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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Myths and Facts About the RHC's (Like Fircrest)

Fircrest School is an "RHC" (Residential Habitation Center), which are mandated by the State of WA to provide services to the most vulnerable populations of our communities. 
Fircrest Cottage and State Health Lab behind

These people are the most medically fragile, vulnerable and most profoundly retarded citizens who cannot live independently and need care from places like Fircrest that are "Centers of Excellence". 
Now some of these residents are under the age of 21 and have been students in the local School Districts, such as Shoreline. 

Recently, Superintendent Sue Walker decided to testify before a State Senate Committee saying that 
Fircrest "is bad for children and bad for our community(ies). " 

Saskia Davis is the sister of a longtime resident of Fircrest. Here is her opinion on what is important, and what is Myth or Truth about RHC's. 
Saskia Davis

RHCs are both needed and cost effective for tax-payers. The policy-driven decline of population in them has caused their per-capita costs to be artificially high. By increasing admission & allowing permanent status for those who qualify, the state would be saving money while providing kind, expert & individualized care to people with intensive special needs: physical, medical, behavioral, cognitive & mental.

Opposition to RHCs is largely based on myths, some of which were true a long time ago & some which never were true:

MYTH #1: Forced institutionalization:
TRUTH: Many years ago, institutions were the only venues available when people with dd could no longer be cared for in their families of origin homes. Many who could learn to live in the general community felt trapped in RHCs.
Now the situation is quite the opposite: There are a variety of private and state-run options & the ADA requires true choice between RHCs & general-community venues.

MYTH #2: People with dd are imprisoned in RHCs & abuse goes on behind closed doors.
TRUTH: Many years ago, institutional oversight was poor, but now, and for many years, RHC oversight has been strict, whereas general-community venue oversight is less so.
In general, due to audits according to stringent standards, tied to Federal funding, RHCs are considered the safest option.

MYTH #3: RHC closures will result in more money for people living in the general community who are wait-listed.
TRUTH: RHC economy-of-scale saves the State money that could be applied to the needs of wait-listed people. Similar services will cost more, not less for this population if they are spread throughout the general community. Oregon parents complain that except for former residents of Fairview (State institution for people with DD, now closed) there are hardly any state supported services available for people with dd. In other words, the closure of the facility did not effect the goal of making funds available for such general community services.

More thanks,

1 comment:

  1. I have a family member (under 18) hat resides at Fircrest RHC. It has been the best thing for all involved. The child has made much progress and is calmer and happier in his new environment and his family is very involved but now can have the opportunity to sleep at nights(literally) and heal after many years of stressful, continous care. People need to know that RHC's like Fircrest are facilities that offer superior care to those that are the most needy in our communities. Don't they deserve the best life possible? And if this is the level of care they require thank God Fircrest exists!!