Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Inclined to agree

When meeting the obligations of the community-based system is projected to cost more than the budget allocated, the Department of Developmental Service (DDS) is required to file a "deficiency request" with the legislature to request an appropriate additional amount. In January, DDS submitted such a request for the current year.

Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, a member of the Senate subcommittee to which DDS' request was presented sent a letter to the rest of the subcommittee stating his opposition to roughly two thirds of the request because it was not accompanied by any attempt at reform.

I don't know if Senator Hollingsworth and I would agree on what reform means, but I agree with him that this system has proven we will not spend our way to excellence. That war is lost whether we continue to have battles or not. If the community won't fight for reform with the same vigor that we've fought for money, the "reform" will be a familiar, unconstructive, unproductive, inefficient, damaging, depressing and/or diabolical one like the Purchase of Service Sandards of the past which will damage the lives of indivuals without saving money. Better to ask for a leaner, more person-centered support system focused on adding value to the lives of people with disabilities with less regard for the institutions involved.

We can win that war, if we'll fight it, because excellence, unlike the current system, is sustainable.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess I read the letter differently. I read the part that said spending growth for this program is not sustainable and reigning in the costs is critical to solving californias structural defecit. Do you agree that there is to much growth in spending? and that it needs to be reigned in?

Doug said...

Yes, I do, actually. But I think I'd disagree about how to go about it. I think a better system for the people we serve would be cheaper than the one we have now.

More than that, though, I think the structural deficit is realler than anyone's admitting and the surprises for the next couple years are apt to be on the bad side. If we can't find a way to improve the efficiency of the system we can look forward to more slow bleeding. I don't plan on helping to make that future real.

Anonymous said...

do you know what the budgett growth is due to? Our rates have been frozen for years, even before they were frozen we didn't get increases, so i dont think it is rates. It seems your accepting his premise, that spending is out of control, and i haven't seen anything that prooves that.

compared to other states california spends less for just about every service. the structural deficit is pretty equal to the vehicel license fee that was removed. if that was in place we wouldn't have a deficit.

a better system and a efficient system and a adequatly funded system may call for opposing solutions.

Doug said...

Anonymous, I accept the premise that the decisions on allocating funds aren't transparent, that the results aren't accountable and that no useful attempt to insure that people are served well have been made. Give an economist that information and he or she will assume you're describing a wasteful, inefficient system.

I think the system is being squeezed and will be squeezed further without being made leaner. A healthy system is always efficient. A person-centered system can and should be efficient. Our system is neither efficient nor person-centered and that's what I'd like to see change.

I think rates are generally to low for what we want to do and too high for what we can demonstrate we do. The State's been far more generous than I'd have been given the lack of measurable results.

I don't bring all this up to be mean, mostly, but forgetting the Senator a moment, here is what I do believe about our system: Innovation fails regularly, passive resistance to change almost always succeeds, the majority of people I meet who are end users are dissatisfied and most professionals are hectored. And yet when we go to Sacramento, job one is always protecting what we have.

I think if in 2 or 5 years, the system is in tatters and people are getting hurt everywhere, I will be blame us for letting our fear rule our creativity more than Republican senators for asking questions we all should.