I wanted to keep Bobby Caldwell at the top of the page so I haven't posted for the past few weeks. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
Today, however, is a good day to post because I actually have some time. I'm in a particularly happy mood today because the issue that was weighing me down since the beginning of the year--Jordan's service hours budget cut-- was finally resolved in our favor.
I hadn't mentioned it in my blog because it was too serious to discuss here and I felt any efforts made should have direct impact on the outcome. Now that it's over, I can finally "exhale"!
In brief, the State of Hawaii is experiencing a huge deficit this year and asked all Medicaid waiver recipients to take a cut of 15% in services. When I first heard of this cut I was resigned to the idea, but of course was not happy.
In the 17 years that Jordan's been receiving government assistance (DOE, DOH, etc.), we've never contested any decision regarding the aid she receives. We've just gratefully accepted any service we've been offered without the attitude of entitlement. We've heard of parents who aggressively demand more from the State than is initially offered to them. I understand their motivation and not knowing the details of each case, I should not be judging, but personally we've always had the attitude of "for the greater good". It's a debatable issue whether a parent should fight for maximum assistance from the State for their child without feeling guilt that their success may mean less funds available for others.
Long story short, the State planned to cut Jordan 66% off her authorized hours rather than 15% because her case was atypical. I would be a bad parent if I didn't ask for reconsideration because her authorized 30 hours is already 25% lower than average. Imagine having to fight just to come up to a below average level!
I won't go into the details of the hours I spent on preparation for the formal hearing held on Monday, the stress it caused me (I swear my white hair increased 15% to 66% of my hair), plus having to go to Honolulu at my own expense. In the end, it turned out that it was all for naught--the settlement proposal submitted by our attorney was accepted even before the hearing officially began. I was too happy to be mad.
I would just like to thank Lou Erteschik from Hawaii Disability Rights Center and Ellen Ching from ARC of Kauai for their invaluable help. Also I'm grateful for the support I got from individuals who signed statements and/or testified on paper on Jordan's behalf. I'm also very relieved to know that the Developmental Disabilities Division of the Department of Health are doing their best to accommodate their clients. It's a bad situation for all and just sad that the State's most vulnerable population is being subjected to these cuts.
So come on folks, the economy depends on everyone loosening their purse strings, especially those heavy purses!
Side Note: Because I finished much earlier than expected on Monday, I was four hours early for my flight back to Kauai. I assumed I could easily get on an earlier flight since I was alone because we've often done so in the past. Well guess what? Hawaiian Air is being very strict now and sending planes off with empty seats rather than give us early birds a break. This seems counter-productive to me since if they let people go earlier, it would free up later seats which still have a chance to be sold. No? Instead, they were adamant that I pay $50 to go earlier (unless I belonged to one of the elite levels of their mileage program). I suppose this is the way they get people to sign up (pay) for those levels, but I refuse and choose to just view this as a very "no Aloha" tactic! Booooo Hawaiian Airlines!!