Letter to Denver City and County regarding Mill Levy and RMHS

 

Dear Denver CIty Council Members:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. High turnover and resignations are occurring at RMHS. 

Thanks for considering all this input.

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

Graciously, 

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