April 6, 2016
Dear Ms. Frame,
There is a broad spectrum of need among people with developmental disabilities. Most live at home or with others in a house or apartment. A few, about 4%, require closer care in one of our RHCs; what you call “The Last of the Institutions.”
They are not as they often are portrayed. They are not fenced in, there are no large dormitories or big buildings to live in, and no one is isolated. There are doctors, nurses, therapists and caregivers on duty at all times. Best of all, it costs no more to provide campus based service than it does for community provided services. DSHS has agreed with this, where close care is needed. Even the United States Supreme Court agrees (Olmstead Decision, 1999)
Several years ago we replaced the so called institutions with community homes. You interviewed some of these residents, who are happy to be on their own. But for those with need of more intensive care, we built homes with individual bedrooms, kitchens and other amenities, much like a house on any American street. These amenities are difficult-if not impossible - to duplicate elsewhere.
Instead of degrading the RHCs we should be thankful that we have them. Not all states are so fortunate.
Paul Strand, President
Advocates for people with