GALLIPOLIS — Gallco has privatized after transitioning from the care of the Gallia County Board of Developmental Disabilities to the care of PALS Chrysalis Health.
“All of the county staff that have worked at Gallco will no longer be county employees and they will become employees of PALS,” said Gallia County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Pamela Combs. “I first met PALS when I worked for Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities…I asked how can I get one of these in my county? It was so different from any day service for people with developmental disabilities that I had ever seen.”
Combs said PALS facilities in her experience felt like places anyone would want to be and not just feel like an institution.
“It felt like a place where you would be really comfortable,” said Combs. “Each person was engaged with an activity that you could tell they chose, which is a totally new concept in the field. That requires a lot of creativity and a lot of planning to be able to make those things happen. It felt really different.”
Combs said PALS would eventually start a workshop in Licking County and felt her time with them there was a successful endeavor. PALS was among a few other organizations Combs requested to consider serving in Gallia.
Combs said the Gallia Board of Developmental Disabilities sent out requests for proposals in December of last year among various organizations to help Gallco make the transition to a private entity. Combs said the board and parents of the clients served voted and chose PALS as the new overseeing entity of Gallco. Comb said she recused herself from the choice because of her previous experience with the organization.
Combs said the vote taken was unanimous in favor of the PALS organization.
Combs said Gallco’s mission was “To ensure the availability of programs, services and supports that assist eligible individuals with developmental disabilities in choosing and achieving a life of increasing capability such that they can live, work and play in the community, and to assist and support the families of these individuals in achieving this objective.”
Combs said any previous county employees of Gallco would resume work with PALS as the Gallco coordinator at equal pay and benefits as they had previously. No jobs were lost. Combs said the board would continue to provide services and support with their families and PALS.
Combs thanked all partner providers in the care of Gallia residents served by the board of developmental disabilities.
“Workshops” like Gallco, as such facilities are commonly called among board of developmental disabilities affiliates, have been gradually moving towards privatization in Ohio as part of a trend originally started with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Olmstead v. L.C. case. According to www.ada.gov, the ruling required states to “eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities received services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.