May 18, 2005
My professional angst regarding the development caught a second wind. I always do share my winds, so here’s the breeze: What if SDSP passes, is implemented and still doesn’t happen. The way this could be so? If the protection features built in create an environment in which the control that clients have over their services actually declined.
Here’s the new data: Regional Center (RC) Service Coordinators (SCs) are intended to review monthly whether potentially very broad language from the clients Individual Program Plan (IPP- I know, I know) to decide whether it was being implemented appropriately. Under the current program, SCs have more frequent interaction, more discretion to intervene and more ways that they are accountable for outcomes. A rational SC who sees SDS as values-neutral would take more control of client services under the new proposal than the current system.
The essential point is that Self-determination will not achieve it’s stated goals unless it transfers authority to clients which simply won’t happen unless responsibility transfers as well. The best and worst professionals in the system regularly circumvent controlling regulations and can be expected to do so in opposition to the purpose of SDS as long as they remain responsible for all the client outcomes. It has to be in everyone’s interest that the client controls services or else we’ll have fake self-determination to go with fake entitlement.
I know this looks ugly in print, but ideally under SDS, the client with their FMS and Service Broker have to have sole responsibility for things that Regional Centers are now accountable for. Examples might include the following:
ÿ Preventing morbidity and mortality,
ÿ Decisions to work or not work and how and where,
ÿ Progress that is or is not made (clients must be allowed a learning curve,) and
ÿ The extent to which the individual participates in the broader community.
This doesn’t mean that clients in SDS should not be counted toward all policy goals, just that RCs shouldn’t get credit or blame for the outcome.
What makes SDS bold, is the trust it places in people with disabilities to serve their own best interests. What makes so many current programs so sucky is the failure to trust the client. Here are a coupl
1. SDS participants should count against a separate performance contract for their Regional Centers. The new draft of the proposal, makes a good start on developing a new one, but doesn’t yet separate from the old one Taken a step further, vis-à-vis an SDS client, RCs should be more responsible for providing control to SDS clients and less responsible for traditional policy outcomes. Appropriate language might state that all the metrics now used for RCs will be reported to and recorded by the Department, but not apply to the RCs performance contact. The SDS outcomes can be used against those from the performance contracts to measure the success of both programs as compared to one another and provide policy guidance into the future.
2. Clarify new roles. Limit what SCs may do to a very simple role that only makes sense if we are empowering clients. Limit service providers’ responsibility for documentation, to clarify that services delivered under SDS are accountable to the client alone (and through the client to the RC for purposes of documentation. Everyone affiliated with an agency remains a mandatory reporter, and obviously, the documentation left must allow for reasonable assurance that services are being rendered. Paperwork requirements that document anything other than services actually rendered should be discontinued where service providers are concerned.