Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Medicare and Medicaid for Monroe County, our government tax dollars at work.

When a person qualifies for Social Security Disability Income, the federal government issues a monthly payment to that person.  The monthly payment amount is determined by a method of qualification by means of the amount paid into Social Security, while employed.  According to information received from Social Security Disability, a person qualifies according to units/hours achieved while employed.  A person with a recoverable disability is paid the absolute minimum monthly payment with the expectation of recovery and the ability to return to work. 

My name is Julianna Evans. I write articles as the Health and Wellness Examiner for the Rochester New York Area.  I am reporting the next few statements in regards to my personal experiences with the Medicare and Medicaid benefits I qualify for, in accordance with the Department of Social Services in Monroe County.  

Understanding every case is different, the Department of Social Services in Monroe County is the go to place for assistance if you have financial difficulties because of unemployment, domestic violence, a disability, or need assistance with medical insurance coverage. 

In my case, I was a victim of domestic violence, and suffered a severe emotional breakdown caused by traumatic events that took place while married to my last husband.  I was living in Suffolk County New York at the time.  Once hospitalized because of my condition, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Depression.  I lost my job and was put into an outpatient facility for treatment.
While in treatment I was required to take various amounts of medication which made it impossible for me to function as a normal person.  I couldn’t drive, sleep without interruption, eat correctly and my mind was always in a fog type state.  I was required to ingest high doses of anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, sleeping aids, and anxiety medications.   To say I felt numb was and understatement.  

The great thing was that I was admitted to a program in Suffolk County New York that helped me immensely.  To this date I am still very grateful to the staff at the J T Mather’s Hospital.  They listened to me; they helped me to understand why I was having the problem I was having, and supported a holistic approach to my recovery.  Within six weeks, I was somewhat able to sleep better, I was eating better, and my medication doses began to decrease after my discharge into regular psychiatric follow-ups. 

At this time I was finally being approved for Social Security Disability Income, and felt positive about my recovery.  Then hurricane Sandy came and with the stalking of my soon to be ex-husband and the new friendship he acquired with my new landlord, I was headed into a tail spin of stress again.  

Again the great thing was that I was involved with the Suffolk County Coalition of Domestic Violence and because I am also the primary caretaker for my mother who suffers from Schizophrenia, the Federation of Organizations where available to help me with assistance and representation.  It seemed the fact that we were residents of Suffolk County New York was a blessing.  However, after hurricane sandy we had to move because the bungalow we rented from our slumlord, was condemned by the village and the city.  

Unfortunately our credit was very poor.  Because of our conditions we could not go into a shelter, and economic housing had a waiting list that lasted months.  I began to search on line for housing that would fit the budget of my SSDI and my mother’s SSDI. We found a very nice man in Rochester New York who had a town-home available for the winter months.  He was asking a very inexpensive amount of money to rent his town-home while he went to Florida for the winter.   My mother and I had to take it or we would be homeless.  With help from the Federation of Organizations and the Suffolk County Department of Human Services, we were able to relocate with our personal belongings to Rochester. 

The transfer to Monroe County was expected to be a normal transition.  Suffolk County reported they would be sending our records to Monroe County.  I expected I would be able to continue treatment and finally be able to find employment and continue to care for my mother. 

I explain my story to this point in attempts to help my readers understand who I am. I welcome any comments or commentary to the attempts I have made to comply with the system in Monroe County.  The purpose of this article is to bring light to some unexplained issues in regards to the current law and statues of compliance in Monroe County.

When I moved back to New York State, I was so excited to be home.  I am originally from Paterson New Jersey. However, my upbringing is mainly the Greater New York Metropolitan Area.  I do love New York, however the more I have to deal with the Department of Health and Human Services in Monroe County the more I wonder why they perform the way they do.  Therefore I share my experience in hopes to find others who have experienced some similarities. 

After the move, my mother and I settled in to prepare for the winter.  We felt really good to be away from my husband and his group of friends who found pleasure in tormenting us.  We realized we didn’t have to worry about such things anymore and this made sleeping at night possible.  With that I was able to eliminate the anti-psychotics, and the sleeping aids.  The medication I have to take for anxiety and panic attacks is now prescribed as needed.  "Life was finally worth living again", was my feelings when moving into our new temporary home in Rochester.  

