Monday, April 23, 2018 displays lack of care for woman with a disability

On February 2, 2014 I attempted to log into my account and follow-up with some applicants who had responded to my ad for a Home Health Aide. After a few tries that only led to error messages instead of access to my account, I clicked on their Member Care link and sent them a message to see what the problem was.
Basic Membership to is free and allows someone seeking a Caregiver to post an ad describing the type of care they need. To actually communicate with a potential Caregiver or utilize any of the other services offers requires a paid membership, which Medicaid and Medicare do not cover. One month costs $37 or an annual subscription costs $147.
For me, the most appealing feature of is that members can choose to only communicate with Caregivers who post the results of their criminal background check. This is a huge safeguard that was worth every penny, even though it had to come out of my $800 monthly budget.
On February 3, 2014 responded to my message alerting them to the fact that I could not log into my account. Here is what they had to say:
Thank you for your email. After researching this issue, we found that you previously had an account that was closed by
Unfortunately we are unable to accept your membership. This decision is final and irreversible. No exceptions will be made to these terms.
I was stunned! I thought this had to be a mistake or misunderstanding. I am a healthcare advocate with a disability. What could I have said or done to warrant this extreme action? They must have been hacked, I thought! So, I called them.
As it turns out, was not hacked. They told me it could take up to a week for my membership fee to be refunded and that I can never have a membership with them again and…here is the kicker…they do not have to tell me why.
I’m a small statured woman who uses a wheelchair. Obviously, I’m no stranger to being disrespected. In fact, the last person I interviewed from had plenty of disrespectful things to say about my lifestyle. I didn’t cause a ruckus about it though. I just didn’t hire her.
Since refused to tell me why they revoked my membership, I’m always going to wonder if that judgmental interviewee complained to them about my non-traditional ways. Am I being discriminated against because of my lifestyle? Their website states that their goal is ”…to provide families with as many options as possible so everyone can find the care that best fits their unique needs.”  Why am I being excluded?
Now, let’s fast forward. On April 18, 2018 I attempted to open a new account because I have moved to a different state and need to assemble a whole new team of Caregivers. My first attempt got an error message. On April 19th I tried again and got another error message.
It’s been four years since we parted ways. couldn’t possibly be holding a grudge, right? There must really be a problem with their website, right?
Like I did four years ago, I clicked on their Member Care link and sent them a message to see why I was getting an error message. In return, I got this seemingly automated response.
Thank you for contacting us at

While we review your submission, we’ve included some general information below about how can help you find the perfect caregiver.

How does work? is a self-service website where you can find and screen local caregivers and service providers.  With your membership, you can post a job, browse through providers, and contact your preferred candidates when you are ready to begin the screening process.  By accessing background checks, reference checks, and member reviews, you gain a greater sense of the experience and qualifications of your emerging candidates.  The general steps include:
·      Browse caregivers by zip code or post a job to generate applicants for your position
·      Check references and read reviews from other members and previous employers
·      Run background checks and view other safety verifications
·      Narrow down your top candidates for interviews, and hire with confidence
What’s included in the Safety Center?
The Safety Center offers safety and hiring guides, frequently asked questions, detailed information about our background checks, and other safety articles for your perusal.  These resources help you take full advantage of the screening tools available with your membership, and to make the most informed decisions throughout your search.  If you have any further questions or concerns, you may also browse our Help section.

We hope this helps, and if your specific question was not addressed in this message, we will do our best to respond within 24 hours.
The déjà vu was getting stronger every hour I waited for an answer. By the evening of April 19th my impatience got the best of me and I sent a Facebook message, asking why I was getting error messages upon trying to open an account, and this is what they had to say…
Jane, after researching this issue, we found that you previously had an account that was closed by
Pursuant to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, is not required to release the specific details as to why an account has been closed.
As a membership-based online community, reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove a member's membership for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. If we terminate your registration, we have no obligation to notify you of the reason, if any, for your termination.
There was no error. is still denying my membership for reasons unknown to me. Is this acceptable behavior for a multimillion-dollar company that does business in over a dozen countries? Where is the Customer Service? Where is the compassion? Most importantly, where is the CARE?

