Standing up for RHCs



Federation members back up Local 1326 member Julianne Moore Tuesday (Feb. 12) as Moore opposed removal of the statutory existence of the states residential habilitation centers caring for profoundly developmentally disabled citizens. Moore was testifying on SB 5371 before the Senate Health Care Committee.

Federation members back up Local 1326 member Julianne Moore Tuesday (Feb. 12) as Moore opposed removal of the statutory existence of the states residential habilitation centers caring for profoundly developmentally disabled citizens. Moore was testifying on SB 5371 before the Senate Health Care Committee.

The Federation on Tuesday (Feb. 12) opposed one part of larger legislation that would make it easier to close the state’s four remaining residential habilitation centers caring for some of this state’s most profoundly developmentally disabled citizens.

SB 5371 would implement some key recommendations of the Developmental Disabilities Service System Task Force, including a last-minute provision to remove the statutory authority for Rainier School, Lakeland Village, Yakima Valley School and Fircrest School.

Nuking the RHCs’ status in law is a recipe for disaster and the fear is it will grease the skids for the Legislature to close them, said Local 1326 member Julianne Moore, who works at Yakima Valley School in Selah.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore

She agreed with the concept of using RHCs more for respite care and other community support.

“And I wonder at the speed and the haste with which we are taking to remove this names (from statute) – whether that is in the best interests of people with developmental disabilities,” Moore told the Senate Health Care Committee as other RHC members in Federation Green “Safety Net” t-shirts looked on in the front row.

Removing RHCs from statute is the first step in removing a valuable resource to the community, she said.

Keeping their legal status “opens doors with the experts in the RHCs,” Moore said. “We have very little turnover, we are experts” with a good deal of accountability.

Keeping RHCs in statute is a guard to the often-shifting nature of DSHS oversight, she said.

“DSHS makes decisions based on dollars and we had seen many of the poor decisions they have made lead to litigation,” Moore said.

Also at the hearing:

• Moore and Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich registered support for the other task force bill, SB 5370, which would increase investigations and other oversight measures recommended by Disability Rights Washington for supported living programs. A supported living industry representative opposed the measure.

• And Moore testified in support of SB 5358 to improve services for people with developmental disabilities who receive no paid services from DSHS.

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