Saturday, March 7, 2009

And now, we wait

At least until Monday or Tuesday. That's when the judge should rule on the AAPPD case. A ruling in our favor would prevent 0-3 programs from being cut, at least for the time being. I honestly don't know that it would be a long-term solution- the likely best case scenario that I see at the moment is allowing kids to continue services until their FOCUS dates (authorizations) end, then not renewing. Still illegal though since services can't be reduced without parental consent. I've heard mumblings about pushing the DDD through the same redesign that AzEIP went through last year. In short, each child has a team of therapists, only ONE of which he or she sees on a weekly basis; the rest are consult only. Not a good solution, and still only barely legal, as all of the IFSP's would have to be changed to reflect the change in therapies. I want to make it clear that I'm just speculating here. Right now all I know is that we may have more info on Monday, depending on the outcome of the AAPPD case.
Action steps right now are to write and file those appeal letters. Be sure to emphasize the illegality of what they are doing- an emotional appeal is great, but sadly it won't hold water with the complaint department. And spread the word. Tell everyone you can think of...use any media contacts that you may have. The more attention we draw, and the more people realize the importance of 0-3 services, the better our chances.
Sigh. That being said, we (meaning the company I work for) received a list yesterday of children who will no longer be receiving services after next Friday. There are about 90 names on it...out of around 120 kids that we serve. I haven't seen the list yet, but I'm pretty sure I know most of them since I've had parents contacting me when they received their letters. We're being told to assume that next week will be our last with most of our kids. We will likely try to keep providing services for our kids who are ALTCS eligible, but that will only be enough kids for a few of us to work part time. I'd probably be one of them, and I'm working on some other options to fill in the gaps. I've been doing respite/habilitation on the side for quite a while, so I'm looking to connect with 1-2 other families who could use 5-10 hours/week and are authorized for hab or respite. I have a few families who have asked me if I could work independently and they could pay me out of pocket. I see it as a possibility since I've done similar things before. Unfortunately I well know that most families right now don't have the means to pay out of pocket, and I hate that services will end up being limited either based on an ability to pay, or based on having good insurance. That isn't the intent of IDEA or any of the other laws that govern 0-3 services- the state is supposed to provide the services that the child needs. They're what is known as the payer of last resort, which means that they try to get insurance and everyone else to pay first, but services shouldn't be only for the wealthy. It should be for everyone who needs it. Really, EI saves money in the long run- many kids who go through EI wind up NOT needing more services once they reach school age. Anyways, there I go on that soapbox again.
Really, I'm just trying to relax this weekend and pray that some sort of miracle happens on Monday to at least buy us a bit of time. If it does then we go from there. If not, well I really don't want to think about what that means for so many families.

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