Some of our legislators, hand-in-hand with DSHS, plan to shut down - one by one - all of Washington's safe homes for the developmentally disabled.
They say it will save the state money.
In a recent column, Diane Sosne, president of a union that represents 22,000 Washington health care workers, cited the case of a mentally disabled man whose meager Disability Lifeline payments were cut, forcing him to become homeless and admitted for inpatient treatment.
Meanwhile, Sosne stated, special tax breaks are provided for chicken farms ensuring they will have comfortable bedding and natural gas to heat their barns.
The patient’s housing and treatment will now cost taxpayers $800 per day, as opposed to the $339 per month for his rent through Disability Lifeline.
Similar to the above case, closing these RHCs that treat severe autism will not save taxpayer money. Providing anew the services already supplied, will cost the state more.
When the Fircrest RHC was downsized in 2003-2005, it cost the state $10 million to relocate 61 of its residents. But there is a second aspect to DSHS’s agenda. They are portraying the RHCs as snake pits from which residents must be set free to live in community placements.
How quickly forgotten is the extreme trauma and six deaths that occurred when residents of the Fircrest RHC were involuntarily removed from their safe and familiar environment.
If these excellent RHCs are closed, I shudder to think of what the horizon holds for their residents, and their parents or guardians.