To The Daily Sun,
It is a fact that the state Department of Health and Human Services is overworked and understaffed. They are given an impossible — at times — task of trying to do the right thing for everyone, from food stamps to those who so desperately need them, to Medicaid also for those who so desperately need it. Unfortunately, many have frivolously taken advantage of both of these needs, and those of us who are in dire need now have to be vetted down to our fillings in our teeth and even then it takes more time after that for approval.
I have recently been diagnosed with ALS — a blow to be sure — I have had to give up my job, driving, and freedom of just being able to take my trash out without the help of friends,
I live now on my Social Security and that's it. Each month, after I pay my bills, I am $69 in the hole. This obviously leaves no money for groceries. Thank God for my friends. I don't have any prescription insurance. I don't have any long-term nursing home care insurance, and it's a given that soon I will not be able to live alone any longer. I need to be secure in the knowledge that I don't have to worry from Day 1.
The state takes way too long to "sign you up." It's been five weeks now since all this happened. Since then I have not had a real shower. The VNA considers me not eligible for their services. Why? Because of the wording of Medicare, that I am not "homebound" because I go out to physical therapy, and go do what shopping I can when someone comes over to take me out.
I cannot get any meds, should I need them, or prescription enhancements for the shower, or toilet, because I am not on Medicaid. I also, God forbid, cannot get any coverage should I end up in a nursing home.
I was told yesterday, finally, that food stamps are approved, but now the battle for Medicaid begins. I was in tears to find out that it could another few months perhaps to be qualified.
This leads me to the point of this letter.
I think there needs to be new regulations in place that expedite the benefits of a person with life-threatening diseases, or for that matter any debilitating disease, and these applications should supersede those who are applying due to unemployment, and truly that is not meant as a dig, just a comparison.
The DHHS should have new regulations stating that they move "us" up the ladder, submit our paperwork to medical as soon as they get the notification and records from our PCPs or specialists, and then the in-home assessment as soon as possible after the medical review. Hopefully this would make it easier on everyone concerned. The anxiety, depression and feeling of uselessness of a person with these diseases is horrific at best and being secure in the knowledge that help is coming fast relieves so much of that feeling.
If anyone out there reading this, knows someone who knows someone that can maybe intervene and get change started, I thank you for any effort.
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