Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Be Professional

Recently, a group of employees at Imagine! spent some time discussing Organizational Stewardship and how it relates to Imagine! and to other professional health organizations.

The discussion was lively and meaningful, and some basic themes emerged. One especially important theme that resonated throughout the discussion was our responsibility to be accountable for our actions and to be cognizant of how those actions impacted our stakeholders and the organization as a whole. I believe Imagine! does an excellent job of that, conducting all of our actions with a professionalism that has achieved remarkable results.

I will go a step further and say that Colorado’s network of Community Centered Boards and service providers has also achieved a level of amazing success. United Cerebral Palsy’s most recent report ranking of the best states for people with disabilities backs up that statement. According to the report, Colorado ranks sixth overall in fostering a comfortable and safe environment for people with disabilities. The report looked at five distinct categories: promoting independence, keeping families together, encouraging productivity, reaching those in need and tracking health, safety and quality of life.

Colorado’s success is especially notable because these positive outcomes have been achieved even while the state ranks 48th in state fiscal effort, according to the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities’ most recent publication of The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities. In fact, all of the states ranked above Colorado on United Cerebral Palsy’s ranked much higher in fiscal effort (although, that isn’t difficult when Colorado is ranked 48th).

We have a system with a demonstrable history of success that goes far beyond the resources that are put into it. Despite this record of success, changes to the system continue to be proposed. As always, when big changes and systemic overhauls are being suggested, I recommend that some serious questions be asked, and answered, before moving forward.

Questions such as: What happens when the success of the system is ignored? What happens when the utmost levels of organizational stewardship and professionalism demonstrated by Community Centered Boards and providers are tossed aside? Are the true systematic issues being examined? Are there real achievable solutions on the table?

Changes have been made over past decade or so that have had negative unintended consequences. I wonder if we are on that path once again. I hope not.

Then again, what do I know?

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