PCCM advocates forced to walk out of meeting

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Yesterday’s PCCM working group meeting at DSS did not go well. DSS had no agenda for the meeting which started twenty minutes late. Advocates asked for an explanation of the department’s sudden decision to reverse course from the months-long policy of starting the program statewide to a far weaker program limited to two smaller communities. We were told they had no explanation. When we asked staff to call and see if the Commissioner could come down to the meeting to deliver an explanation, staff refused to make that call. DSS had no response to advocates’ assertions that the illegal reversal contradicted the statewide plan required under law submitted by DSS and approved by the Human Services and Appropriations Committees without revision. They also had no response to the assertion that this sudden reversal violated the good faith efforts of advocates working for months collaboratively and diligently to recruit providers and build support for HUSKY. Asked to confirm a promise made at a morning meeting with policymakers that PCCM would be statewide in three to six months, DSS answered that there is no timeframe for any potential statewide expansion. One petulant comment made was “I never wanted to have this meeting.” Asked why advocates should continue to meet with DSS and labor to make the program a success, we were given no answer. And the meeting ended.
Ellen Andrews

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