posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 12:38 AM
With sincere sadness and genuine astonishment at the cruelty and near inhumane methodology utilized by government representatives of my beloved state
of Texas, I must report to the many who have supported our lengthy battle that we have lost. Friday afternoon the state refused to honor the needs of
its citizens, the sacrifices of many honest, hard-working caregivers, and the complete absence of wrongdoing in favor of manufactured and contrived
accusation. In so doing, the state ignored most of its own rules and regulations effectively closing the doors of the first hospice service in the
world specializing in the final days and hours of life as opposed to the traditional last six months.
Both of my parents passed away within a matter of a few months of one another, and each reluctantly accepted the perceived “indignity” at that
time of hospice care. Having grown up during the Great Depression era, to them the inability to care for themselves regardless of the severity of the
situation was a sign of weakness. My parents were neither more nor less proud than other terminally ill patients, they simply were not informed of
many rights supposedly guaranteed within the Medicare system.
So 12 years ago we began our crusade to educate hospice patients, their families, and even hospice agencies themselves by offering intensive,
end-of-life care in the home, if that is the patient’s choice. During that time we have had the unimaginable opportunity to touch literally millions
of lives across the nation through our patients, their families, their co-workers, neighborhoods, social environments, etc. When we started offering
our service we were able to find only one hospice in the country who even understood the concept of what is termed “continuous care”. Today every
hospice in every city and every state provides the benefit or the patient simply selects another agency.
Members of ATS have been incredibly indulgent of my previous rants in several forums relating to government interference and the willingness of many
overblown egos within said government to go to unconscionable extremes just to avoid being wrong. In our case, a very low-level manager made a
determination our staff must be categorized as employees when they were hired as contract, preferred to be contract, and refused to work as employees
with employee restraints and expectations. In hospice, it is more important for a caregiver to be able to decline work and take a disproportionate
amount of time away from the job at times because every one of our patients die. Without contractor status to protect them, the mental and
psychological toll understandably can be far too burdensome for many of the best nurses on the planet.
The end result was a back-dated bill for $100,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. Last Friday, we made our last ditch effort to come to
terms with a fair settlement where we could pay a portion of an obvious error, but collateral damage to our overall finance arrangements left me no
alternative other than to dismiss an office and field staff of over 100 good men and women. I was very, very ill with the flu last week which added a
good deal of insult to the injury as the manner I had to deliver the message was far from what anyone deserved. Today I found myself vilified by all
because I was unable to save jobs and fend the government wolves from the door. I did, however, uncover one final tiny, miniscule sliver of possible
salvation through begging and pleading and will receive an answer no later than tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon, but I am so defeated I cannot place
much hope in anything.
I write to you tonight as a cautionary tale. My family has nothing left as we have sacrificed all we had (but would do it again) to keep this mission
working as long as it did. In addition, all those families I mentioned, both patient and caregiver most certainly deserved better than I was able to
provide. I have learned that the government not only perceives itself as omniscient and near infallible, but will not tolerate being resisted. The
days of the little guy coming out OK with his faith in the system intact are gone for all of us here, and I felt I should warn others that you should
be wary. Common sense, ethics, morality, and even due legal process is no longer available to all.
So, God bless, thanks all those who have offered kind words throughout, and be careful out there.