A budget amendment supported by OCSEA and passed by the General Assembly this spring required that the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities create a report detailing the moves of individuals from Youngstown and Montgomery Developmental Centers to community placements. DODD has said it will close the two centers by June 30, 2017.
In fact, the report, just released, shows that most individuals have chosen not to move to community settings at all, also known as waiver homes. Most families and guardians have chosen to move to other private congregate facilities or developmental centers.
In fact, six individuals have moved back to a non-closing DC due to a placement failure in a community setting. That’s nearly 25 percent of individuals who chose a community setting. Only 27 individuals of the 89 who have left YDC and MDC have sought waiver housing.
The announced closures of YDC and MDC were supposed to “integrate” individuals into smaller-bed, home-like community settings, also known as waiver homes. Instead, the report shows the opposite has occurred: most individuals and families have chosen congregate settings for their loved ones, including DCs, that provide a higher level of care.
“This is a story, not about integration, but about privatization,” said Jeanna Campolo, OCSEA Assembly President for the agency. “This is nothing more than closing state-operated facilities and moving those individuals to similar facilities in the private sector where the pay is worse and the staff turnover is high. Nothing more,” she said.
Most families and guardians who live in the DCs today know that small-bed, community placement is not appropriate for the level of needs of their severely disabled family member.
Disturbingly, according to the report, 27 of the 89 who have moved from YDC and MDC suffered incidents such as an unanticipated hospitalization or nursing home stay, arrest or detainment by law enforcement, or bodily harm.
For the most, DODD tried to white wash the report, and gave information not requested by the state legislature, such as satisfaction survey results from APSI guardians and parents after placement in a non-DC. The agency also tried to justify 10 deaths that have occurred since the announcement.
Ten individuals have died since the announced closures of YDC and MDC, five who had moved out and five in the remaining two DCs. DODD justified the deaths by indicating that the same number who died in transition, died at the remaining DCs. But those families who went through the Applecreek and Springview DC closures ten years ago know that both individuals who move and those that remain at the closing DCs are at risk of early death after a closure is announced.
“Clearly the department does not want to own up to the fact that this is not a successful transition to community placements,” said Monty Blanton, OCSEA lead staff representative for that agency. “While we agree that the numbers in terms of deaths and incidents might be similar to other closures, we don’t agree that those are at acceptable levels,” he said.