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

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