Friday, August 9, 2013

A Voice of Choice!

Joey was on a mission for greater independence.  Fully aware of the state’s bureaucratic hoops, he was willing to jump through them with support from Wendell Foster’s Campus (WFC) staff.  One major and unexpected hurdle took everyone by surprise.  This hurdle threatened another thing that was important to Joey:  having the case manager of his choice.

You know how it is when you want something, yet things keep getting in the way of your getting it.  Joey really wanted this move into a Supports for Community Living (SCL) house.  So much that he could taste it.  Everyone on Campus knew what Joey was doing and how badly he wanted it.  Joey talked about it all the time, sharing whatever latest news he had, and his excitement.  Everything was going along nicely until the state agency, Money Follows the Person (MFP), threw a wrench into the process.
MFP offers financial support to people with disabilities who are shifting from living in a medical facility to independent housing.  Joey needed this financial support to purchase accommodation equipment for his new home.  This unexpected hurdle occurred thanks to a recently proposed, not yet approved regulation proposal by the state SCL program preventing caseworkers employed with a service organization from managing cases of clients receiving services from the same organization.  While the intention is to eliminate conflicts of interest, this proposal did not consider Joey’s personal choice of Lindsey, a case manager with SCL.  Worse, this proposal did not give Joey a voice in deciding who he has looking out for his best interest.

Since his arrival to WFC, Joey developed an instant friendship with Lindsey.  When Joey decided to make the move into SCL, he knew he wanted Lindsey to be his case manager for a number of reasons.  Aside from feeling comfortable with her, their personalities matched, which is an important facet of our person-centered organizational culture.  Second, Lindsey was accessible to Joey for whatever he needed leading up to and after his move into SCL.  Since her office was on Campus, Joey could see her whenever he needed.   Regardless of these reasons, MFP took issue with Joey’s selection of Lindsey, given the proposed regulation.  If Joey wanted financial support from the state’s agency to get the equipment he needed to make this transition into SCL, he would need to find another off-campus case manager. 
Joey and staff got busy resolving the issue.  Wes, Centre Pointe Cottage C program director, called several agencies in the Owensboro community to schedule case manager interviews for Joey.  Out of all the calls, only one person responded to Joey’s request for interviews.  Joey met the case manager and discussed many things, including her accessibility and availability to meet with him.  He learned that at best be she would able to meet with him once a month given her client workload.  Furthermore, if Joey wanted to see her more than once a month, each visit would require permission from her employer, which was not a guarantee!  This news did not set well with him.

Joey wrote a letter to MFP expressing his concerns about his case manager situation.  He outlined his efforts to find a new case manager, and the outcome of the one interview that responded to his request.  He explained her lack of availability was not acceptable to him, and re-expressed his choice that Lindsey be his case manager.  Signed, sealed, and delivered, the state agency backed off the demand for a non-WFC case manager, and approved Joey’s request! 
The news brought Joey great relief.  He felt a sense of control over his destiny, and ultimately, his own choices.  Regulations are a part of our world; and sometimes we have to work with them to work around them.  Joey jumped through the state’s hoops, made his case to them, and won.  With this roadblock removed, Joey had access to the funds he needed to support his move into the SCL house!  Once again, it was full-speed ahead towards his “Independence Day.”

In the Next Blog Entry: The Big Move!

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  1. I'm so proud of you Joey for not giving up and going for what you wanted!!!
    - Mrs. Amy

  2. Way to go Joey! You keep your head up Bro, everything will work out as it should!

  3. What a great victory for Joey and for the continuation of WFC's mission to empower him to make this happen! I miss ya, man! Hope you don't listen to too much rap music in your soon to be SCL home :)