Letter: Failure to communicate

Individuals with a cognitive impairment (clients) won a major victory in the Alaska Supreme Court in 1994, but were never told about the failure. The Victory: 1.1 billion in assets was set aside to assist those with a cognitive impairment. The Failure: To our knowledge, not a single dime was designated (earmarked) to improve their legal rights or to inform them of their rights.

The complaints of individuals with cognitive impairments come out as a whisper in a world where mistreatment is sometimes the norm. In 2005, 11 years after the settlement, individuals locked in state-run Alaska Psychiatric Institute could not file a formal grievance—due process and the appeal process were non-existent—everything seemed fine to individuals with cognitive impairments unable to verbalize the mistreatment; today in 2015 there is still no formal appeal process to a state agency.

The state and patient advocacy organizations are out of touch with their clientele. The disabled are handcuffed, transported, locked up at any time. Advocacy organizations take two weeks off for Christmas and go home at 5 and on the weekends.

Those with a disability must be informed of their rights in a uniform way; cognitive disabilities require that the individual is informed in writing and verbally or receive whatever other assistance is necessary for them to understand. With over one billion in assets, the disabled should be allowed to hire an advocacy organization that is available 24 hours a day to represent them. Hospital rules and regulations should be reviewed by an outside auditing firm to determine if they in a real way protect the disabled locked in institutions and promote recovery.—Individuals with a cognitive impairment still need your help.

Reference: Hospitals and employee unions write many of the policies that govern patient care/rights and they do it in self-interest.

To be called a formal appeal it must have meaningful due process.

The Mental Health Trust Authority manages a fund for the disabled valued at over one billion dollars—269-7960.

Faith Myers and Dorrance Collins,