There has been a lot of talk about the developmental disability system and OPWDD in the news in New York recently.  In particular, this past weekend there were significant articles in the New York Times and the Poughkeepsie Journal.

This is how a memo from NYSACRA described it:

This past week, the developmental disabilities sector has received attention in the press; the most serious article related to abuse in the state-operated system appeared on the front cover of yesterday’s  New York Times. OPWDD Acting Commissioner Courtney Burke has reached out to all stakeholders, including NYSACRA, and will host a timely phone meeting this afternoon. We believe the press coverage will have certain ramifications for the system and as such, NYSACRA is crafting a response that we will share with the Cuomo Administration and the NYSACRA membership.  Likewise, please be assured we will update you with information pertaining to OPWDD’s & Executive Branch response(s) as well as joint association initiatives. If you have any comments please provide them to Ann Hardiman at annh@nysacra.org or at the NYSACRA office 518-449-7551.

To view the NY Times article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13homes.html?hp

To view the Poughkeepsie Journal article related to a court ruling on the review of Wassaic residents’ records, go to:  http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20110310/NEWS01/103100339/Court–Let-advocates-see-records-of-residents-at-Wassaic-psych-center

To view this weekend’s editorial in the Poughkeepsie Journal on the same subject, go to:  http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201103110600/OPINION01/103110326

There are obviously a lot of systemic issues and concerns that need to be addressed, but my belief is that the agencies in New York who are using Therap are the ones who are embracing transparency and accountability.  What better way to ensure that a who circle of support is involved in an individual’s life that by giving instant access to documentation to folks like family members.  Combine this with the fact that there is no question of who wrote what when and whether or not it was changed (and if it was, who made what changes).  Of course none of this replaces having good staff, involved family and friends, and a good systems, but by choosing to use Therap, providers are making a real statement to their staff, the people they support, and other stakeholders that they believe in accountability and transparacy.

:: Justin ::