California has been shortchanging its special-needs residents for generations. It’s still infuriating to learn that an inexplicable difference in state reimbursement rates is about to cost Santa Rosa a longtime home for people suffering developmental disabilities. The closure of Baird House in Rincon Valley comes as the state prepares to shut the Sonoma Developmental Center, forcing its developmentally disabled residents to find housing elsewhere. “SDC wasn’t able to give those children any quality of life at all given the staff-to-client ratio,” Baird House co-founder Russell Schreiber said.
As Staff Writer Martin Espinoza reported, Baird House is a licensed facility that has provided 24-hour skilled nursing care for a quarter-century. In a bitter irony, it was founded as an alternative to the Sonoma Developmental Center for children. But because of a bureaucratic classification, Baird House receives about half as much per client as a similar class of state-licensed facilities, established by the Legislature, that actually offer a lower level of care.
So the six current residents of Baird House are faced with finding new housing and care at the same time as residents of the soon-to-close developmental center. This is more than a bureaucratic snafu. It’s unfair to some of the most vulnerable residents of our community. Thumbs down.