Saving Money by Warehousing Disabled Kids

Federal officials slam Florida for warehousing disabled kids | McClatchy

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities or medical conditions must be housed and treated in community settings whenever possible, not in large isolated institutions as most states did in previous decades. Since the law was passed in 1990, advocates for disabled people and children have used it to shut down often squalid institutions and to move disabled and mentally ill people into their own homes or into group homes that are part of larger communities.

In recent years, however, Florida health administrators have relied upon nursing homes to house hundreds of children who could safely live at home with their parents – often at less expense to the state, advocates claim. In his letter, Perez said the state has cut millions from programs that support the parents of disabled youngsters, refused $40 million in federal dollars that would have enabled some children to stay or return home, encouraged nursing homes to house children by increasing their per diem rate – and even repealed state rules that limited the number of kids who could be housed in nursing homes with adults.

Such policies, the Justice Department says, are not only contrary to federal law, they hurt children: Housed in nursing homes that are ill-equipped to care for them, youngsters often are deprived of an education, are unable to see their own parents and siblings – many of whom live hundreds of miles away – have no ability to socialize with typically developing peers, and sometimes are forced to sit for hours in front of a television for lack of recreation or other activities.

In court pleadings, and in a statement Thursday to The Miami Herald, state health regulators say they are complying with all provisions of the landmark law. The state provides all services that are “medically necessary” to sick and disabled children – including skilled nursing care and home health aides – “up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Shelisha Coleman, a spokeswoman for the state Agency for Health Care Administration, or AHCA, which is a defendant in a 2012 lawsuit that makes the same claims as the Justice Department.

Federal officials slam Florida for warehousing disabled kids | McClatchy

What are the ethics here? The law set up a system to keep children with disabilities at home whenever possible. The state is doing something else. It’s warehousing disabled kids.

I have some experience in state politics. The nursing home industry is often a major campaign contributor to both parties. These kinds of clients bring in millions of dollars of profit. Further, if the children could have been taken care of at home then they form a lesser burden to the institutions than more severe cases – all the more reason to prefer them.

There’s big money here, not to mention the bureaucratic ease of simply processing the children into a system where monthly visits and supervision by state officials is unnecessary or routine.

I’m unimpressed and unhappy with how this is working out.

It’s cold blooded to take children who have a disability and put them in a nursing home without other children, without education and without hope. Not quite murder, but definitely not what the law provided for.

James Pilant

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{Elisabeth Sladen died yesterday.}Doctor Who Companions Profiles, Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) (via SparkyGerbil)

I was surprised by her death. I didn’t know she had cancer. I’m surprised about how much the news has upset me. You see, back when I was a teenager, the first “Dr. Who” episodes I saw were of the fourth doctor, Tom Baker and his companion, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen). She was a great actress, she brough a lot of strength to the role, playing a strong ballsy woman able to handle herself – and she looked really, really good in a pair of slacks. (I was a teenager, remember.)

This is a fan video. I thought it appropriate. For a good Sarah Jane Episode, watch Pyramids of Mars.

James Pilant

Comedian Mike DeStefano Dead

From Huffington Post

Comedian Mike DeStefano has passed away following a heart attack on Sunday Punchline Magazine reports, and it is an enormous loss for the comedy community.

I like comedians. They are free to tell us things we wouldn’t take from anyone else. They are another window on reality.  Don’t get me wrong – they can miss reality further than a rock thrown at the moon. But the good ones, they are our street philosophers.

James Pilant

Warning Strong Language – Very Strong Language – Biting, mean comedy – Tons of Racial Jokes

Another New Theme!

Wordpress Theme, Enterprise

One of my readers very kindly pointed out to me that the new theme was nice but the font was difficult to read. I looked at it and decided that she was right. So, I have a new theme with a larger font. It’s easier to read and while it is not quite as elegant as the old one, readability is more important. If you can’t read it, pretty don’t count.

James Pilant

A New Theme

Wordpress Theme

I’ve changed themes on my blog. I sometimes posted more than three times a day (one day I did nine). My previous theme was a three column and it was difficult to look at more than three articles I began to get concerned that my kind readers would only see the three posted when they visited. So, I went to a single vertical column with a list of recent posts off to the right. The theme also places my blogroll right at the top. I like that.

If you like the change or don’t the change, please let me know.

I changed it to make your blogging experience more user friendly.

James Pilant

Is It Time For Income Redistribution?