I began the process of contacting Health and Human Services in Monroe County.  Immediately I learned they are extremely overwhelmed and the system had recently been changed according to a vote that happened prior to our arrival.  Life in Monroe County has been difficult due to the lack of assistance that is available to me.  I have been informed numerous times; because I am not an alcoholic or addicted on drugs, prescribed or not, I am not a priority and therefore I am put at the end of the waiting list for treatment.  The system here for mental illness is one big melting pot.  There is no separation of cases or disability.  If you are mentally disabled due to stress and/or alcohol and drug abuse, you are treated the same with the exception of your alcohol and drug habits. If you have a panic attack and call for help they will simply lock you in the psyche-ward for an undisclosed amount of time with the very visible threat of violence if you lash out in disagreement.  Yes this happened to me and no one believes you when they think you’re crazy.  My experience with this has done more harm than good.  The entire episode stemmed from a very discriminatory visit I had to make to the Department of Social Services.  By reputation, here in Rochester they are the most vicious people to have to visit if you need help.  They treat “everyone” as if there problems are their own fault. This experience, I have received from my own communications with counselors, trying to report the insistent that triggered a panic attack.  

Now that I was put in the hospital psyche-ward waiting room to be evaluated; meaning I was never admitted; I was required to follow up with my psychiatrist .  I was able to get an appointment with my therapist. I was informed I must continue with the treatment plan. I have been so desperately waiting to continue this since relocating to Rochester last November.  I have been on a waiting list to see a psychiatrist to continue treatment for the last nine months. I am still waiting today.

In the last nine months I have learned Medicaid will not pay for the treatment I need and I make too much money to qualify for government funded housing. I could not accept the conditions due to my illness and my mother’s health, anyway. My point is we have very limited resources here.  The state funded Medicare will not pay for any of the holistic treatments that have been recommend by my doctors in Suffolk County. However, if I want to take more mind altering medications, I need only place the order.  
What have I done to help myself with the options available to me?  I have registered with ACCES-VR. This is a Monroe County funded, I’ve been informed; to help me return to work as a disabled person.  To qualify I was required to complete a Philological Evaluation and an Employment Evaluation. This was good because it documented how far I have been able to recover up to this point since my diagnosis in 2011.  According to my ACCES-VR counselor, the report states, I need to continue treatment before I am ready to apply for work.  I understand I am still symptomatic, but if I start with constant medications or take some of the ones covered by Medicare, I will still not be able to work, nor will there be any progression in my healing process.  I will simply be medicated.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I have noticed by attending free support meetings with NAMI here, most mentally ill and substance abuse patients are very medicated.  They function like zombies stuck in the past with no hope for the future.  This is what the Monroe County Tax Dollars offer as treatment.  

Let me inform you, I took the initiative on my own to find a school that is a participating partner with ACCES-VR.  It is a nutrition school where I can take my classes on line from home.  I can achieve a certification as a health and wellness coach. This way if I am symptomatic, I am still okay to stay home and deal with it holistically via my own education.  My goal is to learn as much as I can about my illness and help myself without mind altering medications.  I have not been diagnosed as crazy, bipolar, schizophrenic or suffering from any violent personality disorder.  I am very rational except sometimes an anxiety fit may cause me to write or talk a little faster than usual.  No this is not an anxiety fit.   
I honestly do whatever it takes to keep myself grounded and thinking clearly.  I have found all kinds of methods to help me cope, however not being able to get the therapy or evaluations from a psychiatrist leaves me improperly monitored on my recovery.  Really how long do they think I can survive on less than 1000.00 a month?

Because I am starting my classes on September 9th I am selling my car.  I will not need it through the winter, nor will I be qualified to get to a job.  Half the time I don’t feel well driving anyway.  I really don’t leave my apartment much. Agoraphobia has been my latest side affect from my experiences with the mental health community here in Rochester. I need the money more than I need the car. To view my car for sale you can go to this link at AutoTrader.com

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Sheer Julious Network is a registered business in Monroe County and any donations will be used as capital to help me achieve my stated goals. 

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