If I violated’s membership rules, it was absolutely an accident or misunderstanding. I feel I deserve a fair trial, so to speak, before I’m handed a lifetime sentence. Instead, their cowardly method of handling this situation will always make me wonder if there are aspects of my life that I need to hide in order to find the kind of care that I need to live in my own home and community.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Affordable Care Act Helped Us

On behalf of UHCAN Ohio, I am collecting stories from real people who are benefiting or have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act. You will only be identified by your first name and last initial when your story is published. 

I am an experienced Blogger and healthcare advocate who will convey your story with the utmost respect and dignity. Please send your story to me at:

Please indicate if you would like me to mail you a release form, for permission to use your story, or email you the form in digital format. I can only use your story if I have a signed 'permission slip' from you.

Thank you for your advocacy!

Jane Hash

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Holy Toledo, Dorothy is a Drag Queen!

Every element of Saturday night was absolutely mesmerizing. My paramour and I visited the Collingwood Arts Center in Toledo, Ohio. Built in 1872, its history is almost too rich to digest. This massive architectural conglomeration has been a school, a library, and a nunnery oh my!

In addition to being a source of inspiration for artists near and far, the center also allows them access to its beautiful theater. The most recent theatrical production to come to life on its skillfully crafted stage (the reason for our visit) was, The Wizard of Odd.


This retelling of an American classic tale maintains the captivating magic of the original story. Directed by Matterz Squidling and Mackenzie Moltov, The Wizard of Odd addresses current social issues in a way that leaves audiences feeling hopeful and uplifted while also questioning, “What the flying monkeys did I just see?” With the perfect blend of sharp wit and silly puns, the script is hilariously clever.


All the characters we have loved throughout our childhood are represented and re-imagined in a way that will make you fall in love with them all over again…Toto too (Bayard Matty)! Each has a unique request of the great and powerful Wizard of Odd. So, together they make the journey by following the yellow brick road.

When this motley crew of characters finds themselves in a bit of trouble, a new friend comes along to save the day. She is the Queen of the Field Mice (Fibi Eyewalker)! After seeing the things she can do with fire in her mouth, only a fool with a death wish dare question this Queen’s power.

The belle of the ball, without a doubt, was the beloved Dorothy Gale (Pollyanna High-Gloss.) Dressed in traditional Dorothy attire, this actress/female-impersonator is full of surprises. Possessing the naïve charm we would expect, she enchants audiences with her intricate dance number and angelic vocal abilities.



Each performer’s costume was a piece of art in itself. Perhaps the two most eye catching of them all were The Wicked Witch of the West (Redrum) and Glenda the Good Witch (Madeleine Belle). These artists handcrafted their own burlesque inspired ensembles. The results are simply jaw dropping.

Aside of Dorothy’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow” at the close of the show, all the music was written and produced by Ringmaster Zeb (The Munchkin King & The Odd Head), Velvet Crayon (The Wizard of Odd), and Satori Circus (The Tin man during the Detroit performances). This includes each song performed by The Tin Man (Erik Bang), The Cowardly Lion (Titano Oddfellow), and The Scarecrow (Jelly Boy the Clown).


Without a doubt, the theatrical production of The Wizard of Odd lives up to its name. It is very odd indeed. Though there is some cringe worthy use of sharp objects and acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil caliber, the overall message is quite clear. It may not always be easy. Sometimes it can be rather scary. However, by embracing your authentic self…love wins.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jane Hash testifies before the Ohio Medical Marijuana Task Force

I have not yet figured out how to close-caption my videos and I am deeply sorry for that. In an effort to not exclude anyone from hearing what I have to say about cannabis aka marijuana, below the video is the full text of my testimony. 

The two men on the panel representing the task force are Senator Dave Burke and Senator Kenny Yuko.

Hello. My name is Jane Hash and I am a lifelong resident of northeast Ohio. As an advocate for holistic health I have had extensive training through the National Organization of Certified Natural Health Professionals as well as the School of Natural Healing in Utah. My area of specialty is the use of western medicinal plants. I’m now preparing to further my studies at the Trinity School of Natural Health so I can become a Naturopathic Doctor.

In my spare time, I’m a co-founding Director of a nonprofit organization that serves career driven adults with disabilities. In conjunction with another Ohio based organization, I train others with disabilities how to advocate for themselves and for each other, as a team. I’ve also been known to do some motivational speaking at the Richland Correctional Institute.

