Posted by: mzbitca | July 2, 2010

Indiana Medicaid Changes

I have lived in Indiana all of my life and unlike many of my friends have never felt an overwhelming desire to leave.  There are many reasons to be angry about the way things go in Indiana, most of our gov’t officials as one example.  But this new change is probably the what has made me the most disgusted about living in Indiana.

Indiana has finally, in accordance with a bill passed in 2006 that allowed states to make changes to medicaid to make it more cost effective, made the changes that they felt necessary to save them some money.

Some of the changes are good.  Most aren’t and many will have side effects that will do the exact opposite of saving money and instead funnel the costs to someplace else.

A good summary of the changes and drawbacks is here

The thing about these changes that piss me off the most is that many of their “cost-saving” ideas aim at taking services away from the chronically mentally ill.  These are the people who are most need of services that are consistent, broad and supportive.    Many programs that had previously been billable that would allow stability and hope into peoples lives are not being cut.  Community Mental Health Centers were designed as a way to stop the massive hospitalizations of those dealing with a chronic mental illness.  They were also a way to combine many types of care. A place where an individual can go to one place to have a Dr for medication,  Daily therapy, vocational help and yes a social and supportive outlet where they felt a connection and that they were being understood.  These medicaid changes work to destroy that balance.

For example: It is an unfortunate fact that those in the population dealing with chronic mental illnesses have higher rates of illness and die earlier than those that are fortunate enough to not have these illnesses.  A community mental health center can provide nurses and physicians as well as nutrition training and other skills to help mitigate that.  Thus ensuring that instead of having to attempt to find or drive all over town, many services are provided in one stop.  The same goes with training on daily tasks and having a social support group.  Most communities don’t have strong public transportation and so finding and managing rides can be difficult and sometimes impossible for those that need them most.  In many of these mental health centers a client can schedule an appointment with their dr/nurse/psychiatrist and then just walk down the hall to join in with a day treatment program, or go work in a “clubhouse” or other activity that promotes independence and skills.  However, under these new medicaid changes, certain types of activities cannot be billed in the same day.  Which means two trips which means it’s twice as hard to manage.  Also,  it is not uncommon for mental health centers to allow clients to arrive late for therapy or leave early to make appointments that are within the center, or even outside of it as they understand t’s easier to arrange rides for one day then rides for two-three seperate days.  Under these new changes a client cannot arrive even 15 minutes late for a service otherwise it will not be billable and/or they will have to be turned away.  Now clients are going to b forced to choose between drs appointments and therapy or filling prescriptions that they need.  These rules would not be an issues for someone who has a car, plenty of time, or the resources to balance things out.  However, for someone who relies on the kindness of family, friends, or minor public transportation, that often times runs at inconvenient or shot times, that time of balance is hard if not impossible to find.

Another issue:  The medicaid changes are identified to focus on a “recovery-based” model.  That sounds all well and good but this is not a cold, or even something like anxiety related to specific stressor that can be dealt with and moved on from.  These are illness that DO NOT GO AWAY.  there is not “recovery” there is learning to manage and maintain.  Instead these new changes require that after a certain amount of time in therapy has been reached a client must be discharged and cannot be entered back into services unless there is a new “crisis”.  These means that someone would have to be hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or have issues with delusions or hallucinations to the point where a professional views them as a danger to themselves and others before they are allowed back in treatment.  So they are eliminating many support groups for those that need them and then making them be kicked out of therapy which is probably their biggest support system left until their illness gets to a point where they are going through emotional hell.

Finally,  many mental health centers are looking at a loss in millions of dollars in revenue.  These are non-profit organizations which put much of their moneies back into services for the community.  It allows them to offer many different group and programs that may be a loss financially but are off set by income from medicaid and other treatments.  As centers start losing money they may have to cut back on staff which means less people to provide quality care, close down beneficial programs as an attempt to save money or do other cost saving methods that do not benefit the community or the clients.  They new strict billing rules for medicaid also make it hard for community mental health centers to employ anyone other than those with certain licenses and qualification.  However, many people with those qualifications can find better hours, better pay and more freedom working at independent agencies who won’t even take medicaid due to these new restrictions.  At times prior mental health centers were a great place for individuals to work fresh out of school to gain experience and learn about helping and giving back to the community.  Many of those people will now be unemployable as they will not be able to provide services.

