“Consumer Caucus” Makes Recommendations to the NC Council of Community Programs

A productive cross-disability caucus was hosted at the annual NC Council Conference last December in Pinehurst. Almost twenty-five people participated. Discussion was efficient and great consensus was shared on ten recommendations. These were submitted to Council Executive Director Mary Hooper.

  1. Shift the focus of efforts from process development to what the system is actually achieving in the lives of those served.  If we are to be able to sustain system efforts with limited public funds, then we must focus on purchasing value as system customers define value.
  2. Ensure fairness of appeals processes. Create provisions which protect a customer from losing services during appeals processes, which can be very lengthy, lasting many months.  Ensure that MCO Offices of Consumer Affairs are sufficiently developed to offer frequent training to the consumer community on the appeals process so they can become more empowered and prepared should they need to make an appeal.  This improves system quality!
  3. Value and utilize personal outcomes measures across all disability arenas as part of systemic quality improvement. Personal life outcomes are the actual substance of value in human services.
  4. Ensure that all regions of our state have quality psychiatric rehabilitation services, which place a premium on recovery and on helping people become meaningfully employed. This includes the development if best practice model (International Center for Clubhouse Development).
  5. Planning must ensure choice and respect self-determination as a fundamental human value. Personal choice implies personal responsibility and agency for system customers.  They promote hope.
  6. Create true, collaborative partnerships at the managed care level and at the state level with any agencies that can work together to solve old problems, anticipate and prevent new ones.
  7. Develop with the assistance of consumers service rating systems that help drive quality and ensure customer satisfaction.
  8. Ensure that viable networks  are developed to promote the employment of all who wish to work.
  9. Please use more person first language. (As and example, it was shared that yesterday the term  “frequent flyer” was used to speak of people using the EDs frequently.  It over-characterizes individuals.)
  10. Engage consumers to give input not so much as separate committees, but more as advisors or consultants integrated into work groups within MCOs and at the Division (we thank the Division for already taking much leadership in this in the past two years). We will have faster change by integrating input as it is gathered at higher levels.