My seemingly shameless display of self-promotion comes with a purpose. I want you to understand that the reason I am able to accomplish these goals and be a contributing member of our community is because I use Cannabis 1 to 3 times a day…every day.

I was born with a connective tissue disorder called, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). While this condition affects the entire body, the most significant symptom is fragile bones. I had my first few fractures before I was born. From birth until puberty, I had at least one fracture at all times. After puberty, my fracture frequency began to decline dramatically. By my late teens I had endured 200 broken bones.

Generally, I find complaining to be both a waste of energy and a cheap way to gain attention or pity. However, I also believe that I have held back way too much for way too long.

Using the 0 to 10-pain scale, I know nothing less than a 3, which is defined as “Pain is noticeable and distracting, however, you can get used to it and adapt.” In the winter my pain level does not go below a 7, which is defined as “Severe pain that dominates your senses and significantly limits your ability to perform normal daily activities or maintain social relationships.  Interferes with sleep.”

My body has never responded favorably to pain medication. More than once opiates almost stopped my heart. When I was an infant and had 26 fractures at the same time, the medical community had zero non-life threatening solutions to offer. I spent my first two weeks screaming in pain.

Out of desperation to relieve my suffering my Mother put shots of brandy in my baby bottle. This at least brought me much needed sleep. With alcoholism on both sides of my family, that was not the optimal course of action to take but desperate parents will do anything to relieve their child’s pain. By the time I reached adulthood I was using alcohol to manage my physical pain caused by OI and the emotional pain caused by my life circumstances at the time.

I was becoming an obese, violent, black out drunk…with fragile bones. I will never know the details of how it happened but I awoke from my last black out with fractures and torn ligaments. I knew that I had to stop drinking or I was going to die. That is when I turned to cannabis.

I have always known about cannabis but I did not always have accurate information about it. I didn’t know it can relieve pain and I thought it had to be smoked. Since the leading cause of death among those with OI is respiratory failure, I don’t want to smoke anything.

For the first two years of my relationship with cannabis, I had to figure out how to use it and how to dose it appropriately for my size, without any medical or professional support. During this time I had some scary moments but I learned that 1) the side effects of prescribed painkillers are more dangerous than an overdose of cannabis 2) it is impossible to ingest a lethal dose of cannabis 3) no matter where my pain ranks on the pain scale, a dose of cannabis brings it back down to a 3 and allows me to live my life with minimal discomfort.

When Ohio has medical cannabis available for patients like me, handing me a packet of seeds with permission to plant them will not improve my quality of life. I don’t have the physical ability to grow cannabis myself and I don’t have the space in my home to dedicate to an indoor garden. What would enhance my quality of life is to be able to go to a dispensary and purchase cannabis in an appropriate form and dosage for my body.

Furthermore, according to a report from the US Government Accountability Office earlier this month, most states are struggling to provide coordinated home care services for dual eligibles while adhering to recent US Department of Labor’s guidelines regarding what they call “companion care workers.” The revenue from medical cannabis could provide a solution to this problem by supplementing the wages of non-agency home care nurses and aides. This will require some restructuring of how home care services are currently being delivered but since the model isn’t working anyway, we need to take action to ensure the safety of Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens. Ohio is in a position to teach the rest of the country how to profit financially by being compassionate enough to provide safe and legal medical cannabis to patients who need it. Thank you.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cannabis Corporation of Ohio

As I was sitting in the square across from the West Side Market in Cleveland today, a woman with a clipboard approached me. She asked if I was a registered voter and I responded affirmatively. Then she asked if I wanted to sign her petition to legalize marijuana.

In the world of cannabis activism, I’m nowhere near as well known as someone like Willy Nelson. However, love me or hate me, cannabis activists in Ohio know who I am. The fact that she didn’t have a clue was an indication that she is not a true cannabis activist.

Our conversation continued like this…

Me: Do you represent ResponsibleOhio?

Petitioner: “No.”

Me: What organization are you petitioning for?

Petitioner: The Blue Team! (she flashed me her blue fanny pack)

Me: The Blue Team?

Petitioner: Yes

Me: Do you have any literature I could read?