So tell me again how these changes are supposed to save money?

Posted by: mzbitca | March 14, 2010

Alice In WonderLand review.

*Disclaimer: This was my first time viewing a move in Imax 3-D so it may have some effect.  It also needs to be stated that this movie is beyond white.   I don’t recall seeing a single POC at all, in both kingdoms. I wanted to clarify this because although I think the character of Alice can be a good role model for little girls I also realize that this is another situation of privilege in which many of the “good role models” always look like me and it needs to be acknowledged and held in the fore front while watching the movie.

That being said,  I enjoyed the character of Alice in Tim Burton’s reimagining of the classic tale and the journey he takes our precocious heroine on throughout the story.  The story begins with Alice being 19.  She has convinced herself that her first trip to Wonderland was all a dream and is looking at a dismal future ahead of her.  Her father has died and her mother has been forced to sell the business to his partner.  The only hope she has left is for her daughter to marry this partner’s son.  It is clear the mother is not happy about this path and she is by no means an evil mother figure that is usually prominent in Disney movies.  Instead, she is resigned to what her lot is in life and what must happen.  Alice spends the beginning of a party realizing that she is actually at her engagement party and being pressured by cousins and her sister to just marry the guy already, no matter how much you don’t like him.  His mother tries to sell her on how she must take very good care of her special boy and she catches her brother in law cheating on her sister and without missing a beat have him twist the blame on her for ruining her sister’s life if we she says something.   The entire time you can see it on Alice’s face: These people think I’m peculiar but nothing about this world makes sense either.  She is proposed too in front of the entire party but is able to make her escape to chase the white rabbit.

Alice lands in Wonderland and is confronted with characters debating whether she is the “real” Alice.  The reveal to her that she is foretold to defeat the JaberWockie and are disappointed when she claims she is dreaming and that she is not the Alice that they think she is.  It is only after a confrontation with the Mad Hatter where he tells her that she’s “lost her muchness” after she vehemently swears she cannot possibly do what they expect of her that you start to see Alice realize what her life has done to her.

Of course Alice learns to gain back her “muchness” which really means to have faith in herself and her ability and that she can do things if she believes she can. (Her example of one impossible thing involves her triumphing in battle).  She returns to her home where she turns down an engagement, negotiates a deal to continue to be a partner in her father’s business and charters a new path to achieve more than other men had ever attempted.  

It’s a simple story but it’s true.  We think about what we tell little girls.  That they can be whatever they want, we encourage their precociousness and marvel at their lack of fear. Yes they are also inundated with passive princesses and cleaning supplies designed as toys but there is something indominatable to the child’s spirit that everyone admires.  A belief that if they just try or believe than it could be true.  

That changes though as women get older.  We’re told we can have it all then are shamed for our choices.  We are told there are things we just can’t do and are constantly being told to be scared of the rapist in the bushes or under your car or in your backyard.  We are called on less in math and science we are told that whatever we do is good “for a girl” or we are used to hearing surprise in the voices of other people when we succeed at something other than women’s work.  It takes a toll and it’s not wonder that the confidence we feel as kids can be stripped away from us.  Put away such childish things, such as belief in yourself, and ignorance of a gender heirarchy that puts you at different levels of the bottom depending on your race, sexuality or trans status.  Things that have no bearing on our intelligence, skill set, etc start to be more important.  Our energy becomes something to be harnessed (sit down, sit like a lady) and we learn that ambition is a dangerous thing.  

It’s all designed to make us less and what it does is diminish our confidence in ourselves and hurts a world that depends on us and our “muchness” to make it a better place.

