Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Where's the Follow-up?

I write you a bit frustrated today on several fronts, and although it doesn’t add up to a single substantive theme, I’ve decided it all fits into one irritant:  lack of follow-up.  And that is, actually, a theme in itself.  So let me launch:
The new DDS deputy director for the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) is named Holly Morrison, a former executive with Mosaic ( Welcome aboard, Ms. Morrison, although I wish it were DDS and not me announcing your arrival.  Three weeks ago I was actually promised a press release when the new deputy came on board, but – no follow-up.  Still I managed to find out about her appointment, even though I can't readily find it on the DDS website either.
After my blog post on May 20 (“Setting the Record Straight”), I did, in fairness, get some immediate updated information on the estimated headcount for DC citizens with developmental disabilities, but I was promised information on the other issues I raised and received no follow-up.
I’ve spoken favorably in the past about initiatives being taken in the Supporting Families Community of Practice, and based on the planning meeting, I announced in my blog on April 3 that the next CoP meeting would take place in June, with a focus on community supports and an exciting keynote speaker from the Bowser administration.  I missed the June 3 planning call, but when I found out what had happened on the call, I learned there was no June meeting planned and no clear plan for follow-up.
On January 5 (“DDS New Year’s Resolutions”) I noted the need to “facilitate payments to DDA by individuals’ designated representatives.”  Representative payees trying to do the right thing by sending monthly payments to DDS have to write physical checks which must be transferred among offices and which get lost about a quarter of the time.  If these checks aren’t cashed by the end of the month the individual’s asset limit for Social Security can be in jeopardy.  This is a disincentive to Supported Decision Making since it can make folks give up and transfer representative payee status to DDS.  I’ve been pushing for nearly a year to get DDS to establish a system for electronic transfer of these payments but…no follow-up.
I wish I couldn’t go on with other examples.  I could, but I’ll stop here.  Yes, OK, DDS has a lot on its plate.  Yes, OK, a lot has been accomplished.  Yes, OK, unforeseeable things do come up.  I’ve worked in a government agency, and I know. But then don’t overpromise.  But then don’t require requests to go to the top of the organization for remediation or response.  But then set priorities, focus on them, and really follow up.  The problem is chronic, and needs attention. 

Ms. Morrison - can you help?

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