Friday, December 14, 2012

News Release from ARC of VA

For Immediate Release:  December 13, 2012
Contact:  Jamie Liban (jliban@thearcofva.org or 804 649-8481, ext 101)

“The New Virginia Way”
The Arc of Virginia Urges State Leaders to Embrace Historic Opportunity for Reform

Today, The Arc of Virginia announced the launch of “The New Virginia Way”, a campaign to improve access to truly integrated, community based services for all Virginians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD), regardless of age, diagnosis or complexity of support needs.  

“The New Virginia Way” campaign was developed by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, family members and advocates to help communicate principles they wish to see embraced during the Commonwealth’s transition from institutional care to community-based support.  These values include community integration, self-determination, inclusion and a commitment to quality services. 

To commence the campaign, The Arc of Virginia released its report on “The New Virginia Way.”  The document provides an overview of current barriers to community integration in Virginia which include waiting lists, inadequate waiver reimbursement rates and a reliance on large, segregated settings. The report also issues a “Call to Action”, outlining steps that must be taken to ensure that Virginians with ID/DD, including those with the most complex needs, have access to quality, community-based services.

“The Arc of Virginia thanks Governor McDonnell and the Virginia General Assembly for the actions that have been taken thus far to help Virginia transition to a community-based system of support,” said Howard Cullum, President of The Arc of Virginia.  “This long overdue transition will help the Commonwealth protect civil rights, achieve sustainability and serve more people with ID/DD in a better way.”   

The recent settlement agreement between the U.S. and Virginia provides an excellent framework for a successful transition.  Further action is required in the upcoming budget to implement the system that is envisioned.  “The New Virginia Way” campaign urges state leaders to embrace the historic opportunity for reform and help Virginia become a leader in ID/DD services by strengthening its community-based supports and eliminating risk of institutionalization.  

Specifically, The Arc is calling for the following actions in the upcoming 2012-2014 Biennium Budget and 2013 General Assembly Session:

·         The provision of additional ID/DD Waivers to help the 7,500 individuals with ID/DD who are on waiting lists for services;
·         ID/DD Waiver Reform to ensure ALL people with ID/DD have access to truly integrated services, regardless of the complexity of their support needs;
·         Continued support for Virginia’s long overdue, transition to a community-based system;
·         Budget transparency and a commitment to keep cost savings achieved by facility closures in the ID/DD system;
·         Support for infants and toddlers with development delays by ensuring proper and timely access to early intervention services; and
·         Help for people with ID/DD who are ineligible for Waiver, but remain at risk of institutionalization.

“For decades, Virginians with ID/DD and their families have been fighting for access to community-based services that are so desperately needed,” said Howard Cullum, President of The Arc of Virginia. “Many have been institutionalized as a result of inaction.  Now is the time to make things right.”

The Arc of Virginia’s report on “The New Virginia Way” can be accessed at www.thearcofva.org

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