Last week on Feministing they posted a bit of a letter urging responsibility when dealing with adoptions of Haitian orphans in light of the earthquake and all the ways this could be detrimental to the culture of Haiti and the right of these children to be raised by family or others familiar with her culture.

In a not completely shocking turn of events, the readers of feministing were shocked that anyone would not think the adoption of children of color by those of us in the United States was anything other than the “best thing that could happen to these children”.  There were screams about slave trade and how we should be protecting the kids by taking them from their home when they may have family still alive and place them with an individual who may or may not be supportive of their culture.  

Then this happened:

The orphanage where the children were later taken said at least some of the kids have living parents, who were apparently told that the children were going on an extended holiday from the post-quake misery.

The church group’s own mission statement said it planned to spend only hours in the devastated capital, quickly identifying children without immediate families and busing them to a rented hotel in the Dominican Republic without bothering to get permission from the Haitian government.

I’ve noticed this type of reaction before, it seems that people do not seem to want to realize that in any type of multi-cultural adoption like this there is always one individual with more power and it rarely is the child who’s fate is being determined by others. I am not saying that every adoption like this is wrong or hurts the child.  But to always assume money equals better is to do a disservice to the notion of culture and the importance of growing up where people look like you, talk like you, have the same history as you.  Something maybe your average individual from America may not think of because they have not truly been an outsider.

There is this underlying argument which is: They have such a hard life, their parents can’t care for them etc etc etc.  Guess what, we have families like that right  here in America, you refer to them as Wefare babies, Welfare Queens and complain that they get unfair advantages because of affirmative action and certain types of scholarships.  If we truly wanted to help we should be helping build up Haiti in hopes that with a stronger infrastructure parents wouldn’t feel they had to give up their children to give them a good life.

Instead statements about having “good intentions” are thrown around as though because you have enough money to buy a child and can guarantee that it will be fed and kept healthy you have the right to absolve yourself of any true knowledge about colonialism or even just the types of shody adoption practices that consistently take place when doing any type of adoption across country.

Posted by: mzbitca | January 27, 2010

If you Read

Enrique Iglesias will have sex with you

true story

Posted by: mzbitca | January 23, 2010

I don’t know what’s creepier…

That this site exists or that people are actually conversing with a fake fetus like it’s their own.

Posted by: mzbitca | January 22, 2010

Blogging for Choice: Trust Women

You can be anything you want to be.  Don’t let people tell you what to do.  You can be smart and independent and make your own decisions.  

Girls all over the country are told different variations on these types of things.  Schools across the country have self-esteem workshops and healthy self-image initiatives.  Except for some of the very radical far right the concept of women having choices and power in society is something you want to tell you daughter.  Even Glenn Beck realizes there is something a little messed up about a newly elected congressman addressing his daughters who have stood by him and been supportive throughout his campaign as though the only thing that matters is that they are available. 

As girls, we are taught to dream big and that we are in control of our destinies.  However, as we mature we learn that this is not really true.  There are some things we can control but the most important of those can be taken from us: our bodies.   

I have never been pregnant, either by accident or by intention.  I have friends who have had both and they have all dealt with it in different ways.  What I can say about all of these women:  They made the right decision for themselves.  I am thankful that my friends were able to make that choice and sad for those women who don’t have the opportunity.  They don’t have the opportunity because of finances or pressure from others or from lack of knowledge or from the gov’t passing laws to set up roadblocks in their way.

Everyday women wake up and go about their lives and make decisions that affect them in small and large ways.  Some of their decisions may affect others some may not but the fact of the matter is it’s their decision to make.  Women are smart and aware and strong even when we appear dumb, out of it and weak because no one can tell a woman who she truly is and what she truly needs other than herself.  We trust women because if we didn’t we couldn’t trust ourselves or anyone.  We trust women because to not do so means hatred and control.  To not trust women means a breakdown of society. to not trust women means invalidating the experiences and feelings of over half the population.  Dr. Tiller trusted women, he trusted that they knew what was best for them and trusted that they understood what they were doing.  He trusted them with control of their bodies and their lives.