The inequality in the United States between the highest earners and the lowest is at its highest peak since just before the Great Depression. Middle class wages have stagnated for three decades. Stagnated is a kind way of saying, “You made more money over time, but inflation and changing patterns of spending ate the increase.”

The existence of the middle class is directly threatened. In a few years, there will be no middle class, only exploitable lower class peons and a well heeled upper class living in gated communities if they have not found a more comfortable home away from the riff raff, perhaps, in Singapore.

Mark Thoma, writing in The Fiscal Times, has an article called Income Redistribution: The Key to Economic Growth?

I’ve never favored redistributive policies, except to correct distortions in the distribution of income resulting from market failure, political power, bequests and other impediments to fair competition and equal opportunity. I’ve always believed that the best approach is to level the playing field so that everyone has an equal chance. If we can do that – an ideal we are far from presently – then we should accept the outcome as fair. Furthermore, under this approach, people are rewarded according to their contributions, and economic growth is likely to be highest.

But increasingly I am of the view that even if we could level the domestic playing field, it still won’t solve our wage stagnation and inequality problems. Redistribution of income appears to be the only answer.

The rest of the world has a huge supply of excess labor, and it is developing rapidly. So long as developing countries can continue to draw upon excess labor to expand economic activity, there will be little pressure for wages to rise and workers in the U.S. will continue to struggle. Until the rest of the world is more developed, or stops growing in a way that substantially alters the global pattern of production, a time that looks to be far, far away, unskilled workers in the U.S. will not get their share of economic growth.

We’ve given the market economy 40 years to solve the problem of growing inequality, and the result has been even more inequality. Markets do not appear to be able to solve this problem on their own, at least not in any reasonable time frame. Some people say education is the answer, but we have been trying to reform education for decades, yet the problems remain. The idea that a fix for education is just around the corner is wishful thinking.

Professor Thoma is a friend on Facebook and maintains a blog that he updates with great regularity. I recommend both.

James Pilant

The Ethics Sage, Steven Mintz – First Post Of The New Year!

Steven Mintz has his first post of 2011 discussing the continuing crisis in the California State Budget. This is a satirical take on the crisis.

The Demise of the Golden State
Happy New Year to all. Here’s my first blog of the New Year. It’s about my home state.

California is in a crisis. No, it’s not because Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of jail more often than a correctional officer. It’s certainly not because Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be leaving office soon. Let’s hope he won’t be back! California’s problems can be blamed on its insatiable appetite to spend regardless of available resources, the lack of a political will to say no to those who come with hat in hand to Sacramento and the overwhelming desire by legislators to do what it takes to adopt the positions necessary to insure their re-election. A cynic might say it’s also due to the desire to enrich oneself by using political influence that can be bartered to the highest bidder.

There is a saying that goes: “As California goes, …. (For the rest, click here.)

I really wanted to add some satirical flair of my own to the topic but I don’t know as much about California as I probably should. Further, for a couple of decades I have been thinking that they would fix the problem or a least try. So, I merely thank God, that I am at a relatively safe distance.

James Pilant

Does Anybody Want Their Top Ten List Of Things About 2010 Up On The Web? Comment On This Post With Your List Of Ten And I’ll Post Them!

Okay, send me your list of ten (or six or seven, whatever you got). Let me know how you want to be identified: full name, web identity, anonymous or even a picture.

Now, the caption says ten things about 2010, and that can be the best or the worst things about 2010.

You can also do it about the last decade or the 21st century.

Here let me give you a suggested set of topics –

Ten worst things about the last decade! (or best things, which would be really impressive because I can’t think of any)

Ten funniest things that happened in 2010 or the last decade.

Ten stupidest things said in 2010.

Ten worst decisions.

Ten best top ten lists.

Ten best reasons the year should end.

Use your imagination! Surprise me!

Post it as a comment on this entry. Okay?

Show me your wit!!!

James Pilant

Elias Lists The Ten Worst Things About the Holidays

This is from an ELIAS comment on my blog. It’s great, read them.
James Pilant

OK, the ten worst things about the holidays this year…
1)No Daily Show
2)Being Stuck at the airport
3)Being stuck at A DIFFERENT AIRPORT!
4)Had to buy a new phone charger…watched too much DVR with my TV Everywhere app, ran down the phone, plugged it in..and left the charger in the airport terminal
5)fruitcake, always fruitcake
6)Didn’t get Inception on Bluray
8)slipped in ice and fell, much to the amusement of all those around me
9)Still no Daily Show!!
10)that the holidays are over. Despite the stress and aggravation, I always love this time of year and am bummed when it’s over.