Saturday, March 19, 2011

Illinois Thinks Helping Delayed Children is a Part-Time Job

I'm trying to figure out Illinois State Representative Raymond Poe. It says on the Illinois General Assembly website that Mr. Poe has three children and eight grandchildren.  So I'm sure he is familiar with the feelings that parents and grandparents have when they are hoping and praying the additions to their families are born without complications and have the capacity to develop and grow normally.

But I wonder if he knows what it's like when a child is born with syndromes that prevent normal development or physical problems that require therapy. I guess none of his kids or grandkids needed any special attention or assistance as babies.

I assume that is the case because I don't know how else someone could introduce a bill regulating the state's support of early intervention therapy with the following clause:

State-approved public or private early intervention providers shall not exceed 30 billable hours per 7-day week.

There is already a shortage of qualified service providers in early intervention (probably due to the fact that the state routinely falls six months behind in payment for the services), but now they don't want to let anyone who is capable of helping these children do it as their full-time job?  So I'm trying to think of a rationale that explains the proposal of such a bill.

Maybe Mr. Poe is a big Jenny McCarthy fan and saw on the Oprah show that she had cured autism and figures these services aren't as necessary anymore. 

No. Probably not.

Maybe he is a big believer in the study by Andrew Wakefield that concluded that giving children vaccinations contributed to autism.  Maybe he didn't see that the study was debunked because it was determined Wakefield falsified data

Maybe Mr. Poe just doesn't give a damn about children.

But then if you go to his website you can see that he recently passed a bill that allows Newborn Metabolic Screenings without administrative charges or charge-backs:

“In the past, the Newborn Metabolic Screening funds have been subject to administrative charge-backs in Illinois,” said Poe. “As a result, the healths of thousands of babies have been put at unnecessary risk. To ensure that this does not happen again, I worked with the March of Dimes on this important piece of legislation to help ensure that any disorders are detected and treated early.”

Se he obviously knows how important early detection of disorders are to the health of children, but now he wants to restrict those who are qualified to help once the problems are detected?  It just doesn't make sense.

I'm sure this is being proposed as a means to close the gap in our state budget that has been left to implode on itself while Blagojevich bided his time and padded his resume for his eventual... ... bid for President... ... of the United States... HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA... excuse me.

But who is going to regulate which providers are staying within the new guidelines?  Some assistant therapists don't have their own billing numbers so they have to bill through a therapist that hires them.  Does that mean the assistant is out of luck since the main therapist isn't going to waste the 30 billable hours on an employee when they need to put food on their own table?  If not, who is going to sift through all the invoices to determine who gets what money?  Will assistants get their own billing codes?  Who will administer the rollout and management of that system?  It sounds like they'll have to add a few positions in the state government and the people who fill those positions are probably going to want a salary and I'll bet they're full-time positions. 

It seems like a whole lot of wasted effort and money on a regulation that won't end up saving the state much to begin with AND will drive even more qualified therapists into different lines of work because they can't afford to be part-timers.

I just don't get it.


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