McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

October 17, 2013

In need of options: Guardians of NORCE clients meet legislators

OKLAHOMA CITY — Parents and guardians of the developmentally disabled continued to bang the drum Thursday before legislators and key agency personnel.

Led by the man who called the hearing, state Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, they argued there should be more than one option for clients being forced to move out of the state’s two large residential facilities.

Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid is scheduled to close in 2015, while Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley is to close next year.

NORCE clients, many of whom are there because of profound mental or physical impairments, already are moving into community-based care.

Rather than live at the NORCE campus, they typically live in a private home. Sometimes a group of three will band together to rent or buy a home and share caretakers, said JoAnne Goin, the state agency chief who oversees developmental disability services.

Dr. Michael Peck, an Enid resident who served on the commission overseeing DHS before it was disbanded by a vote of the people, said the state should let SORC close, and keep NORCE open for whoever needs it. The plan wouldn’t require additional funding, and NORCE could start generating revenue by providing fee-for-service options for those living in the community and rural areas, he said.

“There are less than 200 of these people who desperately need the safety net option of a residential and institutional setting,” Peck said.

None of those who were invited to speak to House Human Services Committee completely opposes moving their loved ones into a community setting. Instead, like Jackson, they ask the state maintain some kind of facility.

“What I was trying to prove is there’s a need for a residential-type of facility. Maybe either privatized or state-run. But it has to be a state bed,” Jackson said.

He said if the state moves all of its residents into private care by 2015 as expected, the first thing those private providers will do is ask for more money.

“And we’ll have no alternative to that,” he said.

Developmental Disability Services Deputy Director Marie Moore said it costs the state $330 a day for each community-based client and about $440 a day per client living in a state-run facility.

Jackson is considering his options for the legislative session, which begins in February. SORC is expected to close in April.

Ideally, Jackson said, DHS will walk back its decision to close the facilities and consider an alternative plan.

The committee was told that some residents will thrive more in a state-run bed. Enid resident Marcellus Bell, the brother of someone who recently moved out of NORCE and into a private home, said he’s met some clients who wouldn’t make the transition very well.

“I think Mr. Bell’s point that at the very least we should have a center open to see if the transition works, is a critical one,” Jackson said. “It is a point that goes to the very heart of the matter. Why are we rushing this process, and why are viable alternative plans being ignored by DHS?”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State House
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.