I highly recommend that you avert the eyes from this post. I have been sporting a bad attitude that has lightened the rose-colored tint to my glasses. And now all I see are the stark contrast between what (I think) things should be and what is reality.
Ok, so you are still reading. You'd better grab a handful of happy pills because right now, all I have it bleak ranting about how life is just plain unfair.
Let me start out by just saying that I work as an SLP with my local early intervention agency... and last fall, I went to a meeting where we were told that my state was implementing a new and innovative, top-of-the-line, best practices method for intervention. Enter "The Coaching Model". Last December, the first pilot program ran for the new Coaching Model and it has now been implemented. Let me just briefly digress and explain WHY this is not a good thing.
Imagine all of your therapists that your child works with. If your experience is like mine, you have your physical therapist, your beloved occupational therapist, and if you're fortunate, you cherish your speech therapist (I LOVED mine!). Then add to the mix your developmental therapist... and don't forget your service coordinator. Ok, so you have this team of therapists who help your child to reach developmental milestones. Now. The coaching model has a team of all the professionals... but instead of having 3, 4, or even 5 therapy appointments per week, one with each therapist, the coaching model involves just one (1) primary coach who has contact with the family. Your primary coach now provides ALL the therapies... so, if your Coach is an SLP, and your kiddo needs some OT or PT, then SLP will be doing therapy activities.
Now,this might be a good model for kids who are typically developing, but just have slight delays here and there. But as parent of a child with a known syndrome and multiple needs, I really feel like my child will benefit from highly trained professionals. I would not like to have my SLP do PT, or my PT doing feeding therapy. It would have been a disaster for my child... now back to my original train of thought.
At the begining of the year, my governor announced state cutbacks of approximately 6-9 percent of all budgets across the board. As a result, kids in my state who were originally receiving multiple therapies plus an additional 30 hours of developmental therapy (typical in Idaho) were reduced to a max weekly amount of 22 hours of therapy. So for many kids, their services were cut in half- after PT, OT, and SLP, there's only about 15 hours of developmental therapy time left. THis is a big deal.
Last month, the early intervention program announced that all families across the board, whether they carry insurance/medicaid or not, will have a copay. A stinking copay to cover services that our federal laws have mandated our children to receive if we so desire those services.
And this week, a letter was sent out to all families with kids with disabilties that Medicaid coverage is changing as well and families will now be paying a premium for those services as well.
In doing a little homework, I have found that many of our western states have moved in the same direction. And honestly, my head is feeling heavy and I feel emotionally drained at the notion of the winds of change that are about to befall us. As parents of children with special needs, I really feel like we are about to be dealt a hand of cards that are stacked against us in a very big way.
For me, my daughter does not currently receive SLP, OT, or PT. She is eligible for services (won't go into why she's not gettin anything right now). She is getting IBI therapy over the summer for 20 hours a week...
We haven't found out what our premium is for her Katie Beckett coverage, so this could be a big deal for us. This is her only coverage right now, since Blue Cross private insurance (where I purchase the policy) will not insure her.
So my question to you is, have you heard any changes in your area and how is it impacting you?