We have a surplus. When will we see change?

To the editor:  We have a Minnesota DFL Senate. We have a Minnesota DFL House. We have DFL Gov. Tim […]

To the editor: 

We have a Minnesota DFL Senate. We have a Minnesota DFL House. We have DFL Gov. Tim Walz. We have a surplus. If the disability services system is not fixed now, when will it be fixed? 

Minnesota is not following through on the Minnesota Olmstead Plan. Minnesota is not following through with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) integration mandate. Minnesota is totally out of compliance with the U.S. Department of Justice’s definition of segregated settings and what is provided to people with disabilities. We cannot pretend services are integrated and inclusive just because those words are in the services’ name. The language of inclusion is hijacked with NO OUTCOMES of inclusion.  

What will it take for the state of Minnesota to abide by the laws regarding their citizens with disabilities? 

There are no home care staff. There are no home care nurses for staff. The congregate care facilities that are forced placements are run exactly like large-scale institutions.  

We have solutions. When will somebody with power and control hear us? If you think it is bad now? Wait until Waiver Reimagine is pushed through.  

We know solutions. We have a surplus. Who has the fortitude and will to take ACTION? 

We need significant Increase to total self-directed budgets for people with severe to profound physical and/or cognitive disabilities to prevent their forced institutional placement into congregate care facilities. We need to decrease dependence on congregate care facilities. 

We need to force and mandate improvements to congregate care facilities with actual and real consequences to providers. A $200 fine for repeat offenses by a provider is an insult. We need to increase congregate care provider rates of pay and mandate that pay goes directly to wages and benefits of direct care staff.  

We need to pay providerd more and then hold provders accountable. We need to support the desire of staff to be successful, which high rates of pay. These are just a few things we can do. We have more to offer for solutions.  

The community support plan must have teeth and consequences so that providers actually read them. What good are ignored goals? Make them more than toothless paper tigers! 

Let me help. Let’s fix it together. Let’s fix it now.  

Kathy Ware 
South St. Paul 

Join Us! 2023 Virtual Legislative Forum: December 16th, 2022 - MN Council on Disability