He trusted them because he saw what happened when others didn’t.  He saw the anguish on their faces after being yelled at from protesters.  He saw evidence of back alley abortions gone wrong.  He saw the fear that came from knowing that others wouldn’t understand or accept what they needed to do.  He saw the anger at being jerked around by hospitals and insurance companies and different state guidelines that were put in place because other people did not trust women.  He saw the trauma of a women who had already had her body taken away from her through rape and again through the anti-choice laws of her state. He realized that if we wanted to live in a world where all of the platitudes we tell to our young girls our true we need to do the basics: trust women with their bodies and their lives.

Posted by: mzbitca | January 21, 2010

The story of a man ready to make a connection

and of how women don’t have to be there for him.

I’m talking about “Up in the Air” with George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick.  I went to go see the movie because I’m still mildly boycotting “Avatar” and because I’ve always like George Clooney, he seems to have a good sense of humor and, although I’m willing to be proven wrong, for as much as people call him a playboy I haven’t heard him say nearly as many misogynistic things as some of the so called married family men of Hollywood.  (Sugartits, anyone).

The movie is basically about a man who loves his nomadic lifestyle and that he moves through life without much of anything by way of possessions and personal relationships.  He finds himself being moved out of his comfort zone by the possible implementation of using computers instead of face-to-face interviews (his job is to go into companies that are downsizing and help employees “transition” to their new way of life).  He is not happy with this new technology and takes it out on the young women who invented it, Natalie Keener,  by saying she doesn’t know what it’s really like.  In response, his boss makes him fly around the country with her and show her how it is to help her make the technology better.  Along the way he’s also preparing for his sister’s upcoming wedding when he hasn’t seen or really talked to them much in years.  He is also having a romantic relationship with another traveling business person who he views much like himself, Alex Goran.

Along the way he makes a connection with Natalie that felt neither fatherly nor sexual, as she confesses that she moved to his town to follow a boy and leave a good job to then later be dumped by said boy,  Clooney’s Character Ryan starts to try to bring her over to his way of thinking but slowly realizes, as the time comes for him to stop flying and remain dormant that he doesn’t know how to live any other way and he is scared for the future.  

His response is to try and make a connection, he goes to his sister’s wedding, bringing Alex and realizing that his sister chose her fiance’s uncle to walk her down the aisle instead of him and that he’s not truly a full part of the family.  He attempts to woo Alex only to realize that she is married and has another life and that she meant what she said when she wanted to have a fun and fantasy life with him and that she wasn’t just saying that to please him.   In the end,  Natalie moves on to follow her dream and Ryan is put back into the sky and traveling and he is happy again.

Read More…

Posted by: mzbitca | December 17, 2009

I promise

I will be back to blogging soon, hopefully by next week.

Until then


Posted by: mzbitca | November 20, 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance

  Today we remember those who are forced to live their life forgotten.  Those whose existence makes them a target, who are forced to live in the shadows or are forced back into them when they try to speak for themselves and their rights.  We remember those who died due to our indifference. No one is refusing the pledge of allegiance due to their lack of rights, no one is fighting to make sure Health care doesn’t unfairly control their bodies.  Today is an easy time for cis women to be a “good ally” but in reality many of us treat it the same way we always treat Transgender rights, a throw away sentence in a post to make sure we’re inclusive. A small post to say we did it.  I’m no better. I fall into the cis trap of only paying attention to what makes it into my highly filtered world.  I think about being better at trans rights but I don’t fulfil my duty.  Today I want to say I’m sorry to my transgender sisters and brothers for the pain they deal with every day and the silence they see, even on the internet ,when searching for hope that one day their lives will finally be treated with respect.  I have not challeneged enough the world I live in to make is safer for you.      RIP those who have been lost and I’m sorry for everything.

Posted by: mzbitca | November 14, 2009



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