OPEA Concerned with Misconceptions in Report

At the Department of Human Services Commission meeting today, Commissioner Peck gave a report about the resource centers for the developmentally disabled, which contained some misconceptions about the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley. The facility is the lifetime home of many of its 124 residents. OPEA members serve these special citizens who are challenged with serious disabilities.

“Contrary to the report, SORC does have a vocational program that serves the residents of SORC and several clients who live in the community,” said OPEA Policy Director Trish Frazier. “SORC has created several small businesses to employ clients including a floral shop, recycling, a thrift store, and other services.”

“The report mistakenly indicates that SORC clients receive their medical care at the emergency room of Pauls Valley Hospital,” continued Frazier. “In addition to the nursing staff, SORC has a doctor and nurse practitioner on contract, who look after the medical needs of the clients, both for preventative and acute care. These professionals have praised the care that the residents of SORC are receiving on a daily basis.”

“The most critical flaw in the report by Commissioner Peck is that it forces almost 80 of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens from their homes in a little over a year,” said Frazier. “DHS does not have the funding or time necessary to develop resources for these clients to move into community settings. Responsible transition takes months and individual planning. In 2011, only five clients were transitioned from both facilities.”

“In the passage of HCR 1030 (Billy, Paddack), the legislature rejected a similar plan presented by DHS is January,” continued Frazier. “In their discussions, legislators cited concern over hastily transferring vulnerable clients and the need for more careful client-centered planning. The Peck plan and the previous OKDHS plan center on deadlines for buildings, not the residents who are seriously challenged with medical and developmental disabilities.”

Commissioner Peck’s plan recommends that OKDHS pursue approval for Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid (NORCE) to become a Federally Qualified Health Center serving the northern part of the state, offering ‘therapy services to the rural populations.’

“Both NORCE and SORC are located in rural areas that could benefit from this vision,” concluded Frazier. “We hope SORC is given the opportunity to develop into a true resource center providing the residents in southern Oklahoma with the excellent services that are now available to residents of the facility.”

Related News