PHA: Essential Elements of a Plan for Closure of SDC

July 14, 2015:

Below is the Parent Hospital Association’s (PHA) Essential Elements of an SDC Closure/Transformation. It mirrors the coalition service plan in most ways, but in addition, includes a couple other aspects that the PHA board thought essential to the plan.

The plan is also available as a downloadable PDF, provided here.

Essential Elements of a Plan for Closure

of Sonoma Developmental Center

submitted on behalf of PHA

In the plan for closure of Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) completed by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), there should be certain elements included. These elements have been used in plans for closure in other states where there has been a directed effort to reduce reliance on institutional facilities and to provide for the variety of needs that are created by not having them.

First, the plan should include provisions for services to individuals who have been deflected to inappropriate living situations because there has been a multi-year “moratorium” on admissions to SDC. These individuals would include minimally the individuals registered with the eight Northern California Regional Centers who would have normally referred clients to SDC who:

1. Currently reside in jail.
2. Currently reside in an acute psychiatric facility or being held on a 5150.
3. Have been held on a 5150 in an acute psychiatric facility more than three (3) times in the last year.
4. Have been recommended to be demitted from their current home due to behavioral issues.
5. Is living in temporary housing such as a homeless shelter, hotel, or other such arrangement,
6. Are determined to be at significant risk of harm to self or others in their current home with the level of care and support currently provided.

Second, the plan should include personally required services currently provided at SDC and not readily available in the community living arrangements in the eight Northern California Regional Centers. PHA’s position is that these services should be developed on the SDC site concurrent with closure activities. These services would include a clinic that:

1. Provides a primary care physician that would be responsible for coordinating the overall health care management
2. Provides an annual dental examination & treatment as necessary;
3. Provides durable medical equipment adaptation and maintenance and repair.
4. Coordinates a review by a neurologist if the individual has a seizure disorder and has had more than 3 seizures in a 30 day period;
5. Coordinates a review by an ophthalmologist for all individuals over the age of 65 for cataracts or other eye diseases and availability of alternatives;
6. Provides an annual review by a psychiatrist or physician with more than 2 years of experience with individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities of their psychiatric/behavioral medication regimen; and
7. Provides a review by a licensed psychologist of the individual’s behavior support plans if they require them upon their move from SDC and annually thereafter.
8. Retain acute care license for clinic/medical facility.

Third, any plan that is developed should include the assurance of transparency in reporting, including information to assist in the assessment of the placement and support of the individual being moved from SDC including all information currently available from SDC, especially

1. Any use of restraint, manual or mechanical,
2. Any use of seclusion
3. Any use of emergency psychiatric medications, (STAT)
4. Any significant injury received by the individual during a behavioral episode
5. Any unexplained injury
6. A mortality review of all deaths.

Fourth, the plan should include the availability of emergency services and other necessary medical and health services on the SDC site, including

1.Behavioral/psychiatric emergency and crisis services, overseen by a licensed psychologist or physician with 2 years of experience working with individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities available within 2 – 72 hours
2. A facility that can provide longer term behavioral treatment from which they cannot be expelled or demitted
3. Enhanced behavioral homes with delayed egress

With these elements included in the plan for a closure of SDC, there is at least a plan to provide for the care and support necessary to maintain, assess, review, intervene when necessary and assure the ongoing success of the individual, especially those with complex behavioral and dual diagnosis needs.

Provided courtesy of the Parent Hospital Association (PHA).

DDS Announces Public Hearing on SDC Closure, July 18 in Sonoma

July 7, 2015:

The Department of Developmental Services has published the following public notice for A Public Hearing on the Transformation of Sonoma Developmental Center.

To access a copy of the letter about the hearing noticed by DDS and sent by Sonoma Developmental Center to conservators click here.

A Public Hearing on the Transformation of
Sonoma Developmental Center

Senate Bill 82, signed by the governor June 24, 2015, requires the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to submit a plan or plans to the Legislature by October 1, 2015, to close one or more of the state’s three remaining developmental centers. Efforts are underway to submit a plan to close Sonoma Developmental center (SDC) in Eldridge, CA by the end of 2018. As a required part of the development of a closure plan specific to SDC, DDS is seeking public comment from interested persons and organizations. These comments will be summarized in the closure plan to be submitted by October 1, 2015, for Legislative approval.

DDS will hold this public hearing on Saturday, July 18, 2015, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Sonoma Valley High School Pavilion, 20000 Broadway, Sonoma, CA.

