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OMR PAC Continues Under Casey
May 21, 2003

Kevin Casey participated in his first Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) as Deputy Secretary, rather than as an advocate, on May 20. Casey stated unequivocally that he views the PAC as an effective planning process that should continue and that is in accord with the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision. He suggested that the PAC retreats scheduled for this summer should be seen as follow-up to previous planning efforts such as the Multi-Year and Waiting List Plans. The Secretary of Public Welfare’s emphasis for OMR is on ending the Waiting List and dealing with recruitment and retention, two areas that should continue to be addressed by the PAC.

Casey pointed out that financial resources will probably be limited for the next two fiscal years. He stated, however, that he is determined that the MR system will serve as many people as possible and serve them in a high quality system. He emphasized the need for all stakeholders to work together in order to accomplish this goal. More families and consumers will be added to the PAC; nominations should be sent to Connie Meeker at OMR.

Casey added that it is critical for individuals using the MR system to have choice, integration, and individual budgeting. Referring to previous dissension about the proposed Individual Estimated Resource (IER), he said that it is necessary to find a way to get to individual budgets that makes sense and that everyone can agree on. He also emphasized that the planning process must include looking at how services are delivered: can they be provided at lower cost and/or lower levels of intensity; if faced with running a system long term with a low wage work force, how can we manage employees in ways that help them provide quality services?

Casey will have an opportunity to discuss these and other issues with PCPA members at the MR Committee meeting on June 17, after first meeting with the PCPA Executive Committee. PCPA looks forward to these continued opportunities for planning and discussion. For information about the MR Committee meeting, please contact Lynn Keltz.

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