Petitioner: Sure!

She reached into her blue fanny pack and pulled out a full color, glossy brochure that clearly had ResponsibleOhio’s logo all over it. I held the brochure up, pointed to the logo, and explained to her that she does represent ResponsibleOhio. She looked at it rather confused.

Not only is she not a true cannabis activist but, I am not certain that she can read.

Then I started firing questions at her about ResponsibleOhio. She had no answers. However, she did make the mistake of telling me, “If this passes, the government will provide marijuana for anyone who needs it for medical reasons.”

That was my breaking point. I heard myself shout something like, “Have you ever needed the government to provide you with any medical necessities?”

When she could no longer handle my interrogation, she finally said something honest.

Petitioner: I’m just doing this for the money.

Her response reinforces my theory that ResponsibleOhio is working toward being the cannabis corporation of Ohio.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ohio Wages War Against Disabled Citizens and Their Caregivers (part three)

Dear Representative Robert Sprague,

My name is Peggy Cooley. 

I ADAMANTLY oppose the elimination of Independent Providers (IPs).

Peggy & her daughter, Kit
I am the mother and legal guardian of my daughter, Kit, who lives with multiple special needs: Cerebral Palsy ( spastic quadriplegia, cortical blindness and a seizure disorder. Kit is on a DODD waiver and continues to live with me and her father in our home. She is a beautiful "social butterfly" and she shares her joy for life with everyone she encounters. She is currently 23 years old and participates in an active and vital adult activity day program, five days a week, along with 20 other "friends".

Kit feels safe, loved, secure and respected by her five Independent Providers, most of whom have been her caregivers for over a DECADE. These caregivers are like family to us. We love, respect and trust them to care for our child. These wonderful caregivers take Kit out in the community; including meals out at restaurants, trips to the shopping malls, out for walks in the parks, etc. Kit is also friends with other members of her caregivers families. Kit has benefitted in every aspect of her life because these caregivers are a big part of her life. I can't imagine ever losing them or of ever losing the FREEDOM TO CHOSE who works with Kit in our own home.

I can never go back to using an agency and none of Kit's providers will ever go back to working for an agency. Her caregivers worked for years at an agency for the sole purpose of providing care for Kit. I recruited, trained ( a 6 to 8 week process), and did all of the scheduling of hours. They NEVER worked for any other agency client the whole time that they were with the agency. At some point the agency cut their already low wages, became ridiculously intrusive in our home and ignored my requests that they stop taking Kit's vital signs, as there was no order from her doctor that this was necessary. The agency nurses would end up scaring Kit and then she would cry and end up biting her wrists out of frustration. I was told, incorrectly, by the agency that I would lose the ability to bill hours for the aides if I did not allow them to take vital signs. It got to be so stressful for me  that all of our caregivers agreed to go through the process of becoming Independent Providers to reduce the stress I was feeling. I gave the agency notice that this was happening and the agency (Maxim Health Care) tried to extort $5000 dollars from each of them for allegedly being in violation of a "non-solicitation agreement. My husband made a few phone calls and within 72 hours an attorney from a law firm, hired by Maxim, contacted us and his first sentence was " tell us what Maxim needs to do to make this go away."

The white paper written by the Ohio Health Transformation department  was the most disturbing document I have ever read. It was a blatant attack on the 13,000 Independent Providers and came as a total shock to me. IT SCARED ME !!!!!  I was outraged by the contents of this document and I was INSULTED that Governor Kasich and Mr. Moody could ever assume that I would be so naive and uniformed not to see through their scam.!!  This is disgusting and outrageous behavior by the Kasich administration, PLEASE stop this madness !!!  

Thank you for the opportunity to share my feelings on this issue. I pray that you and the other members on the Human Services Committee will do the right and ethical thing and have the proposal to eliminate Independent Providers removed from the budget.

Respectfully submitted,

Peggy Cooley

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ohio Wages War Against Disabled Citizens and Their Caregivers (part two)

Dear House Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services,

I am providing you with written testimony today strongly opposing Governor Kasich’s Budget Proposal for 2016-2017 to phase out Ohio’s certified Medicaid Independent Providers for several reasons. I would like to explain to you how this proposal to phase out Ohio’s Certified Medicaid Independent Providers will negatively impact myself, my family, our livelihood, our future, my developmentally disabled sister, her rights, her freedoms, her protections, her life, her future, and most importantly her health, her safety, and her happiness!

