Complaints alone are not advocacy. To be effective, we need to identify some potential solutions that can be offered to decision-makers. In advocating for Ideas to strengthen inclusion of consumers and families in system development, oversight, and quality improvement, here are three ideas that perhaps our State Consumer and Family Advisory Committee and other advocates can consider as part of our advocacy strategy:
- Recommend that actions are taken to ensure that the Consumer Policy Advisory is empowered to undertake functions as defined in the position posting from February 12, 2015:
- “The selected candidate will work with LME-MCOs, applicable DHHS Divisions, county agencies, citizen groups, consumers, and consumer family members to guarantee that disability populations are adequately represented at all levels and in all phases of Department and Division efforts. The selected candidate will initiate and participate in system improvement and citizen involvement and ensure that the community-based system remains compliant with legal rights protections for recipients of supports and services.”
If the functions described were supported to be done with optimal result, the Consumer Policy Advisor would definitely strengthen the position of the consumer and family voice at the Division of Mental Health.
- Recommend that consumer and family inclusion are leveraged through MCO Contracts: Create language for the contract between MCOs and DHHS that ensures that consumers and families are engaged in an integral (integrated) way in advising MCO process, practices, culture. Tie funding incentives to meaningful and measurable consumer engagement as is done in public health systems.
- Recommend that the development of independent statewide consumer advocacy organizations be supported to 1) empower citizens toward recovery or personal goal advancement, 2) facilitate collaboration with area and state CFACS to ensure more stakeholder engagement with these advisor bodies, and 3) foster shared visioning for system and service innovation and quality improvement. Commitment to the effectiveness of these organizations should be shared between leadership of these organizations and Division leadership and liaisons. The aim is to collaboratively shift system culture toward participatory change/participant driven progress and family support.
- Funds from community mental health and substance use block grants can be accessed for this. Funds should be identified for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
WHAT other recommendations do YOU have in mind? Please share them with us!