I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
Here is my testimony from the DHS Town Hall Meeting on Thursday
My name is Kevin Fech. Most importantly, I am the father of a 13 year old son with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism. I am on the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) and I am an IRIS Consultant.
As a father, I want to ensure that my son has every opportunity to succeed and to live life as he sees fit, not as how others view what is best for him.
As a member of BPDD, I have learned more about self direction and self determination from consumers than I would have ever imagined.
As you are aware, the BPDD has been in contact with DHS in an effort to collaborate and share resources so Wisconsin can be a part of the National Core Indicators (NCI). Wisconsin does not currently have a good baseline on what is happening to participants in its waiver programs, and NCI would be an excellent tool to measure baseline, monitor progress, and compare ourselves with other states. As a Board member, I would be willing to work with DHS in obtaining this important data.
I am sure you are aware of a recent report on self directed services was released by the National Core Indicators (http://www2.hsri.org/docs/Data%20Brief%20--%20self%20direction%20--%20%20Issue%201--%20April%204%202011.pdf).
Highlights of this report:
There is a clear trend in the data suggesting that individuals who use a self-directed supports option receive preventive health care procedures at somewhat lower rates than people who do not self-direct.
Persons who use the self-directed supports option were more likely to choose or have input into choosing where they live (52% vs. 43%), who they live with (53% vs. 40%), their home staff (70% vs. 64%), and their job or day activity (71% vs. 61%).
Those using self-directed supports options were considerably more likely to be receiving benefits at their job (47% vs. 27%).
Hourly wage in the community job was higher ($7.89 for those self-directing vs. $6.18 for those who were not), as were the rates of earning at or above minimum wage (63% of people self-directing vs. 42% of people not self-directing).
As an IRIS consultant, I am seeing first hand how participants of the program are achieving their outcomes through self direction. Not only are participants keeping within their allocations, but in most cases they are getting better value for their dollar by self directing services.
By self directing, the participants are hiring supports that have a vested interest in seeing the participant achieve their goals and meet their outcomes. These supports are going over and above what some agencies may provide in the way of services. These self directed supports are also providing many more hours of unpaid supports over the course of the plan.