Living Center Needed

RECEIVED Mon., May 4, 2015

Dear Editor,
    I want to commend you for having an outstanding reporter, the caliber of Mary Tuma, for her consistent and accurate reporting on the Austin State Supported Living Center ("Guardians Fight On to Save SSLC," May 1, which is a follow-up to her "Evicted and Helpless," Sept. 19, 2014).
    Those of us who have a loved one who has lived there for many years know very well the great care they receive from professional, trained, caring staff at the Austin SSLC, which is home to the most fragile mentally and physically handicapped in Travis and surrounding counties. The facility was built on land that was "donated" by a family for the "feebleminded" nearly a century ago!
    The freedoms and activities they enjoy in their safe neighborhood on the campus would not be possible in any other setting. The team of Texas A&M physicians who came to the center last May and wrote a 25-page report were struck by the "complex medical requirements" of a very "fragile" population, who should not be moved to community, citing the needed care provided at the center, and the "paucity" of providers and professionals in private practice willing or capable of caring for this fragile group in the community. They went on to state, IF they were moved to community, they would STILL need all the services provided by the AuSSLC. These prestigious A&M medical professionals had a very different perspective from all the previous reports on the Austin SSLC.
    We are counting on our Texas legislators to consider the A&M physicians' recommendations to keep the residents in their homes on campus, and perhaps those IDD individuals who have chosen community could utilize the "specialized" and professional services available at the Austin SSLC.
    I will note, this report was not made public, and because it was paid for by Texas taxpayers, I was finally able to obtain it on Feb. 27, 2015. DADS (Dept. of Aging and Disability Services) received the report on Aug. 25, 2014! Why was such a significant report withheld, and not made available for ALL to see???
Linda Johnson
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