My sister is 45 years old and is developmentally disabled, she has been a recipient of the IO Waiver for 20+ years. She has had to endure a lot of pain, abuse, neglect, and inappropriate care throughout her years of being involved in Ohio’s Developmental Disabilities (DD) system, mostly at the hands of Agency Providers. We have spent those same 20+ years constantly fighting for my sister, her rights, her freedoms, her protections, her health and safety, her happiness, her future, and many times her life!

Aside from fighting a broken DD system, we have had to fight to make sure my sister received the proper medical care she deserved and required in order to stay alive. We have been by my sister’s side every single step of the way fighting for and caring for her like nobody else would ever consider doing!!!

-       When my sister had life-saving brain surgery not a single employee, house manager, or administrative staff of the agency provider came to visit my sister during her 2 month recovery process! We were there every single day, sometimes 2-3 times per day!!!
My sister has resided in and received care from many different Agency Providers/ Group Homes all of which have failed to care for her properly! There have been too many times and examples to list relating to the abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and negligent care she has received. So I will go on to explain our latest experience with the last Agency Provider she received inappropriate care from.

She spent months with this particular Agency Provider being medically neglected on a daily basis.

-       There were repeated med errors, including medications not available (as well as missing) and/or she wasn’t given her meds, as well as staff not being trained or certified to pass meds so she was forced to go without them because there was no staff available that could give her the meds she is required to take.

-       Numerous times where she was not fed for 20+ hours at a time, even though the meds she takes require her to eat on a consistently normal basis.
-       She was not taken to nor were many of her needed medical appointments scheduled, including extremely important medical issues that were repeatedly ignored (ex: biopsies for breast cancer, and brain surgery rehab).

As a family we fought the Agency Provider to provide appropriate medical care to my sister, and filed complaint after complaint after complaint with the County and State, which the County and State failed to “substantiate”, and failed to protect her in any manner at all.
-       Then as a retaliatory result of our fighting for my sister the Agency then limited/restricted our (family and guardian) communication with ALL agency staff, the house manager, and the manager on call, and required that we only be allowed to communicate with the Agency’s Director and her administrative staff, even in the event of an emergency. Those actions jeopardized my sister’s health and safety even more so than the Agency’s previous actions.
In addition to the above issues, my sister also endured months of repeated verbal and emotional abuse by the Agency Provider staff and house manager. We would remove her from the home at those times, and file MUI reports with the County Board, all of which were ignored and found to be “unsubstantiated allegations” each and every time we filed a complaint.
-       After the same Agency Provider had 3 unnecessary and inexcusable deaths of developmentally disabled individuals within their homes/ care in less than a 5 month time frame, the State finally revoked the Agency’s certification based on identical allegations (from other families) of medical neglect, verbal abuse, improper investigations/ interviews, destruction/ shredding of documentation/ evidence (by the Director of Nursing), and wrongful deaths, which were finally “substantiated” by the State. The State reinstated the Agency’s certification after 4 months once the Agency simply submitted a plan of correction.

-       This evidence I can point to as the exact reason why the State claims that abuse and fraud is more prevelant among Independent Providers. Unfortunately the State fails to even investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, or any wrongdoing of Agency Providers unless they are forced to do so after multiple deaths at the hands of that provider! Please review the following News Investigation which has documented the State’s neglect, this article also addresses the abuse and neglect of the Agency Provider with whom my sister received her care from.

As a result of the Agency’s failure to appropriately care for my sister, and the County and State’s failure to protect my sister, we removed my sister from that Agency provider on an emergency basis. Immediately I became a certified Medicaid Independent Provider through the State in order to protect my sister from neglectful and abusive Agency Providers, and the State and County who failed to protect her adequately in any manner at all.

We fought so hard to give my sister the life she deserves, the opportunity to be treated fairly, to be protected, and to be loved. I became my sister’s Independent Provider because of these above reasons. Because not another single human being, agency provider, county board, or entire DD system would fight as hard as we have to make sure she is taken care of appropriately, and has the opportunity to live the life she so rightly deserves!

