Pod Cast Listings
Cindy Zahm works as a Targeted Case Manager for people with disabilities. She explained some of the budget issues. "It's painful to me as a Case Manager because, I know these people."
Cindy explained what a TCM does, " I coordinate and advocate for people with physical disabilities."
She works directly with assisting them in setting up services for Home and Community Based Services, specifically on the Physical Disability (PD) Waiver for Medicaid eligible individuals. This in home care makes it possible for people to stay in their own home rather than a nursing home.
Services are funded by the Kansas SRS for people using the PD waiver. " These have been available for a long time." Cindy remarked as we discussed the budget effects over the past couple of years.
Cindy explained how funding has caused a dramatic change in the services that are available. "For our customers that were already one services they received a cut in January of 2009. For example transportation to the doctor was cut, but the biggest thing was Assistive Tech."
The funds were put on hold but it has been two years so the actual effect has been that they are no longer able to get needed supplies. Supplies for mobility within the home for example are: grab bars in a bath room, shower chairs, canes, a hospital bed, wheel chair or walkers. without these items a person can become very limited in what they can accomplish for themselves.
But beyond the resources such as equipment there is a very significant impact happening in the homes that Cindy works with. Cindy visits with and screens people for the program who have perhaps had a stroke, have become disabled as a result of a car accident, or have a disability as a result of a health issue and now this program that has been there for some time is not available because of the on hold situation. A waiting list of more that 2900 people is in place and people are having to wait for more than two years for the supports they need.
"So we screen the folks and put them on a waiting list. Now that waiting list is over two years long. Out of just the Columbus office there are hundreds on the list. I personally have screened thirty-eight people, who are one the waiting list for services. Four of those people have died." She shared.
Two people were from Galena, one in Baxter Springs, and one in Chetopa. These people "Died While Waiting" for services. "It's painful to me as a Case Manager because, I know these people." She expressed. "And they have died while waiting for services that I told them were available or would be available someday. And they are not."
Good health maintenance improves a person's quality of life and increases the potential for a longer life. People live longer while using Home and Community Based services rather than going into a nursing home. "So these people have died sooner than they should have." Cindy explained.