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State Of Texas Closes Unique Hospice Service The Friday Before Christmas

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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.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 12:48 AM
reply to post by samstone11

I have always prayed I would be lucky enough to have in home hospice care when it's my time to go. Thank you for doing your best to provide this service as long as were able.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 07:08 AM
I'm very sorry to hear this.
My dad passed away in September from lung cancer and we have hospice care.
My dad wanted to die at home and it allowed the whole family to be there when the time came.
I can't say enough good things about hospice.
I'd want it for myself if there were no options to prolong life with dignity.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 10:11 AM
reply to post by samstone11
This is very sad to hear! As my uncle lay dying with pancreatic cancer, he was fortunate to have home hospice care. These wonderful people made their way out to the middle of nowhere, giving their all to make my uncle-heck, the entire family-as comfortable as possible! My uncle got to be at home, surrounded by his family and friends instead of some cold, foreign hospital room or even a hospice house, which while "homey" still isn't home. Sometimes our state govt. does some stupid things, but this takes the cake!

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 01:17 PM
This isn't a rant at US healthcare.

Just want to say that over here in the UK, we do provide this sort of care - I'm certain people fall through the net, due mostl to lack of information, my step dad gets this sort of support and it's briliant.

I too am privileged to be able to work with people when they sometimes need it the most.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 01:42 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Very sorry for your loss. This is exactly what we fought so hard to preserve and were privileged to be a part of. I am told our problem began on a federal level when another uneducated and inexperienced individual passed this judgment down. If so, caring for the terminally ill in a setting of their own choosing may be a thing of the past soon. And you are absolutely right about hospice and the caregivers. I have met some of the most incredible people who ever walked the earth, and without exception they are always humble, empathetic to an extreme, and the best role models imaginable.

Good luck to you and your family, and thank you for taking the time to let me vent.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 01:54 PM
reply to post by littled16

Sorry for your loss as well.Thank you for your thoughts. As I mentioned above, the caregivers give the term “angels” an even better reputation in my opinion. I am especially glad you mentioned the issue of a cold and sterile hospital room. When my father passed away, they kept him in ICU for days meaning only a few of us could see him at any given time. Since he was in and out of consciousness, I don’t believe we all had an appropriate last full conversation with him. Also, my daughter who was ten at the time, was not allowed to see him at all until we made such a fuss they made an “exception”. She had grown up with her grandparents living in the house next door, and they gave her 15 minutes of his last four days to say goodbye.

If you are a praying person, please pray that I can somehow shake these feelings of disgust, hatred, and anger at those I believe are responsible for what has occurred. I want to believe I can be better than the opinion I have of them. If you are not a praying person, thank you for just listening.

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