Monday, August 31, 2009

Mr. Manners and five budget cutting taboos

The following is my first ever attempt to opine on good manners but, clearly, we need a new post up and this is what I got.

Brother Doug's Behavioral Tip for DDS:
When Regional Centers are wrong, be strong. In the past, Regional Centers have acted variously with regard to the need to cut costs. Some have been consultative and careful. Others have behaved as stupidly, precipitously and imperiously as a rabid whippet in a fox' den. On those occasions, DDS (as well as Disability Rights California) have been worse than useful so far as I can tell. I can only assume DDS allows regional centers their heads (wooden and otherwise) based on the idea that nobody comes willingly to cuts and other stakeholders will be fractious and unwilling in any case. I think this is a mistake.

When Westside Regional Center came out with their (dismal) expenditure plan years ago, many of the elements were clearly in violation of trailer bill language. Nonetheless, DDS was publicly supportive and despite that support, the community was fractious and rebellious and it took months for any POS behavior to change. As a counter-example, San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center got upstream of some cuts by making them collaboratively in a forward looking way. Of course there are some yet to make, but I would wager that by working with the community, some spending reductions are already realizing savings and have done so since May without much rebellion and, so far as I am aware, any needless loss of life and welfare (as I was sorry to witness when FDLRC made it's expenditure plan without resistance.) Any strength DDS shows in preventing regional centers from too much expedition is likely to be rewarded with client welfare and more savings.

Dom Douglas's Tips for Regional Centers: Get in the habit of respecting the rights of clients and what wisdom there is in vendors and family members. As above (and in the post below) the imperious, expeditious management style is likely to be expensive, inefficient and produce needlessly sorrowful outcomes. I know most if not all of you think that all clients and vendors do with cuts is complain and resist. As a vendor and a family member, I would that we're only bumptious when laws that don't exist are given as reasons for things we hope to avoid. Generally, the community understands why there are cuts but we want them implemented as thoughtfully as possible. Most regional centers have never tested experimentally what would happen if a collaborative, person-centered approach were taken. Most other stakeholders have an evidence basis to doubt that pushy regional centers will do much well or right. Now is a good time to learn collaboration together.

Cousin Doug's epistle to other regional center vendors: To the degree that Regional Centers will work with us, the clients will listen to us and the DDS will defend, act also in good faith. It is not our place to provoke clients and antagonize service coordinators who have reached a mutually successful agreement. Those clients who need our help defending needed supports continue to have the right to a fair hearing. We will make much better advocates for those clients that need defending if we don't try to create clients who want defending. It will be harder for our detractors to accuse us of refusing to give up units of service if we show discretion and good taste. This year will stink financially for direct care providers and their bosses more than anyone else in the system, but the system doesn't owe us a living, either.

Ole' Doug's advice to clients and their families: Understand that everyone supporting you is under stress. This doesn't require apology, gratitude or certainly not the stifling of grievances (we need grievances expressed now more than ever.) But remember that however foolish, selfish, useless, youthful, greedy, controlling or impenetrable the professionals around you might be by nature, there are forces pressing us to be worse. If our behavior were personal, it would be much better.

To my friends in the chamber of commerce: Ironically, the most expensive ways we do things tend to be the least integrative of people into the community. The best ways we can implement our budget cuts for fiscal purposes and/or to preserve the value of the system will be for you all to see more of us. Take this opportunity to make new friends, employees and customers.

6 comments:

paul said...

Ole' “to cute by half” advice to consumers and their families

The reactions of consumers and families determine tomorrow’s culture. Focused accountability will create more accountability were it is focused. Focused Demands for action begets more action where the demand is focused

It is the job of DDS to ensure that Regional Centers comply with the law, and often they are not “strong” in this regard. But – DDS responsibilities are not exclusive in this regard. Lanterman was desired to empower Consumers and Family to have an impact on a local level.

We should expect and demand that DDS perform its function adequately. However, if this demand becomes our sole remedy to locally perpetrated ills then this remedy will become our only available remedy to tomorrow’s perpetrations.

Sacramento is a far away esoteric basket. We should not place all our eggs there.

The board of managers of our local providers and regional centers are much closer at hand.

Doug said...

I actually agree, Paul. The question is how scary the community needs to be before regional centers and vendors are more fearful of it than of DDS.

paul said...

“how scary the community needs to be”

I think that the answer to this question is complex because we do not have a community but communities.

The amount of influence varies amongst our communities and each community possesses a varying amount of high-ground that was likely carved from the ground of the other communities.