Introduction — 10-10:15 a.m.
Public Testimony — 10:15 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To assure each person who wants to speak has the opportunity, individuals providing testimony are asked to keep their comments to approximately five minutes. Written comments may be submitted in person at the hearing, to DDS online at, by mail to DDS, Developmental Centers Division, Attn: Cindy Coppage, 1600 9th Street, MS 3-17, Sacramento, CA 95814, or via e-mail to by 5 p.m. on September 1, 2015.

Sonoma Valley High School Pavilion is physically accessible to persons with disabilities. Printed materials in alternate formats and requests for sign language interpreters, or other disability-related accommodations, should be made to DDS @ (916) 654-1706 or email: by 5 p.m. on July 14, 2015.

To view the original public notice received by PHA, please click here, and a later copy of the agenda here.

Provided courtesy of the Department of Developmental Services and the Parent Hospital Association websites.

New DDS Website for SDC

July 2, 2015:

Please view DDS’s new website on the Sonoma Developmental Center here for all the latest correspondence, public comments and notices, as well as resources and links relating to the Transform SDC project.

Provided courtesy of the State of California Department of Developmental Services website.

Federal Funding Deal Reached for Sonoma Developmental Center

July 2, 2015:

An agreement has been reached that secures continued federal Medicaid funding for the Eldridge facility, as previously stated here.

“Rogers (Director of the state Department of Developmental Services) said the federal funding will help the department transform the Sonoma Facility as described in a plan produced by a special task force that INVESTIGATED the future of the state’s developmental centers.”

Please read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below.

Deal reached to preserve Sonoma Developmental Center’s federal funding

Provided courtesy of the Press Democrat website, by Martin Espinoza.

Breaking News: Agreement with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for Continued Federal Funding for Sonoma Developmental Center

July 1, 2015:


California has announced its agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to continue federal financial participation for Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) for up to two years.

As said by Diana S. Dooley, Secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency,

“We are working in collaboration with our federal partners to ensure quality care and service continue at Sonoma while…”

Please click on the link provided below to view California’s Department of Developmental Services News Release, and don’t forget to click on the links within the News Release for additional information on their plan moving forward as well as the Sonoma Settlement Agreement.

California Announces Agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for Continued Federal Funding for Sonoma Developmental Center

These documents are also provided via the DDS’s website provided below.

Thank you!

Provided courtesy of the California Department of Developmental Services website, (at, under Highlights.

California Senators to Discuss Funding

June 29, 2015:

Because California’s new budget did not include extra funds for programs geared towards those with developmental disabilities, Governor Brown has called for a special session in order to discuss how the state could raise the money.

“State senators who will serve on a special session to discuss additional funding for services for those with developmental disabilities have been chosen, but it’s uncertain when the committee will convene.”

Please click on the link below to read more on this update.

California senators chosen to discuss funding for developmentally disabled

Provided courtesy of the Los Angeles Daily News, by Susan Abram.

McGuire’s Letter

June 16, 2015:

With news of Governor Brown’s plan to close SDC by 2018, the Sonoma legislative delegation has been urging the Governor to include critical protections for SDC residents, staff and the property’s natural resources in the final version of the FY 2015-2016 state budget which directs DDS to submit a closure plan to the Legislature for review.

“Ensuring that appropriate and individualized community services are in place before residents are moved from the SDC to community placements. Ensuring that critical services…”

Please click on the link provided below to read the rest of this letter.

McGuire’s Letter

Thank you!

Programs For Developmentally Disabled Could Be Cut

June 10, 2015:

Workshops such as the one described in the article below allow individuals with developmental disabilities to feel a sense of independence that they can’t find just anywhere. Although California has the largest amount of developmentally disabled individuals, we spend the least, and with program closures, beds and work options for this fragile population have been lost.

Please click on the link below to read the rest of this article.

Developmentally disabled to lose programs if California budget remains stagnant

Provided courtesy of the Los Angeles Daily News website, by Susan Abram.

One of SDC’s Crafts

June 8, 2015:

Working as a cobbler for the Sonoma Developmental Center, Lisa Glover has crafted shoes to fit those whose feet are contorted. She enables the residents to move around pain-free because of these shoes; propelling themselves in their wheelchairs, and protected their feet from bruises.

Please click on the link provided below to read more of this article or visit the website here to view the article at its source.

An anachronism, a cobbler and Alice

Provided courtesy of The Sacramento Bee website, by Dan Morain.