When nearly 100 health care professionals, disability rights program advocates and experts gathered for The Special Hope Foundation’s Effective Healthcare for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
symposium, key questions emerged after the day’s introductory Keynote presentations that would influence the remainder of the day:
- How can we “tip over” the model of health care services so that we have a greater focus on earlier, more proactive and cost-effective interventions?
- How can we best leverage the fractured resources of the current system of care and what policy changes are needed to use existing resources more efficiently?
- What health care outcomes do we want to achieve and how can we ensure that it is these outcomes that we use to measure success, as opposed to the number of units provided?
A detailed summary of the day’s events were captured beautifully by the symposium’s moderator, strategic planner Kayce Garcia Rane. In the second of an ongoing series about last months Effective Healthcare for Adults with Developmental Disabilities Symposium (of which we are incredibly proud) we’ll focus on Public Education, Policy Making, and Advocacy Work, a key theme of the day:
Public Education, Policy Making, and Advocacy Work
A major component of education, policy and advocacy work is shifting public perceptions of individuals with disabilities. Symposium participants made a number of recommendations about changing the knowledge and understanding of all individuals, recognizing that we all have a responsibility of recognizing equity issues for individuals with disabilities and a voice (or at least a vote) in making social and policy improvements.
Address stigma and bias regarding the capacity of individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently. Create sample protocols, policies, or informational guides for both daily living and safety net providers on how to work with and interact with people with disabilities that provides supported assistance and dignity.
Consider public service announcements. Consider partnerships with health plans to discuss how we are changing the way we operate. Consider leveraging the “aging of baby boomers” as a model to spur thought and discussion; recognizing that more adults are entering their later years of life with physical limitations.
Create opportunities for shared learning amongst similar organizations who are working towards shared goals. Develop methods, such as articles, smaller collaborative meetings and e-mail blasts to disseminate what works and how to create culturally and accessibly welcoming spaces and services. Engage DSS or other frequently visited websites as a hub for information, targeting (1) adults with developmental and other disabilities; (2) family members and support allies; and (3) health care providers.
Advocate to key public institutions, health care plans, and providers for the inclusion of more adults with developmental disabilities on advisory boards and commissions. Review the history of the Disability Rights movement and the model of the Mental Health Services Act in placing consumers of public mental health services at the center of policy making for the State of California.
Provide public education and outreach on the statewide policy and advocacy agenda. Support distribution of legislative platform and hold forums to discuss implications of proposed policies. Specific policy recommendations that emerged from the day’s discussion included:
Addressing billing rate structure
There is a need for billing codes that allow for (1) extended discussion with individuals with verbal communication challenges (2) out-of-area transportation to and from health care services (including wait time during appointment(s).)
- Competency and transition policies.
- Create medical policies that create transition planning structures for youth and their families to transition to the adult health care system starting around age 14. We also need to create medical policies that shift primary mode of communication from individual only to individual with consented supporting decision- makers and establish protocols on how to adopt procedures.
- Define case coordination as a Medi-Cal and/or Medicare eligible activity. Create a reimbursement rate structure that compensates health care providers for the use of paraprofessionals in case coordination.See current efforts by DHCS to create a peer certification program, background research on mental health model.
Next: Healthcare Service Delivery System:Provider Training and Program Practices. What did participants of the symposium recommend?