Monday, October 13, 2008

DMH WASTES $539,000.00 ON INTERPRETING ALONE!?!?!


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DMH WASTES $539,000.00 ON INTERPRETING ALONE!?!?!

DMH (Department of Mental Health of Missouri) has indicated  that it spends $539,000.00 a year on interpreting services alone for the deaf and hard of hearing.   This proves that they are mishandling the funds the wrong way.  They have failed to allocate the money for deaf professionals who are available and ready to work with deaf clients needing mental health services.

At the 12th Annual Empowerment Symposium sponsored by Missouri Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Osage Beach, Missouri on October 11, 2008,  we have shown DMH where they have been wasting thousands and thousands of dollars a year for the past few years.  

There was afternoon session of "DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PEOPLE: ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH".   It was an interesting session as it brought up lively debates and interesting points and facts focused on DMH's failures to meet the needs of the deaf community for the past few years.

If the DMH can wean off using some sign language interpreters,  they could hire at least 4 deaf professionals.  The cost for hiring deaf professionals can be average $40,000.00 per professional.   Take that and multiply by 4 and it equals $160,000.00.   We can throw in benefits and travel expenses averaging $40,000.00 totaling to $200,000.00.   The balance would be left around $339,000.00.   Hey, we could hire more deaf professionals.

For years, we have requested for deaf or hearing professional who are capable of using ASL during sessions.  They chose instead to use sign language interpreters.

The interpreters could have helped by being honest and upfront that the deaf clients do really need deaf or hearing who use ASL fluently to communicate with the deaf patients.

The RID Code of Ethics already spelled out the obligations and it seems that they chose a different route. Money is always wasted when an interpreter decides to take a selfish route.

The bottom line is that it is time to prod Missouri Department of Mental health into new direction effective immediately.    There can be lawsuit brewing on the horizon with this new information of how DMH spends the deaf dollars the wrong way.

We do not have to wait til 2010 to get more money for more programs.   It is ok to add more resources and funds.  Also, the buck stops at our desk and we can request that DMH re-prioritize the funds for the rest of 2008 and 2009.

What we are seeking now are equal mental health services for the deaf and hard of hearing.  We want the DMH to change its priorities and hire deaf professionals effective immediately.

This is NO excuse for DMH to continue wasting thousands and thousands of dollars on interpreting services.   The majority of mental health problems of deaf and hard of hearing patients have proven unsolvable with the use of interpreters.   

The buck stops here and now!