My new friend, PARCA writes a blog advocating Regional Center Reform. He and I agree on a lot, and I was reading his site today, where he reminded me that I haven't ground my accountability axe recently. Shame on me.
Accountability is a massive deficit in this system. How much money is spent on needlessly restricting clients, providing useless services through feckless providers, choosing costlier options to superior ones, adding layers of bureaucratic duty or regulation unaccompanied by better outcomes? I don't know and neither does anyone else. So a lot, no doubt. Lest someone accuse me of regional-center bashing, I do hereby confess the lack of accountability is systemwide and applies to vendors, regional centers, pretty much anyone taking a penny under the DDS line item. My own belief is that the lack of accountability probably does more harm than the lack of funding to consumers.
The big picture need for accountability requires a systemic, thoughtful approach and drastic reform. But here's something we can do today:
A low-cost, drip-dry way to improve the oversight in our system would be to improve transparency. This can be accomplished with a little care for confidentiality by the magic of carbon-copying. As a matter of policy, any communication sent to a provider agency can be cc-ed to their vendoring regional center. Any communication sent to a regional center, if clients' names are redacted, can be cc-ed to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS.) Any communication sent to the department can be sent to CMS as well.
It's a poor substitute for a system of outcome measurements that defers to choice, but I'll wager it would help in the interim.
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." -Phillipians 4:6 (KJV)