When Non-Profits Only Care About the Money

hospital-1802679_960_720

On Facebook I shared a post about some tax changes that are being made to churches and non-profit institutions. The debate that started, made me think about my own experience working for a non-profit organization and I wanted to share a little bit of that here. For around 6 months or so, I worked for a non-profit religious hospital system. My job was to be one of the people in the emergency department who collected patient information (especially insurance information) and processed payments.

From the beginning, it was drilled into us that it was about the money. We were hounded to make sure we collected certain percentages of money from patients while they were still there in the building, whether they could afford it or not. We were encouraged to apply pressure to them to pay at least a percentage that day, regardless of their personal circumstances. Although patients could legally ask to be billed later, we were told to NEVER tell them that, and only offer that option if they brought it up first.

We were told bluntly that the hospital had to make sure to look like they were doing enough “public outreach” to keep their non-profit tax status, so when they did run public assistance programs we were told to advertise them when talking to patients. It became clear that they didn’t necessarily do programs for the poor because they CARED about them, it was so they could continue to get the tax breaks and other non-profit advantages. I heard so much negative talk there about Medicaid patients and the poor. I was also told flat out that the company was purposefully looking into opening more locations in areas where the people were more likely to pay, and closing locations where the populations were poorer.

One huge issue I had was that even when someone was brought to the ER and died, we were pressured to try to get money from their grieving relatives. More than once, those in charge actually chose not to tell family members that their loved one had passed away until AFTER we collected insurance information and copays/deductible payments. They would send us in, and we would know the family’s loved one was gone, but we were told to lie and pretend we knew nothing. This killed me to have to do. One time a lady begged me for information on her husband who was dead, and I couldn’t tell her anything. I also struggled to go up to a mother whose child has just tried to commit suicide and ask her for money. I felt like scum.

In the end, I couldn’t keep this job due to my own health issues, but I couldn’t have kept doing it with a clear conscience either.

Reasons Why I Would Commit Suicide

 

DSC08328

Kind of a downer subject today, but it is something I feel like I need to say. Please note I am not in any immediate danger, nor am I planning to hurt myself in any way. This is simply a post about WHY I would likely commit suicide if I ever did. I am sharing this in the hope that others will come to care about these issues and learn to empathize with people like me.

If I were to ever commit suicide, there are two likely scenarios why, and both have a lot to do with our often selfish American culture/government and the view that many people have that everyone should just “fend for themselves”, regardless of their actual ability to do so. I honestly cannot see myself committing suicide simply because of depression, loneliness, bipolar, Asperger’s, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or any of the myriad other struggles I face on a daily basis. I have survived those things for years and will likely continue to do so. However, if I did ever kill myself, here are the two likely culprits:

  • Lack of medical care. This is a real possibility. In our country, basic healthcare is not guaranteed to everyone like it is in most of the developed world. Were I unable to afford treatment for my conditions (especially the depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other chronic pain/illness conditions I have) I can see myself being simply unable to bear the pain for extended periods of time with no relief in sight. If you have never had a pain condition that unbearable you are extremely lucky, if you have had conditions like that, you likely understand how lack of treatment, and especially adequate pain relief, could drive you over the edge.
  • An inability to provide for myself or take care of myself without any help. Due to the many conditions mentioned above (and the associated conditions I didn’t mention), it would be extremely hard for me to provide entirely for myself. If my husband were to die and I was unable to get help for basic survival, my greatest fear of becoming homeless and penniless might indeed come true. There is a great lack of resources for many of the conditions I have, especially for Asperger’s. High-functioning is a title I semi hate because it gives people the illusion we don’t really struggle as much as lower functioning autistics or that we should be able to “fit in” with the “real world” and be entirely self-sufficient. Many of us simply can’t. We try. We fail. We fail again. And again and again… We panic. We often have ptsd and enormous amounts of social anxiety. We feel like little kids trying to “play” at being an adult. We struggle with selective mutism. We have meltdowns. We are intellectually intelligent, but often severely lacking in common sense and street smarts. We suffer sensory issues that neurotypicals can’t even imagine dealing with. Combine all that with the bipolar, and is it any wonder that half the time I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing in this world?

*Art by Maranda Russell

Right about now wishing we could change judges for our foster son…

It may not be the same everywhere, since counties and states often vary  widely in their children’s services laws, but in many counties here in Ohio,  when a judge is picked for a case, you are pretty much stuck with them.   Nobody, including the family, foster family, caseworkers, therapists or  attorneys can request a different judge.

So why is this a concern?  Well, first of all, judges often go against  the wishes of all the professionals in a case and just do whatever they  want.  For instance, even if the caseworkers, therapists and attorneys  are strictly against a child going home, the judge can ignore all of those  testimonies and send the child home right away if they wish to do  so.

This may not seem like such a big deal, but when you look more closely it  creates an alarming pattern…

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Should children’s advocates be able to request a different judge? – Dayton Adoptive Families | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/should-children-s-advocates-be-able-to-request-a-different-judge#ixzz1MlL3rw3n

Is the adoption process unnecessarily hard?

If you deal with the social service system for very long, you will no doubt start to hear complaints (and maybe even form your own) about how intrusive the system can be.  As a foster or potential adoptive parent, you will soon see and experience this firsthand.  Of course, before you can even be considered as a foster or adoptive parent you have to attend lots of classes, undergo extensive background checks, go through a lengthy home study and answer a lot of personal questions that may seem to have nothing to do with foster care or adoption. 

At first, most people don’t complain too much about this, after all, we want to make sure that children are being placed with families who are safe, sane and loving (especially considering all of the horror stories that you will see on the news about bad foster or adoptive parents).  The problem comes in when social services starts treating foster or potential adoptive parents like they are criminals or are always under suspicion. 

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Does social services make it harder than necessary to adopt? – Dayton Adoptive Families | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/does-social-services-make-it-harder-than-necessary-to-adopt?CID=examiner_alerts_article#ixzz1GcubaF8d