Governor Kasich’s proposal to phase out Independent Providers in the State of Ohio will take away so many of the things we have fought so hard for my sister for over the last 20+ years. This proposal will force her to have to endure many more years of medical neglect, abuse, improper care, lack of care or concern, and possibly even death by being imprisoned is a system who does not care enough to fight for my sister or any of the other developmentally disabled individuals this system was meant to care for, provide for, and protect!

In addition to my concerns over my sister and her future, this proposal will eliminate the “jobs” of 13,000 up to 23,000 (DODD website list 23,804 certified IP’s as of 3/9/15) Certified Independent Providers (IP’s) in the State of Ohio.
-       That means that these providers will be forced to work for Agencies that they have worked so hard to get away from for many reasons.
o    Mostly due to the fact that Agencies don’t care about the people they are supposed to be serving, nor do they care about their employees.
o   Agencies fail to offer appropriate, adequate, or thorough training, and insist on paying the barest minimum wage possible and then offer employees the least amount of hours available in order to avoid having to pay overtime.

o   That means that a hard working provider who works for an agency would receive $15,500 (gross income) per year.
-  This equation clearly demonstrates that regardless if these IP’s are forced to work for agencies, or if they become unemployed they will ALL qualify for (and require) some form of government assistance in terms of Food, Medical, or Cash assistance in order to help support their own families. Families, meaning it will not only be the providers who qualify for and seek welfare assistance but it will be their entire family that will now be forced to receive government assistance in order to live and survive!

On top of those facts, 16,000+ DD individuals will be robbed of their supposed rights and will now be forced to receive their care through Agency Providers if they could even find an agency that is able to provide services for them.
-       Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities provider search website lists 12,387 Agency Providers currently as being certified in the State of Ohio.

o   What kind of mathematical equation demonstrates that these Agency Providers could possibly support the service needs and requirements of the 16,000+ developmentally disabled individuals who will no longer be receiving their services from Independent Providers once they are phased out of the system?
o    How could these Agency Providers ever offer the additional 41,260 DD individuals who are placed on Ohio’s waiting lists for waiver services any type of care or support in the future? This type of change or transformation to Ohio’s DD system will make the already broken system crumble and fail.

It is a fact that the real issues behind the Governor’s proposal to eliminate Independent Provider’s (IP) and to move to an Agency-Only service model is strictly based on new federal labor laws, which became effective January 2015.

-       These laws would require the State or the County to now be considered the “EMPLOYER” of the IP, which would force the State/ County to have to pay minimum wage and overtime to ALL IP’s in the State of Ohio.

-       In order to avoid those responsibilities the Governor’s proposal would create a loophole for the State by passing those strict FLSA law requirements onto Agency Providers and/ or self-directed waiver recipients and their families by making those individuals become the “EMPLOYER OF RECORD”.

-       By forcing the waiver recipient/ family of a self-directed waiver to become the “Employer of Record” in order to maintain their Free Choice of Independent Provider this means that the waiver recipient/ family would now be responsible for adhering to strict FLSA laws, and inherit the responsibility of paying minimum wage and overtime requirements, not to mention the IRS requirements of paying taxes that they must comply with also.

o    This is extremely dangerous territory for DD individuals/ families who are unaware of the actual ramifications, because there is a high probability that those individuals will end up facing severe and disastrous consequences as a result.
o   In addition, when the State caps the funding of these individuals at $40,000 per year (which is the max allowed for the SELF Waiver), and the individual requires an exceeding amount of care or even 24/7/365 care, the individual or family as the “Employer” is then going to be responsible for paying anything over that cap in order to comply with the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the federal labor laws. How will they truly be able to pay for the care they require and need?

The State has neglected to be honest, open, or transparent in any way at all regarding this proposal. The State has blamed Independent Providers as being the problem, pointing to us as fraudulent and abusive criminals as their reason to eliminate us as Medicaid Providers.
-       Independent Provider’s, waiver recipients, and families came together to inform each other of this proposal (because the State failed to inform us, or include us), and to work with several organizations in order to raise awareness regarding this proposal, and to share resources in order to speak up and have a voice that would be heard in which we strongly oppose the elimination of Ohio’s Independent Providers. Below are a few resources where you can hear our voices, our concerns, and get to know the real people that will be affected by this proposal.

