I only get a shower about once a week.
The bed sheets get changed about twice a month.
My income is $834/month. I spend about $60/month on private-pay aides.
Because there is no one to wash the dishes, I have to spend money I don’t have on environmentally bad paper and plastic plates and utensils.
Because there is no one to cook, I have to get Meals on Wheels.
My floors have not been swept, mopped or vacuumed in months.
My tables, shelves and windowsills have not been dusted in months.
Black mold is growing in the toilet.
My houseplants are dying.
I’m too tired to get out of bed today and don’t know what to do about tomorrow.
The director of Long Term Care wants me to go into Managed Care. I don’t want to be “managed”; I want to be free to make my own choices.
The county only contracts with five of the 56 licensed home health care agencies in Onondaga County.
The only people working as home health aides in the city are from the Southside and come with “attitude.”
Aides from the surrounding towns and villages will not come into the city either because they are afraid to drive there, or perceived racism. (In a random test of aides living outside the city, they perceived the city as being as much as 75% black. Fact: it’s 28% black.)
Aides are paid about $10/hour. Neither the director nor the commissioner know what the rate used to be or how long it’s been since it was last raised.
My last aide, who only had been with me two weeks, declared me a racist based on a single statement, and walked off the job leaving dishes half washed, laundry in the washing machine and a pot boiling on the stove. Why didn’t his agency tell him to finish his shift, then come to the office to discuss it? Why did the agency terminate me instead of the aide?
The previous aide was on her cell phone all the time. When reported, her agency took no action to discipline her. When I did, she resigned from my case, stating that I was “rude.” The agency fired me instead of her.
If the rate of pay for Medicaid aides were raised, would it draw a higher class of people to the job? If there were more aides than clients, would agencies start serving their clients instead of their employees?
Or is all this because I post blogs and file complaints when the service is below the standard set by law? Am I the victim of retaliation and discrimination because I speak freely?
Are the agencies in Onondaga County afraid to take my case because they know they are providing substandard service? Or is the county only contracting with substandard agencies? Or are there no quality agencies contracting with Onondaga County because the Medicaid rate is so low that there’s no money in it?
And the commissioner of Adult and Long Term Care says he doesn’t know what to do; he really doesn’t.