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The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is looking at the Health and Human Services agencies in Texas. In their report for the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), the Commission made several recommendations that have the potential to have implications in the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). The full report can be found here: https://www.sunset.texas.gov/public/uploads/files/reports/DADS%20Commission%20Decisions_0.pdf .

One of their recommendations deals with the state supported living centers (SSLCs). With this blog I’ll discuss the background in the report, the committee’s recommendation, and its final decision and the politics associated with that.

Background:
According to the report, the SSLCs consume about 10% of DADS’ budget, account for 80% of its workforce, yet serve less than 1% of its clients. The operation of the SSLCs requires almost 14,000 employees, almost $563 million dollars, and this serves about 3650 individuals. The report notes several things:
• Texas, by operating 13 SSLCs, is out of step with the rest of the country. In 2011, Ohio and New York were both operating 10 institutions, this represented 36% and 43% of the institutions they had operated in 1960. Texas on the other hand is still operating 87% of the institutions it had in 1960.
• Texas, rather than incentivizing the shifting of resources and individuals to community settings, is incentivizing the closing of community settings.
• As of April 2014, the SSLCs were in compliance with 18-40% of the Department of Justice settlement requirements. Recall that in 2009, the DOJ entered into a settlement agreement with the State of Texas over abuse, neglect, and deaths in the SSLCs (see that agreement here: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/documents/TexasStateSchools_settle_06-26-09.pdf ).
• The number of confirmed abuse, neglect, and exploitation allegations at the SSLCs is equal to approximately 15% of the population of the SSLCs, this compares to 6-10% in group homes.
• As has been mentioned by others (see the Legislative Budget Board report here: http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Policy_Report/Transform%20State%20Residential%20Services%20for%20Persons%20with%20Intellectual%20and%20Developmental%20Disabilities.) the cost to operate the SSLCs is unsustainable. This is due to a combination of aging infrastructure, costs of compliance with the DOJ agreement, and injuries to employees (i.e. workers compensation claims).
• The average monthly cost to support a resident of the SSLC is almost three times the cost in a residential community home.

Recommendations:
The report makes the following recommendations:
1. Close the Austin SSLC by August 31, 2017. The rationale is that this is the worst of the SSLCs in terms of abuse/neglect, employee injuries, difficulty meeting DOJ settlement, etc.
2. Establish the SSLC closure commission to determine an additional five centers to close.
3. Require those closures by August 31, 2022.
4. Direct DADS to improve the quality of life for residents in the remaining seven SSLCs.

Final Decisions:
1. Close the Austin SSLC: 105 people testified to close, 190 testified to keep open including Representative Myra Crownover, Represntative Lois Kolhorst, and Senator Robert Nichols.
2. Closure commission: 105 people testified for, 266 against including the above named legislators and Representative Susan King
3. Close five SSLCs: same results as in recommendation 2 above

As a result of the above, the committee’s decisions are:
1. Close the Austin SSLC, all proceeds go to services for people with IDD
2. Establish a SSLC restructuring commission to make recommendations to the Legislature by December 1, 2016
3. Require DADS to close any SSLCs recommended by restructuring commission by 2025
4. DADS must submit a plan to improve the quality of care in all SSLCs by December 2014

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2 Comments

    • njaloway@mac.com
    • Posted September 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm
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    • Reply

    Thanks for the summary. A helpful and easy to read explanation to share with other local Arc Board members.

  1. And so in the meantime what happens to the thousands that have no services…this is insane. What about their civil rights to choose where they live with services..we have all the students coming out of our high schools that have no plans to live in an SLC…in fact many of them are already going to part of their school programs at the day programs run by companies that provide day programs to those who are out of high school ..they are providing their summer programs for the school districts… So in other words if your family and you as a person with special needs have no services until 10 yrs from now…this needs to go to the Supreme court …big time.


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  1. […] my last post (https://jcissik.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/texas-state-supported-living-centers-mixed-signals/ ), I wrote about the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission’s recommendations for the Department of […]

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