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How can we survive without funding?

by Melodie Daugherty
| April 10, 2010 9:00 PM

I would like to comment on the article regarding Medicaid payments to providers. I run a certified family home. It appears I am not going to be compensated for a few months. I am pretty sure the people that made this decision will receive their paychecks. I don't know how we are expected to maintain our certified family homes without funds! I don't know how nursing facilities can be expected to operate without funds!

Last year at the end of their fiscal year, they put in writing that we would receive our checks one week late to help balance their funds. Well, it was over two weeks late (and that was with direct deposit). So, I have been planning on that being the same issue for 2010 and have saved an appropriate amount to cover a couple of weeks.

However, this year, a publication sent to providers said it'd be even longer. In an article in last week's paper, it said that TESH will have to take out a loan and pay interest to make up for their payments. Why should providers suffer for what appears to be a budgeting issue? What are we certified family homes to do? What are the nursing homes to do? Where are their funds going to come from?

This just isn't right! It's not like we can just take time off with no pay - these special folks can't live on their own, that's why they are in certified family homes or nursing homes to begin with. Many of them have nowhere else to go. Obviously, I would live in a much smaller house with a much smaller payment, and would be gainfully employed outside of the house, if there were just my husband and I. However, I have a larger home to accommodate three very special additional people who cannot live out on their own. I am responsible for every aspect of their daily lives and care for them just as I would want someone to care for a loved one of my own. It takes funds to make all of this possible. Am I just supposed to ask the bank to please excuse several months of payments because someone (who again, will undoubtedly get their paychecks) decided not to pay us for several months? Yah, like they are going to grant a request like that.

Certified Family Home Providers work hard for their compensation. This is not just an 8-5 job - it is 24/7. It is just not right that someone can just say - well, these folks and these businesses just aren't going to get paid until a date to be determined at a later time.

A couple of weeks ago, checks were not sent and we were told it was because the computers were down. Well, we had to wait an entire week for our checks. Private businesses couldn't get away with that - they would have to cut checks as soon as the computers were back up. OK - so they earned another week's interest off money that was due to be paid to others. If I don't pay a debt, there are late fees added to my bill and they far outweigh any interest I might gain from the money being in my account. Perhaps they should meet their responsibilities and then start looking at some other areas that really drain the funds. Do they come and ask providers for ideas concerning cost cutting areas?

I can think of a couple of ways that seem logical to begin reducing costs, but will not go into them here. However, if someone that can make a difference would like to hear my thoughts, please contact me. I believe Medicaid should have to meet its debt just like everyone else is supposed to do. Private person - just try not paying your taxes and see how fast someone is on you about it. (Plus fines, fees and interest.)

Is it just going to continue to be worse and worse, and longer periods of time that we are expected to go without compensation? What can I do about all of this? Apparently, nothing! I am continuing to put my trust in God for strength, perseverance and guidance as to how to survive the financial issues that working/serving without compensation bring.

Melodie Daugherty is a certified family home provider in Post Falls.

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