The issue of health care has been a hot topic of debate in this country for many years. Health care costs are skyrocketing, available services are dwindling and the public is screaming with outrage and demand for improvements to the entire health care system. While those who can speak for themselves are having no trouble voicing their upset about the current state of the nation’s health care system, there is a population that cannot always speak up. The disabled in this country are also in need of health care.
The disabled have entirely different needs from the non disabled population in addition to the regular and normal needs that are encountered by both the disabled and the non disabled. The disabled are often on government health care programs which are constantly being scrutinized, criticized and cut back due to budget constraints. This is often met with outrage by the advocates of the disabled as the disabled often need MORE health care options than the non disabled, yet they are often given less than what they need.
There are several issues when it comes to the health care options for the disabled.Whether the disabled patient is a child, teen, adult or senior citizen there are things that must be considered in order to provide them with the best possible care. Experts agree that including the disabled person in the decisions about their health care is a positive and productive step to providing that patient with the best possible care(Bricher, 2000). Whether it is hospital care, home care or outpatient care, the disabled patient has to maintain health care that will allow him or her to continue to lead a productive life within the limits of their disability.Whether discussing the best way to get the patient to the health care facility or whether or not to have Hospice come in to the home, it is important to understand the health care options that are available to the disabled population at all stages of life.
If the stages of available health care for the disabled are understood, the public and advocates for the disabled can better assist in protecting the health care stages and options for the disabled . Health care needs When it comes to the disabled it is important to understand that many times their needs are different than those who are not disabled.One of the most publicized concerns about health care options for the disabled is the right to die. In the case of Terri Shiavo, the right to die was not left up to her, but instead battled out in the courts, and the public eye between her husband and her parents. It was a classic example of why it is important to provide and protect health care options for the disabled. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the decision that was made in that case, one cannot argue about the importance of having health care stages available for the disabled in this country(Health, 2005).“Before Terri Schiavo, there was Robert Wendland in California. Both his wife and mother agreed that Mr.
Wendland was not in a persistent vegetative state, and that he had not left clear and convincing evidence of his wishes. Nevertheless, his wife argued that she should be able to remove his tube feeding anyway, and Dr. Ron Cranford was on the scene to support her.
A state statute, based on a national model health care decisions code, gave her the right to starve and dehydrate him, and forty-three bioethicists filed a friend of the court brief in agreement.Ten disability rights organizations filed against the general presumption that no one would want to live with his disabilities, being used to justify lowering constitutional protections of his life. Ultimately, the California Supreme Court agreed with us that his life could not be taken without clear and convincing evidence of his wishes(Health, 2005).
” These two cases bring to light the extreme importance of having clear cut health care stage options for the disabled who cannot always speak for themselves.Even when they can speak for themselves however, it is still important to provide them with an understanding of their health care options and stages that can impact their disability(Health, 2005). The costs of health care for the disabled is a hotly debated topic as well, but the primary concern of those who advocate for health care for the disabled is the quality and quantity of available services(Congressional, 2005). What are the stages? There are many stages of health care available to the disabled patient.Whether the disabled patient is able to care for himself or not comes into play when choosing and planning the health care path that best suits that patient’s needs. Whether the patient is a child, a teenager an adult or a senior also weighs on the decision about how best to cover the health care needs of that person.
One of the services that is offered through the health care system for the disabled is home health care(Stuckey, 2005). Often times disabled individuals would not be able to live on their own if the home health care workers were not able to come into their home.Disabled people who have terminal illnesses such as cancer can sign up for a Hospice service. Hospice provides an in home health care provider to visit the patient and the family in the home of the patient. While there the worker takes vital statistics, talks with the patient and family and determines if different medications are needed. The home health care provider in the case of the disabled and Hospice also helps prepare the family for the death of the patient. This service is provided regardless of the patient’s age or income. One of the problems with the health care system available to the disabled is the pay rate.
It is difficult for companies to retain good help when the wages are so low. “Two unions _ the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees _ say low pay is common among the 300,000 home care workers who have government contracts nationwide. The unions are trying to organize workers in Maryland and other states(Stuckey, 2005). If it weren’t for the daily visits from home health care worker Linda Davis, Donald Barnes believes he would be living in a nursing home rather than his own apartment. “She fixes me food.She makes sure I take my medicine like I’m supposed to.
She makes sure I’m bathed and have clean clothes to put on,” said Barnes, a 64-year-old stroke victim. “If I didn’t have her, I’d just be a lost soul(Stuckey, 2005). ” Davis is among 3,000 home aides working under contracts with the state of Maryland to help about 5,000 people with disabilities.
The aides are paid, at most, $50 a day(Stuckey, 2005). “Home care workers usually make minimum wage or just above minimum wage,” said Howard Croft, who oversees the national organizing campaign for SEIU(Stuckey, 2005). ” Maryland Gov.Robert Ehrlich has offered a 10 percent increase in pay in his proposed budget, but home care workers say that’s not enough. Most have had no pay increases since 1986 and receive no health benefits, sick days or retirement(Stuckey, 2005). “I’ve been working 23 years now.
I’ve seen the money go up a couple of dollars,” said Theresa Bates-Atugah, who takes care of two clients in Baltimore. She said she earns $5 to $6 an hour(Stuckey, 2005). In addition to health services the disabled often have access to other services as well. One of the services that is often offered to the disabled is the social work service.Social workers are brought in many times to oversee the care and health of the disabled client and to be sure that proper forms are filled out and applications for benefits applied for in time. A social worker acts as the liaison between the client and the health care system to be sure the services are being delivered as ordered and as needed(Abrams, 2005). Medicaid is a system that is set up to assist the disabled receive proper medical care.