-       After we, as an extremely concerned community, all united and came together to oppose this proposal, the truth came to light, and the real, honest, and transparent reasons behind this proposal were exposed. Here are portions of a news article that was published recently which revealed the truth surrounding this proposal.

o   But now, with angry families and consumer advocates questioning that rationale, a top administration official acknowledged on Friday that communication missteps were made. The state's potential liability for independent home-care workers' pay and benefits under new federal labor rules figured just as prominently as fraud in the thinking behind the plan.
o   "We got them to admit that they rolled it out incorrectly," said Gary Tonks, executive director of the ARC of Ohio. "They said the reason was fraud. The real reason is about the Fair Labor Standards Act."
o   Ohioans deserve a "forthright" discussion of the budget proposal, Tonks said. His organization represents people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, many of whom say they receive better, more-reliable care from independent providers than through home health agencies.
o   "We understand the wage issues," Tonks said. "But work with us. Most of our families who have chosen independent providers chose them because of a bad experience with an agency."
o   Administration officials wrongly used language that seemed to pit home-care agencies against independent providers, said Greg Moody, director of Kasich's Office of Health Transformation."That was not really what we're doing, and it was our mistake in how we talked about it," he said. He acknowledged that the state is responding to a new federal labor rule that says home-care workers are entitled to minimum wage, overtime and travel reimbursement.
o   And, according to the Department of Labor's guidance for implementing the rule, states could be considered a joint employer of independent home-care workers and could be responsible for that additional compensation and, possibly, benefits.  Moody said the state has not performed an analysis to determine the size of that potential liability under the new rule, which the home-care industry is fighting in court.
o   Michael Kirkman, executive director of Disability Rights Ohio, said the administration created an environment of distrust and apprehension that was unnecessary by not discussing the plan before including it in the budget.
§  "The department miscalculated the depth of feeling about this and used a justification that was superficial at best, when in fact there are much more complex issues that are really driving the conversation," Kirkman said.
§  "We've not had experience with independent providers committing fraud on the clients we've worked with and represented."  Ohio doesn't want to be in the business of employing home-care workers.
o   But, Moody said, the state wants to create more ways for consumers to be able to choose the people who care for them, including, in some cases, family members.
o   "Parents are passionate about this issue," said Adam Herman, a spokesman for the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities. "Some of their comments were heartbreaking when we read them. There's a lot of fear out there."
o   The association hasn't yet taken a position on the proposal, but it is collecting feedback from families, independent providers, agencies and others. Of more than 1,000 surveys completed by Feb. 20, respondents were overwhelmingly against the phaseout, Herman said.

I beg you to stop and understand ALL of the actual facts surrounding this proposal which will so greatly impact Ohio’s DD population in such a negative and devastating manner. I beg you to understand where the true problems of fraud and abuse lie within this system, and to fully understand that the majority of Independent Providers do not work for Agency Providers because of the facts that those Agency’s do not care enough about these individuals to actually fight for them, their rights, their freedoms, their protections, their health and safety, their happiness or their lives, instead these DD individuals are just another dollar to these Agencies.
I beg you to take your time to sit down with the Independent Providers to listen to their stories of why they became Independent Providers, and why they do not work for Agency Providers. I beg you to sit down with the developmentally disabled individuals and their families to listen to why they chose to have Independent Providers over Agency Providers, to listen to the stories of neglect, abuse, and horrors that they have been forced to experience in the hands of Agency Providers. I beg you to fully understand the entire DD system, to understand where the abuse and the fraud and the neglect really exists before making a decision that will impact thousands upon thousands of developmentally disabled individuals lives, their families, and their independent providers before deciding whether or not to agree to phase out those independent providers who care so deeply about the individuals that they serve, and that they are willing to fight so hard for!!! I beg you to fully understand the rights that the DD individuals (and community) has fought so hard to earn for these individuals, which they will only be robbed of if this proposal is approved.

I thank you kindly for taking my testimony into consideration, and listening to the voices of the people who were not included by the State in the discussion(s) relating to this proposal! Again I ask you not to approve this proposal to eliminate Ohio’s Independent Providers.


Andreah Forbes