The Alliance for Cross-disability Empowerment (ACE) is a newly-formed disability Coalition in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
ACE believes in the concepts of independent living and self-advocacy in a cross-disability environment. In this spirit, the ACE mission is to bring about change by uniting people with disabilities, families of people with disabilities, and professionals who are committed to community-based services for people with disabilities.
The following organizations have signed on to ACE’s first initiative (“Home for Autism\DD”):
In Spring 2007, Virginia’s Behavioral Health Care Subcommittee of the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) created a work group to identify a primary agency for developing, coordinating and overseeing services for people with Autism. This turned into a broader initiative; more along the lines of finding a “Home for Developmental Disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Autism with Mental Retardation” initiative. The sub-committee proposed twelve (12) possible solutions to meet the directive, which were published at http://jchc.state.va.us/PDFFiles/Sept%2019%20Presentations/Autism%20Workgroup.pdf
ACE is concerned that amongst the proposed solutions are some that could have a very serious negative impact on people with Developmental Disabilities (DD), including people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Because none of the sub-committee’s suggested solutions fit ACE’s perspective perfectly, our position originally stated that “none of the options work”.
Over the past few days, ACE has consulted at length with the organizations that have signed on in support of this issue as well as with many national-level organizations that represent the disability community. ACE respects the process set forth by the JCHC, is grateful for the fact that Kim Snead, the JCHC Executive Director, has been committed to include all members of the disability community, and appreciates the effort put forth by the Home for Autism\DD workgroup. We recognize how important it is to keep the “Home for Autism\DD” issue moving ahead in a positive direction. Therefore, ACE supports Option #7, but with comments as follows:
“ACE supports a feasibility study to determine the State agency that should be responsible for serving individuals with autism spectrum disorders, including whether the agency should serve individuals with any or all developmental disabilities, with developmental disabilities defined as per the most recent version of the United States Developmental Disabilities Rights Act of 1975 (2000 re-authorization), and that reflects the five (5) points identified on the ACE position statement of October 10, 2007.”
For reference, “ACE’s 5 points” stated that ACE could only support proposals that reflected the following:
1. Inclusion of people with DD\ASD (and their families, as appropriate) as equal partners with other stakeholders in the planning, decisions-making, and policy\procedure-setting process. This should include active DD Waiver participants, individuals on the DD Waiver waiting list, people with DD\ASD who are not yet old enough to be eligible for the DD Waiver, and individuals with DD\ASD who do not meet the Level of Functioning eligibility requirements.
2. A Waiver service delivery model that prohibits DD Case Management organizations from providing DD Waiver services, except facilitation.
3. A Waiver service delivery model that ensures integrity of existing waiting lists is maintained and that continues to offer a first come, first serve wait list with emergency access slots.
4. A Waiver service delivery model that allows consumers (and\or consumer’s families when appropriate) to choose their own Case Management agency. Privately owned and non-profit agencies must be amongst the Case Management agency options.
5. A Waiver service delivery model that allows consumers (and\or consumer’s families when appropriate) to choose their own provider agency in all Waiver service categories. Privately-owned and non-profit agencies must be amongst the service provider options.
The Alliance for Cross-disability Empowerment appreciates the opportunity to participate in this effort. We look forward to working with the Joint Commission on Health Care, people with disabilities, families of people with disabilities, and professionals who are committed to community-based services for people with disabilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
For more information please contact Jill Jacobs
Executive Director & Chairman of the Board
Alliance for Cross-disability Empowerment (ACE)
Tel : 703-494-ACES
e-mail : ACE_Advocacy@comcast.net