Forgetting Eric's Medicaid
January 24, 2020
Spring 2007 to Summer 2010
Pills are getting more and more expensive. Families are struggling to pay for them, and SSEs that make a living impairing young children with them don't seem to like paying for them, either. There is both a health and financial cost to keeping children heavily medicated. You can step up as a parent or guardian and help the child navigate their issues, or give them pills so you can avoid them. Those issues will crop back to the surface when your child takes on the financial burden of those pills, and eventually becomes unable to afford them. Experiencing a sudden surge of suppressed emotions, they lash out like a tiger starved of meat. This "lashing out" manifests in various misdeeds depending on what emotions are repressed.
I was originally sent to Highpoint School because The Children's Village lacked the resources (and frankly, the patience) to put up with me. The efforts to break me rather than build me backfired, and they started looking at out-of-state care. I was in [#a0e74b]'s office, watching her look places up on her computer. She finally got my attention and pointed at a search result. I then asked if I'd be able to see my great-grandmother one last time. She said yes. As you recall from another story, October 21st, 2004 was the last day I saw my great-grandmother alive. The following day, my bags were packed, loaded into a minivan, and both [#a0e74b] and [#a2e67g] accompanied me on the 150-mile journey to Berkshire County. We arrived at the pillars by about 11:45 AM, October 22nd, 2004 after arriving at the wrong location at least two times.
Highpoint took the lead in making sure my needs were met. For the first few years, I was obstinate and sexually aggressive. Two thirds of the incident reports I got in the first quarter were "Yellow sheets", which were assigned to students who engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior. Contrary to taunts from my former Havens Cottage peers, this environment made mutual sex an impossibility. Cameras occupied almost every public space, staff members were in constant contact using wireless radios of their own, and head counts occurred almost every fifteen minutes. In addition, there was a high (and mostly enforced) staff-to-student ratio (typically 1 YDC per 3 students). Guess that makes where I was worse than prison, in a way.
One day, when I next in line after lining up with others for my meds, [#a5l57m] informed me that The Children's Village stopped paying my Medicaid. This was about a few weeks after the end of my med holiday. "I mean, we can't just stop medicating you, that'd be irresponsible." I said, "So now what?" She said, "We'll have to take them to court and add it to a tab." I wasn't surprised. I just didn't think CV would be this irresponsible with taxpayer funds. I brought it up with [#a3l58e] during our session, and she said "Oh, wow. So they did it to you, too? Jesus", giving me the impression that CV was playing this script multiple times over. I was NOT far removed from the fallout of this lawsuit. None of us were.
The quality of our food deteriorated to a degree (we had to change vendors, and our best cook, [#a0j37s], passed away during this) as we had to make sacrifices while the lawsuit dragged on. Certain maintenance responsibilities took longer to fulfill (like patching holes in the wall). Worse, my antics with the phone system did not help matters, with the balance sheet still reeling from the upgrade that had to be done. In addition, our campus' active population began to shrink as we were no longer able to fund new admissions. By 2009, we had to consolidate campuses. We had to merge with the male contingency of the Brookside Campus, which was a campus aimed at anger management, which was a clear contrast between Highpoint. Fights between the HP and BS factions escalated, especially between meal settings. In addition, RSVP, a physical restraint protocol, had come under state scrutiny and the campus was required to pay for TCI conversion training in order to keep our license.
Then, by mid-2010, they started bringing in instructors from other campuses to keep our peripheral classes afloat (Phys. Ed/Health, Music, Art). It wasn't until the end of that school year that I was finally told by [#a3l58e] and [#a4s57a], an AO employee who had been providing monthly updates, that Highpoint had won the lawsuit. Normally, [#a4s57a] had enough spare time to host an arts and crafts session on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, where we would make custom pillowcases, pillows and small blankets, and a few chewy cookies in between. The lawsuit took up a lot of her time, and she, like the peripheral education employees, had to put on more hats, eating up what little free time they had.
Later that year, the HP faction of the campus continued to shrink. As they hired additional clinicians to handle the growth of the BS faction, I was reassigned to [#a0r54l], who remained on my case for about fourteen months. After she left, I was returned to [#a3l58e]'s caseload. The campus needed to admit new students to Team Beta (the ASD wing) and the only way they could make room was by removing some of us from that team. Me, [#p2e90m] and [#p3j88b] were re-assigned to Team Sigma (exit wing, older students). The escalating tensions between factions resulted in localized protests from our neighbors along West Mountain Road against our school extension. The extension was eventually built. By 2011, we had sacked our principal, [#a2d48a] and librarian, [#a1b57n] (who became a YDC) because we couldn't afford to keep him. The teacher with the most seniority (which by then was our Math teacher, [#a9j65h]) became the de facto principal.
But CV was still insistent on shifting responsibility, and abused the extension process to keep me out of New York State. They had applied for another extension on August 2012, which was initially granted. However, then-program director [#a1c72r] sprung a surprise meeting on October 20 of that year, stating that he will be retroactively denying the extension previously requested by CV, and any requested extensions for New York State students. I was to leave the white pillars for the last time in 96 hours (my 22nd Birthday). Everyone was upset, but as I look back, it's only fair that CV got a taste of its own medicine. It gave me the break I desperately needed. On October 24, 2012, [#a3f49g] and [#a0p42r] had accompanied us for the 150-mile trip back to Westchester County, which also wouldn't last.
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