In what only can be construed as an Act of God, yesterday Onondaga County reversed its decision about aides accompanying me to health care appointments.
The top three echelons in the Long Term Care Unit had decided that I could not have accompaniment because there was nothing on my Care Plan that an aide would need to do while at an appointment. They understand nothing about chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis or systemic exertion intolerance disease. Also, they made the irrational claim that I would not need assistance ‘because I was being transported by stretcher.’ That was followed by the illogical statement that I was approved for trips to the urologist for catheter change, although nothing else.
Without assistance, I was too sick to any longer travel to appointments alone, but that comes under the heading of “safety supervision” and there is no Medicaid authorization for that. I would have to go without acupuncture, medical massage and craniosacral therapy, the only methods of treatment available to me because of the damage to my immune system.
On Friday I notified the County of my intent to file for a fair hearing. I have had five fair hearings and won the last four. On Monday the nurse case manager called to schedule an appointment. On Tuesday, she and her colleague met with me and my Power of Attorney. Late Wednesday afternoon, she called to say that I’ve been approved for nine hours a week of aide accompaniment to appointments, effective today.
I do not know what factors led the County to reverse itself: Compassion? Wisdom? The grace of God? Fear of being humiliated with another loss at fair hearing? Whatever, the deed is done. I am astounded, elated and grateful.
Let the appointments resume!