Apr 19, 2013 0 Share

Tangled in Red Tape

Illustration of man tangled in red tape.

It seems as though we will never be able to navigate the red tape maze which the state creates for those who need services. As of now, we have Cody’s caseworker calling me and asking me if he has been enrolled in his new program, and I have the program directors calling me and asking if he has been approved for enrollment. No one has told me anything one way or the other. And apparently, not only are the agencies not communicating with me, they are also not communicating with each other. This seems a less than optimal example of our hard-earned tax dollars at work!

Several weeks ago I had faxed paperwork from the new program for Cody’s primary care physician to fill out. It was a simple form asking for details regarding Cody’s last annual physical. I signed the consent forms and asked Cody’s doctor to please fill in answers to the questions and then fax or send the form to the new program director. But did that happen? Of course not. Roughly a week went by and I received copies of the form in the mail from Cody’s doctor’s office. Silly me. I thought that surely these were just copies for my records and they had also faxed or sent copies to the program director. However, I decided to call the program director and make sure. She hadn’t received anything from Cody’s doctor. So I faxed the records to her.

One might have thought this would be sufficient. But then I found out Cody had to have a current negative reading for tuberculosis (TB) which was not included. There was one more trip to the doctor’s office. But that I could understand. TB can be a deadly disease and it is more prevalent than many people think. So I wasn’t willing to put my son or anyone else at risk.

However, I was a bit taken aback when they also asked for vaccination records. Cody is nearly 27 years old. Some of his shots were given by his pediatrician. Some were given at school. And some were given through the county health department. And all of them were administered years ago.

Cody completed all of preschool, elementary, middle school and high school through the public school system. All public schools in Missouri require parents of students to provide vaccination records before the enrollment process can be completed. Does it not make sense to the state that Cody’s had all of his vaccinations?

I was able to get a copy of Cody’s vaccination record from his pediatrician’s office, but that only includes the shots he had during the years I took him to that particular doctor and the ones just prior. Will I have to call each of the other agencies to get copies of the shots they gave him? How long will that take?

When I worked for agencies which fell under the state’s jurisdiction, I was required to have a TB test but I didn’t have to provide my vaccination records. Does this program also require staff members to provide records of their vaccinations? They could be carriers of any of those diseases just as easily as any of those who are the recipients of their services. After all, these are not young children who are enrolled in this program. They are adults as well.

When I did receive a call from Cody’s caseworker last week she also told me that in spite of all of the information I have provided she still has not heard of any decision as to whether or not Cody has been approved for the speech evaluation and therapy sessions we have requested. So the waiting game goes on there as well.

I feel as though I have been asked to do everything just short of performing the 10 basic moves of ballet and it has gotten us nowhere. I only pray it doesn’t take an act of Congress. I would be glad to give them a dance recital if that is what they wished, but we all know Congress ceased to act on anything long ago.