Musings an Miscellania 11/17/07 | November 17, 2007

NY Times movie Critic A O Scott discusses movies about the Iraq War in a short video”column http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2007/10/26/movies/20071028_IRAQMOVIES_FEATURE.html


MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann: How to Really Support Our Troops [VIDEO]

Olbermann is the antithesis of the Faux News O’Reilly/Hannity spin cycles. http://www.alternet.org/blogs/waroniraq/68165



On the local front, it appears that much of the Interdenominational Ministers Alliance opposition to the City of Dayton’s proposed ordinance granting gays and lesbians equal protection against discrimination is driven by homophobic hysteria. Members of the alliance have ties to national church groups with strong stands against homosexuality, especially the Southern Baptist’s. I find it very troubling that an organization ostensibly geared toward fighting discrimination would employ discriminatory tactic to deny others equal protection under the law.The proposed ordinance is scheduled for discussion and a vote at the next City Commission meeting Nov 22 @6 pm. Commissioners should ignore the homophobic rantings of the local Talibanist’s and pass this legislation post haste


State may cut benefits for kids Parents fighting Medicaid limits on mental-health care/

Saturday, November 17, 2007 3:56 AM


<p>Keegan McCann, 6, walks to the car with his father, Jay, after being picked up from school at Ohio State University's Harding Hospital. Keegan, who is severely autistic, attends the school 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. five days a week.</p>


Keegan McCann, 6, walks to the car with his father, Jay, after being picked up from school at Ohio State University’s Harding Hospital. Keegan, who is severely autistic, attends the school 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. five days a week.

“Bye, Dad.”Simple words to most parents; they hear them every day.

But they were very special words to Jay McCann when he heard them for the first time recently from Keegan, his 6-year-old, severely autistic son.

“That moment felt like the day he was born,” McCann said. “I saw a rebirth of my son.”

A rule proposed by the Strickland administration has McCann and other parents concerned that their children may be deprived of the specialized services they now receive.

The administrative rule, which would limit some services eligible for Medicaid payments in an attempt to head off action from the federal government, is scheduled for a public hearing Monday before the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

McCann was among a roomful of parents, grandparents and service providers yesterday who threw a barrage of questions and complaints at a trio of state agency directors during a tense, emotional two-hour meeting at the Rhodes Tower.

The bureaucratic good intentions of Strickland’s cabinet members didn’t score points with anguished parents.

“This is my son, not yours,” shouted a tearful Tina Vetter of Columbus, mother of Murphy, 5, who suffers from autism and Down syndrome. “You have no idea what it’s like. I can’t do this by myself.

“My son is going to end up in an institution and guess who’s going to pay for that? The taxpayers!”

Strickland’s administrators — Helen Jones-Kelley of the Department of Job and Family Services, Sandra Stephenson of the Department of Mental Health and John Martin of the Department of Mental Retardation and Development Disabilities — seemed shellshocked by the emotional outpouring.

But they all agreed that the rule change is needed to prevent a potential federal crackdown over how the state uses Medicaid money for services for severely disabled kids. While federal regulators have not asked Ohio to make the change, state officials say other states with similar systems have been penalized with loss of federal aid.

Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey said the governor agrees with the rule change.

The administrators said the services in question, specialized for youngsters who are often nonverbal and aggressive, cost up to $92 an hour.

Some youngsters receive 35 to 40 hours of services per week at that rate — more than $3,000 a week.

However, the services apparently don’t meet the reimbursement criteria set up by Medicaid, which pays the lion’s share of the money.

State officials said they don’t know for sure how many children will be affected, but service providers said it could be thousands.

“We care deeply that all children in need have access to care,” Jones-Kelley said. “But we need to protect the Medicaid program we have.”

April Lott of Columbus, whose 4-year-old son has autism, said she knows 60 children who will lose services. She said her son has made great strides with treatment.

“When he can tell you he’s hungry without hitting you, that’s a wonderful thing.”

Lott wants the state to delay implementation until officials figure out how many people will be affected and how services will be replaced.

“We’re taking away services before we have a replacement,” added Kimberly Norman of Springfield, who brings her 14-year-old daughter to Columbus five days a week for treatment.

“When I look at the rule changes, it’s devastating,” said Dr. Jacqueline W. Wynn, a treatment specialist from the autism center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “It tells me that Medicaid is not interested in providing services to people with this mental illness.”

Monday’s public hearing will be at 2 p.m. in Room 806 of the Rhodes Tower.

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