From There to Here


As an advocate/activist, one of the things I’ve learned to do when I’m stuck is go back and follow up on all previous contacts.  On Wednesday, July 24, I was stuck.  I’d been sitting in an isolation room at Crouse for two weeks and nothing was happening.  I couldn’t get any traction anywhere, so I went back to the beginning of my list and started a review.

My first government complaint was to the NYS Justice Center.  Nothing seemed to be happening there and—even though the Iroquois kicked me out on a trumped up psychiatric charge—it was looking increasingly likely that I wouldn’t get any help from the Justice Center because I was not currently living in an Office of Mental Health residence (not for the Iroquois’ lack of desire, however).

So I moved on to the investigator at the NYS Dept. of Health nursing home Case Resolution Unit.  I reminded her that we’d last talked on Tuesday, July 9, when she said she was going to call the Iroquois on the complaint about Dr. Lockwood.

Ah, well, no, she said.  We last talked on Wednesday, July 10, when you called me from the Emergency Room.  You said Lockwood trumped up a psych charge and I said he could order a psychiatric evaluation if he wanted to and that was not a violation of anything, or subject to investigation.

Well, son of a bitch.  I’d forgotten all about that phone call because it was crazy-time in the ER with so many people coming and going, trying to figure out what was going on.

The investigator didn’t know I’d been “discharged!”

Shortly after I was admitted, someone from Crouse came and told me that she’d talked to her contact at DOH and I couldn’t challenge my discharge because I hadn’t been there for thirty days.

Well, shit.

Now, what the DOH investigator is telling me is that the thirty days is how long you have to be in residence before you qualify for a Medicaid bed-hold.  You have the right to appeal a discharge as soon as you get it, and the facility is required to give it to you the moment they decide to do it.

Well, how about that?

So the investigator asks when I got the notice of discharge or transfer.

Um, like, never, I say.

Okay, she says.  She will call the Iroquois, like, right away and have them send it to her.  Then I will have to file an appeal.

Totally righteous, I think, then get dressed, hop in my wheelchair and go visit some of my favorite Crouse administrators to tell them the good news.

Moral of this story:  Always go back and re-check your original contacts.

Somewhere along the line, someone from the Iroquois says the Transfer/Discharge Notice was in the packet that was sent with me to Crouse Hospital.  In the first place, the packet goes from the sending facility to the transportation driver to the receiving facility:  the patient never sees or touches it.  I never saw or was given a Transfer/Discharge Notice.  I ask Stevie the Wonder Power of Attorney and he says he never got it.  I ask Crouse’s director of Care Coordination.  She has a staff person go through my chart page by page:  there’s no Transfer/Discharge Notice.  The Iroquois did not notify anybody of anything.

On Thursday, July 25, the investigator calls me back and tells me that she’s gotten the discharge notice, it’s a no-go, and she’s filed an appeal.  I don’t even have to do the appeal!  When I ask the investigator for a copy, she says no, she can’t send me one.  But what she can do and has done is send the appeal to the DOH Bureau of Adjudication and she has marked it “EXPEDITE.”  Now there will be a hearing.  Soon.  No more than a week.

I am now seriously excited and happy.

And the next day, Friday, around 3:00 p.m. I get a call from Doris, the secretary to Judge Horan (sp?), head of the Bureau of Adjudication.  She says that the hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, at 11:30 a.m.  Then she calls Stevie the Wonder POA and faxes him a bunch of stuff, which he copies and brings to me on Saturday.  Eighteen days after they dumped me, I finally see the Iroquois’ Transfer/Dispatch Notice.  It says I was discharged on July 10, but it doesn’t say when the Notice was filled out.

How about “yesterday?”

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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