Have you ever encountered one of those situations where the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of a government office or process simply staggers you? I'm thinking of the kind of situation that leaves you aghast at the costs being incurred because systems are not streamlined or based on any common sense? I want to hear about those examples and collate them into a Citizens' List of Improvements and Cost Savings (CLICS) that Albertans can present to the next government. In order to do that I need your help, I need your stories.
Often people are afraid to come forward with their stories because they fear or imagine some type of retribution. However, if the examples are stripped of emotion and framed as opportunities for improvement, wouldn't we be doing ourselves and future generations a favour by bringing them forward? I am personally aware of an Albertan who was born with a rare genetic disorder, whose family had to go through the process of re-qualifying for funding assistance when he was thirty-two years old because the government had implemented the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS). The gentleman in question has multiple disabilities due to the genetic disorder, and functions in a good moment at about a four-year-old level. The good moments are simply that, moments.
Yet despite reams of medical documentation over his life-time regarding the disability and the limitations it imposes, he was required with his parent to go through the SIS interview and process. You can go to PDD SIS to see what that entails as it will help you to understand the ridiculousness of the situation. The highlights or lowlights depending on your perspective include a mandatory interview that takes about three hours and involves multiple parties. The whole process is designed to try to assess the level of disability and the supports and funding required by an individual. So far according to the Alberta Government website, implementing the SIS process alone has cost Albertans over $400,000.
Well, by my uneducated judgment they could have saved at least one interview with a disabled Albertan by simply reviewing the medical records and checking in with the Guardian and Case Workers. We wouldn't stand for having a four year old put through a three hour interview, so why are we okay with the government making a disabled person of similar capability go through that. Never mind the fact that it required the presence of a SIS certified interviewer, family, friends, associated workers. Start adding up the lost time at work and the emotional uncertainty that this process puts the family through. Pile that on top of having had to fight for and advocate for your loved one for over thirty years at this point, and you will be starting to understand the strain that this kind of blind adherence to process and policy places on the families of those who are disabled.
A video link on the Alberta Government website talks about how amazing the program is and how it has helped those with developmental disabilities become self-sufficient and do things they never imagined possible. That's wonderful, and I am all for that when the individual has a snowball's chance in hell of it happening. But when you put a severely disabled adult who functions only momentarily in a four-year-old's world through that, you are doing a disservice to them and to their families.
That kind of disservice isn't only present at the Alberta Government level. Recently, the news aired the story of retired Master Corporal Paul Franklin who has had to prove repeatedly to the federal government that he lost both his legs in Afghanistan while on duty for Canada. You can see his story at CTV News. As we face the upcoming provincial election and look ahead to a federal election, we need to make our voices heard. We need to set aside our fears that we might not tell the story quite right, or that we might be viewed as radical, and we need to tell the stories. If we don't, things will never change. Do you have a story and any recommendations? If so, please leave a comment.