Tribpedia: Aging And Disability Services

Tribpedia

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services administers long-term care and services for people who have cognitive and physical disabilities. The agency licenses and regulates providers of these services, and runs the state's guardianship program. It also oversees the state's 13 supported living centers - institutions for people with profound disabilities that have come under fire by the ...

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Lawmakers Consider Closing Institutions for Disabled

Disabled residents shred paper at the Mexia State Supported Living Center.
Disabled residents shred paper at the Mexia State Supported Living Center.

Lawmakers considered a proposal to shutter six of Texas’ 13 state-supported living centers over two days of public hearings, renewing a long-simmering debate over the future of the state’s institutions for the disabled. The Sunset Advisory Commission staff recommended shutting one center right away, followed by five more over several years.

Forensic chemist Rusty White completes a workout during a cross-training class at the DPS office in Austin on May 14, 2014.
Forensic chemist Rusty White completes a workout during a cross-training class at the DPS office in Austin on May 14, 2014.

Law Helps State Workers Find Time for Fitness

Since the passage of a 2007 law allowing state employees a 30-minute exercise break three times per week, several state agencies have begun offering popular lunchtime workout programs, like weight training and Zumba.

People with disabilities rally at Texas Capitol opposing budget cuts to home and community-based services. March 1st, 2011
People with disabilities rally at Texas Capitol opposing budget cuts to home and community-based services. March 1st, 2011

Disability Rights Groups Call for More Community Care

Disability rights advocates encouraged state legislators to expand community-based care and in-home nursing at a Tuesday Senate hearing. They also raised questions about a new computer-based program to track care services.

More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.
More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.

Elderly, Disabled Fight Pay Cut to Service Providers

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Advocates for the elderly and disabled are fighting a proposal in the Legislature that they say would reduce the wages of the personal care attendants who provide services through the Medicaid Community-Based Alternatives waiver program.

Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays with resident Rebecca Hadnot.
Austin State-Supported Living Center employee Tamika Mays with resident Rebecca Hadnot.

LBB to State: Improve Disability Care, Close 1 Facility

The way Texas is currently providing care for people with disabilities — keeping all its state institutions in operation, despite increasing demand for community-based care — is not cost effective, and should be changed, according to an analysis released by the Legislative Budget Board on Wednesday. 

Health care assistant Crystal Kreig plays a card game with Steve Parker (center) and Eulalio Alvarada (right) at a group home operated by D&S Residential, Inc. Companies like D&S used to handle case management for their clients, but a budget change sent that responsibility to local Mental Retardation Authorities.
Health care assistant Crystal Kreig plays a card game with Steve Parker (center) and Eulalio Alvarada (right) at a group home operated by D&S Residential, Inc. Companies like D&S used to handle case management for their clients, but a budget change sent that responsibility to local Mental Retardation Authorities.

Private Providers Fight Back Over Service Change

For years, the state paid private providers who care for people with disabilities to handle their clients’ case management. But an 11th-hour change inserted into the budget last session stripped them of that responsibility, giving it instead to quasi-governmental Mental Retardation Authorities — and potentially creating a conflict of interest.

After Monitor Departs, A Teenager Is Killed

The same Houston-area residential treatment center where staffers forced disabled girls to fight each other — prompting child welfare officials to halt admissions and hire a safety monitor — is now under fire for the asphyxiation of a 16-year-old boy who died Friday after a restraint was applied by a staffer in a closet.

State Schools for the Disabled Could Face Budget Ax

A barrage of abuse scandals, a federal investigation and the shrinking state budget could be just what disability advocates need to achieve a longtime goal: fewer state institutions and more community-based living services for developmentally disabled Texans who can’t care for themselves.

Barbara Cullison does her daughter Audrey's hair. Audrey, who is autistic, risks losing her Medicaid waiver services because of state budget cuts.
Barbara Cullison does her daughter Audrey's hair. Audrey, who is autistic, risks losing her Medicaid waiver services because of state budget cuts.

Budget Shortfall Forces Big Cuts for Disabled

Advocates say the Department of Aging and Disability Services’ baseline budget request eliminates financing for more than 13,000 people — the majority waiting to receive Medicaid waiver services. Agency officials will only say that an “unknown number” of people already receiving the services could lose them. It's unclear if lawmakers can make these cuts without risking losing federal funding; federal health care reform requires states to maintain coverage at the same level it was when the Affordable Care Act became law in March.

Clay Boatright, the new president of the Arc of Texas
Clay Boatright, the new president of the Arc of Texas

An Interview with Arc of Texas President Clay Boatright

The new president of the Arc of Texas on why the disability community’s rallying cry to close state-supported living centers has become trite and ineffective, why the movement's messaging should be upgraded (employing everything from the iPad to the Bible) and why businesses and faith-based groups should be mobilized to fill the gaping holes in government services.

Scherry Levi with her mentally disabled nephew Deartis Preston in Preston's home in Bay City.
Scherry Levi with her mentally disabled nephew Deartis Preston in Preston's home in Bay City.

Families Lose Estates In Guardianship Battles

In the last year, Texas probate courts approved more than $6 million in payments from private estates to court-appointed attorneys, guardians and physicians, in many cases depleting funds left to care for incapacitated people. Critics say the practice amounts to destroying the village in order to save it. Probate judges say they're simply making sure people who can't defend themselves have proper representation.

Families Lose Guardianship in Secret Hearings

Frank and Chila Covington could hardly be mistaken for cruel. For four decades, they showered their daughter, Ceci, who has Down syndrome, with love, affection and opportunity. But when they argued with a group home provider who insisted that Ceci needed psychotropic medication, their world turned upside down. In the time it took for the provider to accuse the Covingtons of “cruelty,” a Tarrant County judge called a secret hearing and removed their guardianship, telling them they could no longer communicate with their own child. And he had every legal right to do so.