State Senator Michael Moore of Milbury made the comment during the Glavin breakfast, saying the amendment will specify that the study be done by the state auditor, inspector general, or another independent entity selected by a competitive bidding process.
COFAR has criticized a cost analysis submitted to the Legislature last summer by the Patrick administration, which claims that closing the Glavin, Monson, and Templeton developmental centers will save the state $20 million a year. No analysis was submitted at all for the Fernald Developmental Center, which is the first on the administration's closure list.
Because we believe there are numerous flaws in the administration's cost analysis, we at COFAR have urged that an independent study be submitted to the Legislature.
At Tuesday's breakfast, Al Bacotti, a former director of the Glavin Center, made the case to the lawmakers that Glavin is both cost-effective to operate and functions as a "safety net" for a group of severely intellectually disabled people who have been unable to live successfully in community-based settings.
Bacotti maintained that he saw a number of instances in which costs tripled for Glavin residents needing intensive care, after they were transferred to community residences. Those residents no longer had the benefit of centralized clinical, therapeutic, and medical services, which had been available at Glavin, he said.
Bacotti also disputed the argument made by facility closure advocates that Glavin and the other developmental centers are segregated from the surrounding community and restrict residents' freedom.
"There are actually more freedoms here (at Glavin) than for many people in community settings," Bacotti said. "To the argument that everyone should be in the community, my answer is it didn't work for the people here."
Rep. Vincent Pedone of Worcester replied at that point that he needs more data on those cost issues becuase "people (on Beacon Hill) are telling us the opposite is true." COFAR delivered a set of facts and figures on developmental center and community costs direclty to Rep. Pedone today (Wednesday).
During the Tuesday breakfast meeting, Wilfred Dumont told the lawmakers about his son, Stephen, 26, who has been a Glavin resident for the past four years. Stephen is intellectually disabled and is deaf and has cerebral palsy and other medical conditions. Prior to coming to Glavin, he lived in a community-based facility where he began banging his head so severely that even a helmet didn't help.
"He opened up his head at least 30 times," Dumont said. That behavior has ceased since he's been at Glavin. "Now he's smiling for the first time and he comes home on weekends," Dumont added. He said Stephen still has some behavioral episodes, but they no longer go on for a month at at a time. "To move him to another facility won't work. You might as well put him in a cage," he said.
We will tell more about Stephen's case and about other Glavin family members' stories in our upcoming, May issue of The COFAR Voice.
Other lawmakers attending Tuesday's legislative breakfast included Reps. Anne Gobi of Spencer, Kimberly Ferguson of Holden, Paul Frost of Auburn, and Matthew Beaton of Shrewsbury.