.

  14. From cases shared with me, APS appears to targets those struggling with cost of living, often single parents, and those they know will be unable to hire legal representation. 

  15. Emergency Guardianship is supposed to be life-threatening situations, but County APS is being granted this for much less. 

  16. Guardianship by statute is only supposed to be over placement (where they live) and medical per statute. 

  17. Yet APS is taking over all aspects of their "ward's" life: including restricting visitation, concocting charges against family members to keep them away from their family member with Intellectual Disabilities and not informing family members where their loved one even lives!

  18. Wards in guardianships DO HAVE RIGHTS. By statute they have a right to have their preferences considered regarding who is their Guardian and who is their lawyer.

  19. Yet many judges fail to listen to ward or their family at all. They all default to the local APS staff and county attorney. This is so wrong and unjust. 


Advice about APS:

  1. Information is power. Protect it. Tell those close to you to be wise and to share as little as necessary. Assume there is no privacy. Know that what you tell one person in a system will likely get to another, breaking confidentiality.  (IE some Providers, CCB to APS to HCPF to CDHS to Judicial Branch).

  2. It does not help cases to cooperate with APS once they have set their machine into motion. 

  3. Never sign anything. Tell your loved one with IDD and people close to him/her, to never sign anything. Also practice saying "I do not to talk to anyone alone, and I want a lawyer." 

  4. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) applies for accommodations during APS proceedings. Ask for the accommodations needed due to disability status. 

  5. It does help to refuse to talk to APS until your lawyer is present. Yes, even if you have done nothing wrong.

  6. The person with IDD has rights even if there is a guardian, including legal counsel and input to their guardian appointment. Cases stopped in tracks were those who got an attorney for the person with IDD before any interview occurred, and was told he was to be contacted for anything related to his client. 

  7. Lawyer up. Don't talk. Information can be twisted and can be used against you.

  8. Contact me. I have an intake form to help you organize your case, create a timeline. I also have list of attorneys and also can help you with free options.

  9. A free option is a Colorado Civil Rights Division complaint, free and forces the parties to a table in mediation. The Division can subpoena documents (note APS  information limited to court orders for access), individuals and make award "adjudicatory powers". This is done fast, over the phone and computer. Mediation is free, gets both parties to the table within weeks and their staff is most helpful.  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/civil-rights

 

State Board of CO Human Services Member publicly admonishes free speech of mother of a child with Down Syndrome


Written content by Maureen Welch, volunteer
Video content by David Owen, family advocate

"This is not about me personally, it is about holding government accountable. I will continue to do so, regardless of how I am treated. This is what Democracy looks like." -Maureen Welch, volunteer activist.

During the public State Board of Human Services (CDHS) on May 4, 2018, State board member Bernie Buescher, attorney, former State Representative, former governor appointed secretary of state and medicaid agency director,  rebuked volunteer stakeholder Maureen Welch for her last email newsletter.  Mr. Buescher stated that her emails "challenge the integrity of state employees and county employees". He continued stating this "makes it harder for me to listen to you. I was angry after reading your last email." 

The First Amendment protects Freedom of Speech and the Press. It is clear that the Board is not happy with Ms. Welch's role in calling out department shortcomings as a citizen whistle blower. Just moments prior to Mr. Buescher's lambasting, she shared recent changes by the department which brought CDHS into compliance with the Colorado Open Meetings Act. These changes only occurred after she attended and made public comment for several months at Department of Human Services Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and Sub PAC bodies. The transparency of these advisory bodies are critical, as they review draft rules, which then go to State Board for a vote (more info on PAC and Sub PAC click here). Department rules are the "how" to implementing legislative changes to the statute, which are the "what".

At Colorado Human Services' PAC and Sub PAC meetings over last months, the department of Human Services staff insisted they were not subject to the Colorado Open Meetings Act, and they were "following the law". After repeated comments to the contrary by Ms. Welch, the department asked the Assistant Attorney General for legal interpretation. The AAG's review determined that these advisory bodies are indeed subject to Colorado's Open Meeting law. So now the information is available online. The PAC on May 3, even added the Open Meetings clause for the first time to their new bylaws draft. Now there are pages online with the meeting documents, agendas, minutes for public to access.

This experience results in a perception, that that the State board is more vested in defending the "mistakes" by state/county workers, and maintaining the department practices, than listening to critical stakeholder experiences. It is no wonder that the public hesitates to participate in the stakeholder process when the Board castigates public comment by stakeholder in the disability community in a scathing manner.

The State Board has so far voted the APS rule drafts in, even after valid concerns are made by stakeholders who stepped forward. These concerns regarding APS Rule packets for for APS Registry/Background Check rules stemming from HB17-1284.
a.) overreach of statute (no severity levels or mention of substantiating minors ages 10-17)
b.) employer concerns regarding the $35 cost maximum and 10 day wait possible for registry check,
c.) allowing minors from 10-17 to be substantiated and put on the registry of perpetrators
d.) the inclusion of social security number in rule packet 3 as an indentifier
e.) questions around quality and training of APS investigators, such as the PAW training  listing Emergency room visits as an indicator of abuse/neglect
f.) concerns around the security of all the data in the CAPS data system, which remains even if no substantiation occurs.
g.) lack of consistency in application across counties


Video 1- May 4, 2018Public Comment- CDHS process at PAC and Sub PAC was not compliant with State Statute (law). Maureen Welch talks about Process and Trust. 


Video 2- May 4, 2018- just over one minute, State Board CDHS meeting. 