A dysfunctional system cannot, will not, continue unless the controlling community, the community with the power to perpetuate the dysfunctional system profits from the dysfunctional system.

Id est - There is benefit to some in keeping the bright light shining towards Sacramento.

So I think that the initial question is:

How scary does a community, or collection of communities, need to be to trump the Bath party

Doug,

Where you around when protection and advocacy was an internal function of the Regional Centers. If you didn’t like what your RC was doing you had to go to an RC “employee” to file a complaint against the RC. It took an act of Sacramento to change this relationship.

Can an advocacy organization funded by Regional Centers, providers, or DDS form a more objective and egalitarian community?

Doug said...

Paul, I wasn't around when the client's rights advocates were within regional centers. I'm not sure that's as absurd as it sounds, a lot of organizations have internals omsbudsmen but, obviously, it's better for a state program to have an independent agent riding herd. Of course, they don't do much of that these days, either.

Your point about communities seems fair, although it isn't always a zero sum game. A particular interest group needn't attack another. Which makes it all the more discouraging when they do anyway.

stanley said...

Re Praise Where It's Due

Didn’t see a comments section under this topic so posted here.

[doug say] So I have to give credit to Assemblymember Hector Delatorre of Southgate. The commentary below and decision to audit the system represent a surprisingly thoughtful first step on a long road toward capable legislative oversight of DDS.

Hallelujah...

[doug say] But I have to say, I was impressed by Delatorre's grasp of the subtler point that regional centers function as much as government agencies as they do as non-profit public benefit organizations. That isn't as obvious as it is true...

RCs are a government agency...non-profit in Lanterman definition only...one problem with Lanterman...RC centers have used this to confuse and prevent financial transparency...

stanley seigler

stanley said...

The following is an exchange on Autismca@yahoo groups.com...it began with facetious comment re families an intergal part of DDS/RC program planning...

hope not to confusing as to who say what

stanley post to autismca
Re: [noria say] Modern vocabulary: "Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his/her occupation" (1949):From :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-collar_crime " [Nora say]

[stanley say] Your parallel right on...you may want to see other medieval vocabulary on dougs blog...as may others.

Also might add your modern vocabulary parallels to that on medieval vocabulary...if interested goto: http://arribails.blogspot.com/

OK to forward your comments? [it was]

ref xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
In AutismCA@yahoogroups.com, Noria Zasslow wrote:

[issjr] COMMENT
The following are thoughts on DDS/RCs partnering from dougs blog...for rest of story goto blog.

the principality of DDS is invoked by the baronies of the regional centers to direct the viscounts and baronets of the various vendored agencies. This is the least efficient, most morally suspicious method of standardizing services, particularly when the message seems to be "Here is how to provide person-centered services."

[noria say]
Interesting medieval vocabulary.

Modern vocabulary: "Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his/her occupation" (1949) :From :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-collar_crime "
Noria.

stanley original email to autismca:

The Department of Developmental Services and the 21 regional centers will partner with parents and families to ensure parents remain an integral part of the new Prevention Program planning process for each child. [ref say]

COMMENT
The following are thoughts on DDS/RCs partnering from dougs blog...for rest of story goto blog.

http://arribails.blogspot.com/
I [doug] have written before here how frustrating it can be the degree to which advice, technical assistance, rule-making and program formation follow a feudal system in which the principality of DDS is invoked by the baronies of the regional centers to direct the viscounts and baronets of the various vendored agencies. This is the least efficient, most morally suspicious method of standardizing services, particularly when the message seems to be "Here is how to provide person-centered services."

Tips for Regional Centers: Get in the habit of respecting the rights of clients and what wisdom there is in vendors and family members. As above (and in the post below) the imperious, expeditious management style is likely to be expensive, inefficient and produce needlessly sorrowful outcomes. I know most if not all of you think that all clients and vendors do with cuts is complain and resist. As a vendor and a family member, I would that we're only bumptious when laws that don't exist are given as reasons for things we hope to avoid. Generally, the community understands why there are cuts but we want them implemented as thoughtfully as possible. Most regional centers have never tested experimentally what would happen if a collaborative, person-centered approach were taken. Most other stakeholders have an evidence basis to doubt that pushy regional centers will do much well or right. Now is a good time to learn collaboration together.

stanley seigler

Ref xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
MartyO #250-2009: New "Prevention Program" for At-Risk Babies...
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DDRIGHTS/message/5230

CLIP
The Department of Developmental Services and the 21 regional centers will partner with parents and families to ensure parents remain an integral part of the new Prevention Program planning process for each child.

[goto ref for context...a facetious comment re integral part]