The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 19, 2013

Letter: NORCE’s fate can’t just be about money

Enid News & Eagle

— My daughter, Samantha, 47, lives in Enid at the NORCE center, and has for 35 years. At present, we, the parents and guardians are fighting to keep the center open. We feel it better to have all the residents’ services under one roof.

When a child is prone to seizures, or must use a feeding tube for sustenance, it is only logical to maintain their stability under one roof. This requires several people per resident. The governor has taken the decision of the now defunct DHS commission, that this center is too costly to run, and is pulling out the residents. I have heard of no cost analysis being run in this instance, one that would show on paper which venue will be more costly to the state. I would like to see that accounting.

Gov. Fallin’s plan is to house our loved ones in small homes around in communities, with trained employees (sometimes at a 3-to-1 ratio) and staff them 24/7.

On the outset, this sounds like a wonderful plan.

There are two glaring flaws in the governor’s plan. One is that some of our people are not mobile; Samantha cannot take care of herself. She will not benefit by going out into the community. The community will be fine for those who are ambulatory, they enjoy activities and are capable to do so.

The other glaring issue is that our most vulnerable citizens needing immediate response from doctors or nurses won’t have it.

The solution to this situation is to update NORCE to accommodate residents of SORC, in Pauls Valley, and have our mentally challenged under one roof. Teach the teachable again, have the self-sustaining farm they once enjoyed and have their safe, secure, well-trained staff available to them again. It’s not always about the money, Gov. Fallin.

Suzanne Randall

Oklahoma City