Monday, March 09, 2009

DSS Buncombe Family Care Homes meeting: no privacy 4 clients w/ mental health concerns; no ability to see them in their homes;they must be in by 5 pm

(in response to lead attorney, John Rittelmeyer, Disability Rights, NC re: 3.9.09 2 -4 pm meeting at DSS Buncombe attended by: :

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD: clinical licensed psychologist, NC
e mail: cell: 404 964 5338

March 9, 2009

Thanks, Mr. Rittelmeyer:

I certainly can value you creating confidentiality w/ the resident who spoke to Anthony at your office last week re: WNC Homes.

No, I would not say that much of anything has been settled. I am forbidden from seeing my clients at their Family Care Home, WNC Homes, while the physician and his PA can see their patients there. DSS Haywood was not willing to take this up and indeed, that is a big topic that the likes of Disability Rights could tackle. As you probably know, the Family Home Law does not have much to say about the interface of residents with the outside world. I would hope that some entity like Disability Rights could tackle this, particularly in light of NC mental health reform.

The only success I had today, on behalf of disabled clients, was an agreement from WNC Homes that there would be posted on the wall, in plain view, information about visitation hours. Given that many of them take psychotropic medications, opiates, anxiolytics, and some have head injuries-----I assume that they need this in order to be able to remind themselves of what the rules are. Treated like children, they are supposed to be in the house by 5 pm.

Patient privacy was also a big agenda item for me. I do not know how a resident is supposed to maintain privacy particularly when I discovered today that my psychotic client's mail had been intercepted, opened, and reported by WNC Homes as something that they 'received----and indeed Mr. Clifton of WNC homes attempted to use this information against me until I gathered up my papers and walked around the block until the Western Highlands Network LME representative arrived, specifically Doug Owen. I will be filing yet another complaint on the violation of the resident's privacy re: his mail about which he informed me: "I still haven't gotten that letter." He finally got the letter as I made a copy of it and put it in his hand.

I also had questions after the meeting w/ DSS Buncombe re: no indication on the Personal Finances forms bought to the meeting by WNC Homes indicating that there was money, the PNA, Personal Needs Allowance, to the clients-----but there is no indication it was ever given to them and thus I continue to try and assist them----along w/ Community Support Services----in encouraging them to be more independent and skillful at managing their lives----when there is a dark hole of non-information causing me to be the constant interlocuter.

Additionally, I remain very disturbed by this fact: all clients----regardless of whether they receive SSI or SSDI----receive the same amount of money back---their PNA----minus their co-pays. This means that residents who receive SSDI, as they vested regarding working-----with their checks usually being around $890 checks/ month----receive the same PNA back as those who receive SSI checks, which are approximately $680.

I will be working with other mental health providers to find them Section 8 housing so that they have more disposable income. I believe this in keeping with the notions of NC Mental Health Reform.

I find the current law inadequate in assuring the civil rights of disabled clients who have mental health challenges. I trust that you will advise me if you are able to take up these issues which could benefit tens of thousands of citizens across NC.

I will continue to follow these matters up personally.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD

cc: NC NAMI; NC DHSR; madame defarge blogspot; mental health advocates


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