Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Giving the disabled a bad name and a bad time

I got the notice. I wasn’t sure when or how it would come, but I knew it would come. My attendants - those who I pay with funds from the state-funded, county-operated In-Home Supportive Services program - also got it, and they didn’t know it was coming and were confused and unhappy.

I knew that, over the summer, as the California state legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled to pass a budget, it was discovered that, lo and behold, the I.H.S.S was riddled with fraud. It turned out that people were getting money to take care of people who were dead, to take care of people who don’t exist, to take care of pets. There was one guy who was getting money to take care of his father and was using it to feed his own meth habit. It turned out that all this fraud was costing the state millions, if not billions, of dollars.
This was bad. No doubt about it. Clearly, people were taking advantage of the program, and the already broke state - not to mention the taxpayers - was getting cheated of a load of money. Something had to be done, so Arnold, the governator, gave out the order to crack down.

Thus, the notices that I got and that my attendants got in the mail.

Because of the fraud that has taken place, my I.H.S.S-funded attendants, according to the notices, are now required to fill out a form and hand-deliver it to the county office, be finger-printed and get a background check, attend a training and sign a paper saying they will abide by I.H.S.S rules. This goes for all new attendants as of November 1 and my current attendants next July.

Giving them time to quit.

Not only are these requirements a big pain, they treat my attendants as suspicious, if not criminal. Also, the notices my attendants got state that, by state law, they must pay for the finger-printing and background check.

Here’s something else: I have enough trouble finding people to work as attendants. Now I’ll have to tell them, "Oh, by the way, you also have to do these...."
Thanks to the cheaters. Wish me luck!

I recently read that people are protesting these steps, saying they make things harder for I.H.S.S as well as its disabled clients. Who knows if this will get anywhere. Oh, well, at least a judge ruled last month that thousands of disabled people can’t be dumped from the program, as was being planned to save money.

And then there was the recent report on 60 Minutes on Medicare fraud. I wonder if this has anything to do with Medi-Cal now taking more than two months to approve new motors for my chair.

1 comment:

  1. Hey John,

    Sorry to hear this story. It seems that there are so many stories of where, in an effort to deter some admittedly bad behavior on the part of those who cheat, the cure exacts a painful cost on EVERYONE else. It sounds like the caregivers are guilty until proven innocent...