The disabled who are on Medicaid carry Medicaid cards and use them whenever they receive services.The level of care and number of visits and cost for the visits is decided by several criteria requirements and handled through a social worker or ssi worker. In the effort to better facilitate the disabled some states have begun revamping their systems(Congress: http://thomas. loc. gov/). Kentucky is replacing its inconvenient, often invasive and occasionally embarrassing Medicaid cards with a lifetime credit-card sized plastic version that officials say will save money and headaches(American Association of People with Disabilities: http://www.aapd-dc. org/).
There are about 685,000 Kentuckians on Medicaid who will be receiving the card in the coming months, replacing the monthly sheets that were costly and cumbersome. The cards should help reduce some of the stigma for Medicaid patients who seek treatment, said Secretary James Holsinger of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. It should also help providers, who can use a card-reader or access the cabinet’s Web site to determine patient eligibility for Medicaid(American Association of People with Disabilities: http://www. aapd-dc.org/). Medicaid, which is financed with state and federal funds, pays for health care for the poor and disabled.
Medicaid also pays for long-term care for the elderly. Holsinger and Gov. Ernie Fletcher, during a press conference Monday to announce the initiative, said it is expected to save about $1. 3 million in postage and staff time(American Association of People with Disabilities: http://www. aapd-dc. org/). Medicaid recipients now receive monthly documentation of their eligibility. Entire families are included on the sheets of paper.
As it is, one family could end up with as many as seven different Medicaid cards for the various facets of coverage. And they are not really cards at all, but ordinary sheets of paper with about a third of each sheet color-coded to reflect coverage(American Association of People with Disabilities: http://www. aapd-dc. org/). The information on the sheets included all the family members, causing an array of problems all by itself, Holsinger said. The sheets also displayed numerous items of personal and medical information about all the eligible family members.The information on the new cards is contained on magnetic strips.
About 100,000 of the cards are already in the hands of Medicaid recipients in Fayette and Clay counties. Jefferson County Medicaid patients, except those in the Passport program, will get theirs in April. About 258,000 patients in eastern and Northern Kentucky will follow in May with the remaining patients in western and southern Kentucky to follow in June(American Association of People with Disabilities: http://www.
aapd-dc. org/).“On the heels of a pivotal Senate vote calling for no budget cuts to the Medicaid program, congressional Republicans have escaped Washington for a two-week recess-only to find the pressure on at home. Governors, consumer advocates, medical providers, and other groups are making a fuss at town hall meetings and contacting lawmakers to urge them to protect federal Medicaid funding. When Congress returns to work the two chambers will launch a conference committee to try to iron out their differences on the fiscal 2006 budget resolution.On March 17, the House approved Medicaid cuts of up to $20 billion over five years as part of its budget resolution, but the Senate passed a controversial amendment stripping out all Medicaid cuts from its version(Weber, 2005). The congressional action followed President Bush’s call in his February budget proposal for spending $44.
6 billion less over the next 10 years on Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled(Weber, 2005).”We’re using the recess to get as much contact with members as possible about the importance of the Senate position prevailing in conference,” Ron Pollack, executive director of the consumer group Families USA, said in a March 22 interview. “We are trying to make sure various groups we’re working with go to town hall meetings that senators are organizing-and making sure their voices are heard(Weber, 2005). ” The federal government cannot abandon its responsibility to the states in helping provide health care for the low-income and uninsured Americans,” Snowe said in a March 17 statement.
“Finding workable solutions on the financial sustainability of Medicaid will take time, expertise, and bipartisan consensus, and are more appropriately the province of a bipartisan Medicaid commission than a budget debate(Weber, 2005). CONCLUSION The health care options and services for the disabled are varied from state to state but have a general commonality in many areas. The disabled are entitled to several services that involve social workers and others who are on the team to insure that the disabled patient receives proper care.
Among the services that are available to the disabled are hospice, Medicaid and social services.The services and stages available to them depend on their condition, their need and often times their finances. Bibliography : HEALTH CARE DECISIONS FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT CARE FOR:DIANE COLEMAN THEMSELVES. Congressional Testimony; 4/19/2005 Congressional Testimony. 04-19-2005 LONG TERM HEALTH CARE:MARK R.
MEINERS Congressional Testimony; 4/19/2005 Congressional Testimony 04-19-2005 Health Care Aides Seek Better Compensation AP Online; 4/8/2005; TOM STUCKEY, Associated Press Writer AP Online 04-08-2005 Congress Takes a Look at Disabled RightsAP Online; 3/28/2005; JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer AP Online 03-28-2005 Dateline: WASHINGTON STATE UPDATING DESIGN OF ITS MEDICAID CARDS. (NEWS) The Kentucky Post (Covington, KY); 3/29/2005 Byline: Associated Press MEDICAID CUTS ON LIFE SUPPORT National Journal; 3/26/2005; Serafini, Marilyn Werber National Journal 03-26-2005 MEDICAID CUTS ON LIFE SUPPORT Byline: Serafini, Marilyn Werber Volume: 37 Number: 13 ISSN: 03604217 Publication Date: 03-26-2005 Page: 919 Section: Congress Children in the Hospital: Issues of Power and Vulnerability. Pediatric Nursing; 5/1/2000; Bricher, Gillian