News from the September 2003
REPORT CRITICIZES HOME CARE
Two U.S. senators who get heavy
campaign contributions from nursing homes ordered a General Accounting
Office audit of Medicaid waiver programs. The July report found that states
did not do enough “monitoring” of people who get services
Thomas A Scully, administrator of the federal waivers for the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services, responded that federal inspectors
should not be marching through private homes to evaluate care. We second
Since 1992, the number of Medicaid beneficiaries on waivers has tripled.
800,000 people, more than half over the age of 65, now take part in waiver
The GAO found “medical and physical neglect” in some cases,
and blamed it on the lack of basic safety and hygiene standards in homes.
Its report waved a particular red flag over state programs where people
direct their own care, hiring and training their attendants. Perhaps the
GAO sees that as “unprofessional”—exactly the point
of such programs.
YOU WANT CONTROL?
In related news, Bob Williams, once Donna Shalala’s top disability
adviser, testified in June before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
about Cash and Counseling demonstration programs. The demonstrations,
he said, “set out to provide an obvious answer to a common sense
question. Do people with disabilities want to have a great deal of control
over the quite intimate forms of help and supports possible?”
As the overwhelmingly successful demonstration programs showed, the answer
is yes. Williams warned, however, that without federal safeguards, states
would cut care to cut costs. He also warned that managing one’s
own care works best when you have a whole network of support.
THE BUS WON'T STOP FOR YOU, STOP THE BUS
Anthony Trocchia calls himself
“a reasonable person,” but even reasonable people can lose
patience when, count ’em, four public buses pass by because, drivers
say, their lifts are broken. Trocchia, president of Disabled in Action
of New York City, rolled out in front of that fourth lame bus and refused
Soon he was joined by several workers from the nearby Queens Independent
Living Center. When Green Lines, operators of the bus, volunteered to
send a “special” bus with a working lift, Trocchia said no
thanks and maintained the blockade. Soon journalists arrived.
Green Lines, transit operators on contract, may see that contract taken
over by the MTA. “This would never have happened in Manhattan,”
Trocchia said. But wherever in the U.S. it happens, “we should do
this every day until they remedy the situation.”
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