Tonight I'm feeling beaten and battered.
I have a group home. I have run it for 24 years. Negotiations with the government never get easier. In fact they get harder. I jump thru their hoops constantly. It's part of the job. I'm licensed by the State and the County.
We all know the economy is bad. I asked for a raise 5 years ago for one of my gals. I was blessed, I got it. After 3 years of state budget cuts it is almost gone now. We have new budget cuts this year. They were to be started in July, but they were held off till September. The state government had shut down.
I get paid the month AFTER I provide the previous months service. So I will bill for September when I get home 10/8. That check will come by the end of October, depending on the billing cycle for that month. Room and board is paid by the County by the 15th of the month they are paying. What landlord would let you pay like that? Rent must be paid by the 1rst!
A week ago I received a letter stating that my pay may be cut "extra" if my gals are considered "low needs" clients. Low needs? Alzheimers and DS? Schizophrenia and developmentally disabled? No my women are high needs.
On Thursday Tom is getting the mail again from the last 2 weeks. I am dreading what our $$ cuts will be. I e-mailed the County workers, they did not respond. This stinks when we are on vacation. (Altho my mom says I never get a real vacation because I take our clients with us every where we go.) But the reality of the job never leaves, whether the women are with us or not, because that is the job, so the women are actually the fun part of everything- the State and County crud that continues while were gone just STINKS!
One year another group home provider told me- to just walk into the County and bring one of your gals (I had 3 then) that you don't mind losing and tell the County; if you don't get what you want, they can have her back. That was not an option for me- ever. I will suffer in silence before my clients ever have to suffer. There have also been budget cuts to my clients personal needs and medical care money. I now use my money to pay for these things, so their quality of life won't change. I don't feel like that makes me a better person. Just a responsible person.
So tonight as I read e-mails from the day I see that at the last minute, 14 days before JC moves in, from the County JC lives in, they want to play the "rate" game with me. They say his care is not any more difficult since his hospitalization and his last large corporate provider was paid less than what I am asking. Really??!! Then why won't his last provider take him back? Not because they want an empty bed. And every new provider requests more money than the last. It never goes down!!
None of these County/State workers live with our clients or anyone even like our clients. They just shuffle papers and dollars. They don't have a clue. And they never sympathize with the little guy. In fact there are very very few mom and pop group homes left. They don't care. I miss my friends who quit because the politics were too much. They provided excellent care.
Sometimes the bad guy wins. Sometimes life is incredibly unfair. I am not a fighter and I often ask the Lord to let me lay down, I just get so tired.
Tomorrow morning a battle I dread begins. Please pray for JC. To me this is not about us- but him. He has been lost in limbo without a home for 60 days, no fault of his own. Just politics. When did the Lord's people become politics?