Happy New Year- A reflection and look into 2017

2016 was a year of pressure to respond to the need for change in Colorado's Intellectual Disability services delivery system. Looking forward, 2017 will be setting the groundwork for years to come with the submitting of the 2019 drafts of the HCBS waivers (CES, SLS and DD) with new Federal Final rule compliance.  Also the next phase of the Affordable Care Collaborative (ACC). Of course, it is yet to be seen what will happen with medicaid programs and funding with a new Administration in the White House.
    We must be optimistic and continue the work to increase transparency, real consumer choice of both waiver targeted case management (only Community centered boards CCBS now) as well as direct services. We need to step forward to share our stories and strengthen our voices at at our county commission, local CCBs, State level at the Capitol, HCPF and other departments which are tasked with oversight at the regional centers, and investigations/enforcements (CDPHE and CDHS) and with our federal elected officials. 
CELEBRATIONS
*In December 2015
 the Denver Auditor's report of local county Mill levy funding exposed serious financial issues at Denver's CCB http://www.denverpost.com/2015/12/17/denver-audit-finds-shameful-misspending-for-intellectually-disabled/
*On December 31, 2015 The community united at a Press Conference to announce the need for accountability and transparency legislation.  http://www.denverpost.com/2015/12/31/parents-of-colorado-children-with-disabilities-fight-for-change/
*The legislative session was contentious, with SB16-038 Regarding transparency in Community Centered Boards being laid over four times in Senate committee but with strong community testimony, and lengthy negotiations,  it passed easliy through both chambers and was signed into law on June 1, 2016. State Audits will begin and transparency provisions will be put into Colorado Rules and Regulations in 2017. http://coloradofoic.org/governor-signs-ccb-transparency-bill-rocky-mountain-human-services/
*SB16-038 Details https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb16-038
*Employment First SB16-077 passed to address need for more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb16-077
*Late in 2016, responding to citizen concerns, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties set a precedent for local counties to proactively conduct an audit of their local mill levy money at Developmental Pathways, CCB. You too, can approach your county commission and request audits like families did in Douglas and Arapahoe Counties with audit as an outcome. Taxpayers deserve this accountability of voter approved local mill levy taxes.  http://www.denverpost.com/2016/12/06/arapahoe-douglas-counties-disability-funding-audit/

Somber Reality with Abuse Neglect Cases filed for Justice
There is so much work to be done to rid our system of abuse and neglect. There are many quality providers who are worthy of  recognition, respect and a real living wage. However it appears there is open season in Colorado for abusers and bad providers in the system to continue unpunished. 
*Passage of SB16-019 Concerning Mandatory Reporting of Mistreatment of an adult with a disability.  http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2015a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont2/E12A97A15F59EB1F87257DCC00575005/$FILE/109_enr.pdf
*Exposed abuse and neglect in the Colorado State Run Pueblo Regional center with Feds investigating http://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/27/pueblo-home-for-disabled-oversight-deficient/
*18 Pueblo Victims represented in a law suit against Colorado over violation of civil rights strip searches at Pueblo Regional Center in March 2015. http://www.westword.com/news/strip-searches-genital-manipulation-suit-accuses-state-of-abusing-mental-patients-8397208
*February 2017 Trial of Host Home Abuser Kelly Benz in Boulder County Courts http://www.dailycamera.com/erie-news/ci_30208773/erie-caregiver-accused-abusing-patients-set-trial-february
*December 2016 - 24 Felony Charges against school bus aide who abused students also in Boulder County Courts  http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-schools/ci_30694431/st-vrain-valley-bus-assistant-charged-24-felony

Three HCBS Waivers (CES, SLS, DD) Drafts will be submitted by HCPF to Federal CMS in 2017 to begin back and forth for the 2019 final waiver renewals. These are renewed every 5 years, and will cover 2019-2024. These will expand to include Consumer directed Services (SLS only) and compliance with new Federal Final rule (encompassing Conflict Free Case Management, integrated Settings Rule, and person centeredness in services). Be sure to submit online public comment on waiver drafts, reminders will be sent from this newsletter.

Changes in the Affordable Care Collaborative in Colorado will affect our state- learn more at   https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/hcpf/accountable-care-collaborative-program-improvement-advisory-committee


As we close out this reflection, let's remember those receiving services who left this world in 2016. They left us too early, many died peacefully with good care, of natural causes. Sadly, some deaths could have been prevented if our reporting systems were functional. We must celebrate life, and work hard to move the system forward to treat our community with dignity, quality care with choice of all services.
Let's remember the Arvada host home fire victims on Robb Street:  Tanya Bell (adult client in host home, age 39), visiting granddaughter of provider Marielle Covington (age 5) and her mother Christina Covington (age 24). This tragic case in Jefferson county recently went to the Grand Jury. We pray for their families and friends, as well as all who have lost loved ones in the disability community. 

Let's make 2017 a year to work for justice, and make Colorado a place where people get what they need,  when and where they need it. 
Peace to you and yours,
Maureen Welch mpwelchco@gmail.com