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A Word from the President

January 10, 2013

Services for a Lifetime

Dennis W. Felty
Dennis W. Felty
President, KHS

When Keystone Human Services opened its first home on Green Street in 1972, we made a promise that we would be there for people for a lifetime. Each person may be using our services for 4-70 years or more, and as parents age, they want the assurance that their sons and daughters will be taken care of. As life expectancies increase, the number of people requiring disability services also grows, making funding a critical issue. It has been estimated that by 2050, the Medicare and Medicaid drug program will be underfunded by 50 trillion dollars.

If human service organizations are going to make a lifetime commitment to people, then new funding paradigms need to be considered. We create complex systems that are not only difficult to understand but also commoditize services. In highly structured service paradigms, like a fee for service system, individuals are forced to fit into existing service offerings, regardless of the individual’s actual needs, and in fact, authorized services may have little or no relevance to the person’s real need.

We need a paradigm that embraces the reality of lifespan care for very vulnerable people and that transcends changes in administration, as well as political and economic trends. In the last few years, an emerging human service paradigm has appeared that has the potential to revolutionize the system of care so that people’s needs can be met for a lifespan.

This third wave paradigm is flexible and highly individualized, focusing on the person rather than on the units of service provided. Individuals are encouraged to grow and build their capacity, and as their needs change, resources can be dynamically deployed to meet them. Not only is the innovation and the use of technology encouraged, but the natural capacity of the community and families is fully integrated into comprehensive services and supports.

It’s a system where individuals return home from structured residential programs to live within the context of their extended families. Families receive support to sustainably become the primary caretakers, drawing upon additional support resources such as neighbors, the community, schools, churches, synagogues, and mosques.

Keystone Autism Services’ Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP) is an example of a fully integrated, comprehensive system of care that is designed based on this third wave paradigm. ACAP incorporates vocational, residential, behavioral, social, health, recreational, transportation, therapeutic, spiritual, educational, crisis, in-home support, and independent living aspects of participants’ lives.

As a fully disintermediated program, ACAP effectively combines innovation, technology, and the natural resources in the community and family to provide dynamic supports on a real time basis that truly meet the unique needs of each participant in the program.

With an increasing need for human services, it is imperative that we create a sustainable and enduring system of care, a new paradigm so that families and individuals can rest assured that services will be there for a lifetime.


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