This is a crazy world that we live in.
It's not fair and it's not just and it's a sad sad place at times.
My sister and brother-in-law once owned an amazing business called Seasons of Hope.
This was a facility serving the mentally ill and the developmentally delayed.
Providing speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, family and individual counseling, psychosocial rehabilitation, developmental therapy, etc....
In March of 2013, Seasons of Hope was shut down buy the Department of Health and Welfare due to charges of fraud. They received a letter stating that they could no longer see patients, that they would not be receiving checks owed to them, and that they had to pay back almost $500,000 in recoupment/fines.
They had to shut down 9 offices that day. They had to let go all of their 100+ employees. They had to turn away patients who were waiting in their offices for therapy sessions.
They were charged with ridiculous fraud charges with no warning.
They had passed every single Medicaid audit since they opened.
Medicaid gave them absolutely no warning, no hint that anything they were doing was incorrect.
If they were filing claims wrong, or storing information in an incorrect manner, nothing was ever said.
They spent countless all-nighters preparing documents for the court case. Documents that were allegedly missing or nonexistent according to Health and Welfare, documents that were actually perfectly filed away in their charts.
Once the court process began, it took 9 days of deliberation for the judge - who was appointed by Medicaid - to come to his decision.
In July 2013, he dismissed ALL charges of fraud, reinstated their provider status and reduced their fines from $500,000 to just under $100,000.
Well, the department of health and welfare appealed the judges decision.
The appeal went to none other than the director of the department of health and welfare, DICK Armstrong. Pun intended.
So now, the ruling that was determined by a judge that the department hand picked was going to be overruled and put in the hands of the director of the department... Because apparently we live in Stalingrad.
Of course, DICK ruled in favor of his office, removed seasons of hope provider status once again, and added more than $150,000 in fines/penalties.
My sister and my BIL will of course appeal this ridiculous ruling, this time at the state level.
First off.... How is it legal that Health & Welfare appealed it and then had their own director rule on it?!
That is absurd... I mean, of course the dick, I mean of course Dick is going to rule in favor of his office!!!
Second off, Dick and his buddies put an immeasurable amount of stress and anxiety on patients who are already fragile, who are already dealing with enough.
People afflicted with troubling notions of suicide, depression, Down syndrome, autism, etc were overnight without therapy, without the working, helping relationships that were 3+ years in the making!
Thirdly, they took this business that took over 10 years to get off the ground and disintegrated it in a matter of days. All 9 offices had to shut down. All employees were let go. Even if the Dick hadn't overturned it, they had lost all their clients, all their therapists and counselors, everything. The name Seasons of Hope which was once a sought after clinic was now tarred and feathered. They had no business left to reopen even if they were granted the ability to do so. Not to mention the difficulty that any administrative employee would find in their job search, having the word "fraud" attached to their resume.
Since then, SOH filed bankruptcy.
They have had to - they have been fighting this, day and night, since March, with no income and no help. They had no choice.
But they have lost so much more than a business in this fight.
My sis and BIL have 8 children. 4 of them are special needs.
Angleman syndrome, autism, learning disabled. These are not terms that are just used in their previous business, but more personally in their home.
These 4 kids were receiving therapy and counseling at SOH. They were thriving. They were learning new skills, they were given new opportunities.
Since the dismemberment of SOH I've watched them regress, I've watched them struggle with things that were once so easy and so routine. The kids are now in California and are picking up the pieces of their broken treatment plans, and are moving forward.
My two oldest nephews
My youngest nephew
My sis and the three oldest girls
The BIL himself and the baby
The last little niece :)
This is a tragedy.
It is a horrible disgrace to our society.
DICK Armstrong should have had to tell every employee that they no longer could work for SOH.
DICK should have had to tell each child that they would no longer be able to play with their therapists.
DICK should have had to tell each patient that their counseling was terminated, that they would get no closure session, no final words of help, no goodbye, nothing.
DICK will need to step off his high horse and will soon realize that he will lose, that the department is not going to win this. That this is NOT over. That Seasons of Hope still has hope, that they will not quit fighting.
And through all this, my sister and her family are hanging on.
They are making do, they are weathering this fierce storm.
All I wish is that they can have a peaceful Christmas.
That they will not worry about what will happen with this court case.
That they will be able to find an employer who will give them a chance and look past the scarlet letter F they carry with them on their job applications.
That they can just enjoy the holiday.
I wish so badly for that... And I can do so Iittle to help them.
Will you please pray for my sister, my brother in law, my 3 nephews and my 5 nieces.
Please keep them in your thoughts and pray that they can have the Christmas that they oh so surely deserve.