After Ms Welch shared the recent changes made by the Department to come into compliance, Mr. Buescher shares his "anger" with Ms. Welch while defends the "mistakes" of State and County Employees. State Board members are appointed by the Governor

Here is Mr. Buescher's comment to Ms. Welch:
"I have to make a comment. I appreciate your passion, and your “stick-to-it ness”, on many issues I agree with you. At the same time, your language sometimes does not help build trust, your most recent email that uses the phrase “Gestapo tactics” offended me and makes it harder for me to listen to you. I was angry after reading you last email.

When you send out emails that challenge the integrity of state employees and county employees who I believe sometimes make mistakes but who they are good people trying to do their best. I ask you to be thoughtful about the rhetoric you use because I don’t think sometimes that it helps your cause. "

Videos highlight major issues in Co Dept of inHumane Services Adult Protective Services Rule Packet 3!

Content By Maureen Welch, Volunteer

Videography by David Owen

Rule packet 3 for the May 4 State Board approval vote, is https://bit.ly/2rgiuzM This is last of recent rule packets from HB17-1284 to create a registry of substantiated persons of Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of at-risk adults, including the intellectual/developmentally disabled.

4 top issues in this packet which need to be severed out before a State Board of Human Services vote are:

1. Minors as young as 10 years old could be investigated as substantiated perpetrators! The investigation information will be in system forever (even if it is not substantiated, it remains) and they could be added to the Registry of substantiated persons ("perpetrators") for abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect.  This is absurd. Including minors ages 10-17 were not directive of statute per HB17-1284 and should be severed out prior to State Board approval.

2. Severity Levels- This rule packet has severity levels for substantiated persons. This is to allow "negotiation" by persons. Severity levels are not a directive in statute per HB17-1284 and should be severed out prior to State Board approval. 

3. $35 Cost and wait time of the APS background check The registry check can cost up to $35 and take up to 10 days to hear back. This is a barrier for providers to hire with rate structure and competitive job market. The amount ceiling should be lowered prior to State Board approval. 

4. The Department plans to only have the employer registration open for only one month prior to launch date of December 1, 2019. The disaster launch of HPE/DXC new medicaid payment system comes to mind with "systems crashing" and staff out for holidays. The department must have a reasonable plan to registering employers who will use the CAPS check or it will crash and will harm services for at risk adults.


Video 1 https://bit.ly/2retPQZ 

March 28, 2018 Stakeholder Meeting- State APS confirms that under proposed rule packet 3, (up for board vote 5/4/18) minors age 11-17 can be placed on the substantiated “perpetrator” registry (blacklist), even if they have intellectual or developmental disabilities themselves! Shocking!


Video 2 https://bit.ly/2Fz8hDO 

April 4 &5, 2018- Peg Rogers from State Adult Protective Services at Colorado Department of inHumane Services seems to have some memory issues around her own comments. Confidentiality is critical and yet they are seeing "a lot of violations"? And Peg seems to feel it is ok to wait to a quarterly meeting to address this BREACH of public trust?


Video 3 https://bit.ly/2jlpRCD 

March 28, 2018 Jim Tatten, J.D., raises issue the point that these rules go beyond statute. Mindy Kemp, CDHS APS,  diverts to an Assistant Attorney General opinion. "Further defining statute" is not the the role of a rule making body; it crosses the line to making law. 


Video 4https://bit.ly/2I1afSX

March 28, 2018- What happens if the CAPS system Crashes? An employer stakeholder expresses her concerns that January 1, 2019 launch date might be a huge crash. This raises the memories of HPE/DXC payment debacle with Medicaid payment. 

 Peg Rogers believes one month in December is sufficient for employers to log in, register and be verified prior to a January 1, 2019 live date. This seems naive, especially with holiday time of year, a brand new background check requirement that is not well known . One month when much of regular staff is on holiday,  is not sufficient. This can and will harm at risk adults if hiring is impacted due to lack of planning by CDHS APS staff.


Participate- Multiple options. Anyone can still give input!

Colorado Department of inHumane Services (CDHS) has their State board meeting

Friday May 4, 2018 State Board CDHS

Location: Colorado Department of Human Services, 1575 Sherman Street, 8th Floor, Denver, CO 80203
1. Come in person
2. Remote options to listen in webinar or phone
3. Phone Comment possible with at least 24 hours comment.  
4. Email comment anytime, to Board staff  beth.kline@state.co.us 

8:30 AM Work Session (No public Comment)

  • Competency and Restorations, Robert Werthwein
  • An Economic Analysis of Early Care in Education in Colorado, Meg Franko 

10:00 AM Rulemaking Session

  1. Attendance
  2. Call to Order
  3. Open Comments Period for items not on Agenda
  4. Board Business
  5. Rule Making Session- Comment period precedes each item on agenda.
    1. Document 1: Adult Protective Services Program Revisions (12 CCR 2518-1) 17-06-26-03
    2. Document 2: Medication Consistency in Designated Facilities (2 CCR 502-1) 17-12-20-01
    3. Document 3: Updates to Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (10 CCR 2506-1) 18-02-07-02
    4. Document 4: Big Rule Updates (10 CCR 2506-1) 18-02-07-03
    5. Document 5: Aid to the Needy Disabled State Only and Home Care Allowance Grant Increase (9 CCR 2503-5) 17-11-28-01
  6. Other Business
  7. Departmental Update

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

ShowRule Making Session Agendas & Minutes

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.

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.

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.