Successful Community Integration: The Community Resource Center Model
Community Resource Centers (CRCs) are specialty, out-patient clinics situated at existing residential facilities that provide desperately needed quality medical, dental, and other therapeutic services to citizens with mental retardation and developmental disabilities living in communities, who have significant difficulty obtaining these services. CRCs also function as university-based centers of education, training, and research for medical and dental students, residents, externs, fellows, and professionals. There are proven models in several states.
CRCs can be created as stand alone specialty clinics or situated at existing public and private ICFs/MR. Utilizing the existing ICFs/MR infrastructure, which already boasts onsite health care services, is a cost-effective solution that would allow the immediate delivery of health care services to Medicaid-eligible community-based individuals.
The significant challenges of individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities accessing quality medical, dental and other health care services in the community is well-documented in the media, in publicly funded studies, research by Special Olympics and in scholarly publications, including the recent report of the Surgeon General, “Closing the Gap: A National Blueprint to Improve the Health of Persons with Mental Retardation” (February 2002).
Existing CRC Programs
The CRC model is already being utilized to deliver health care to consumers and provide training to health care practitioners in Virginia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Missouri, Washington State, and other states. Federal support and financing is needed to realize needed expansion of the proven CRC model.
“For her entire life, Christy, has had to fight for the most basic health care services in the community. It was frustrating for us as a family to know that, right down the street, was Lanterman Developmental Center [an ICF/MR in California] that offered exactly what Christy so desperately needed. If not for the kindness of professionals who fit Christy in on their own time, Christy would have gone without.” [Toni Rhodes Glover, mother to Christy].
“Northern Virginia Training Center has provided a tremendous service and has been a tremendous asset to this family. Consultative and psychiatric services have been a quality service that was not available in the community. Specialized resources are certainly not available in the community with the same knowledge base as the folks from NVTC. Recommendations were reasonable and on target and were appropriate considering the dynamics of the family at this time.” [Loudoun Case Manager, Virginia].
Tour a CRC