Pediatric Caregivers of Disabled Children Call Out Former Ohio Governor John Kasich’s ‘Unspeakable Disgrace’ Hypocrisy

 

Former Ohio Governor John Kasich is calling the treatment of illegal immigrant children at the border “an unspeakable disgrace.” In his recent CNN opinion piece, he calls the situation “America’s war on children” and demands that it be stopped.

“Most of all, the President of the United States has to be the leader here,” he writes. “There is no more urgent moral issue before him, but he’s been engaged in the partisan blame game. That’s unacceptable.”

Kasich’s view of the border and his blame for the chaos is not shared by many who have actually visited the border. While Kasich was “watching and reading” about the situation, Dr. James Dobson actually visited the border and shared a public letter about what he saw with his own eyes.

Dobson said the situation is tragic and the result of politicians wanting political pawns. “This is the system set up by a liberal Congress and judges. It is a well-known fact that President Obama’s administration established many of these unworkable policies, and Congress is steadfastly unwilling to change them… The border could be fixed, but there are very few in authority who seem to care.”

Back in Ohio, Kasich’s words about “a war on children” and an “urgent moral issue” have caused some citizens to speak out to The Ohio Star about what they say is rank hypocrisy.

“Kasich likes to talk a good talk about taking care of ‘the least of these,’ but look at what he’s done to the ‘the least of these’ in Ohio,” shared one woman who had served on a Development Disabilities (DD) Board for 12 years.

“When John Kasich brought Medicaid Expansion to our state, it wasn’t for everyone. In fact some of the most vulnerable lost their services – medically fragile disabled children,” she exclaimed.

Others involved with the DD Board shared their stories, but few were willing to go on the record fearing retribution.

“Private Duty Nursing services were taken away and no one developed workable alternatives before just removing nurses and replacing them with unqualified, unskilled caregivers,” shared one official who wanted to remain unnamed. “Parents had to quit work or change jobs to ensure their children would get the care they need. Many went to friends and asked them to take the required training to become caregivers. And most families appealed to the state, only to get another few months of services, if they were fortunate, before losing them all over again. And as the money was cut, the supply of providers diminished.”

All the parents and officials blame Kasich and his former Medicaid Director, John McCarthy. “He was a DC hatchet man, known for cutting programs and expenses,” shared one grandparent. A program, Lean Ohio, was created and used as an excuse for taking nursing care away from the severely disabled.

One parent who was willing to go on the record is Cindy Carpenter, a Commissioner in Butler County. Her disabled daughter lost her Private Duty Nursing (PDN) services and she has been fighting for them in court ever since.

“The state had been cutting back for years,” Carpenter said. “But under Kasich then went from ‘lower’ to ‘zero’.

Her daughter has a degenerative brain disorder – no hope of improvement; it’s terminal. Yet a ‘nurse’ said the reason she was losing services was “medical improvement.”

Carpenter visited the Medicaid offices numerous times to try to get back her daughter’s nursing care and was told, “We have to cut costs because of Medicaid Expansion. The governor directed us to cut costs in this [PDN] department.”

The repercussions have been severe. In addition to marriages destroyed, jobs lost, children injured by inadequately trained aides, one tragedy stands out. A Butler County mom known by Commissioner Carpenter took her disabled daughter’s life and then took her own after losing the only help she had.

One grandparent shared that an aide, who’d requested to leave early one day, was told no. The aide then claimed to have witnessed a seizure and called 911. A nurse would have known the child with Rett Syndrome was not seizing. But the 10-year-old, non-verbal, immobile child was hoisted into an Emergency Squad, alone, and driven half an hour from home to Children’s Hospital. When she arrived, the emergency personnel working on her found a red ink pen in her diaper, but no seizure had occurred.

And there were other stories. Cindy Carpenter shared that one of her fellow parents sent her child to her father’s for his visitation weekend. The family no longer had PDN services. The child had a seizure in the middle of the night, when a private duty nurse would have been on watch, and because the father caught the episode too late, the child regressed 5 years medically and developmentally.

Carpenter’s own daughter was diapered and dressed by aide when she was unconscious. Rather than inform her mother that there was a medical problem, the aide acted as if everything was normal. After getting her completely ready for the day, the aide informed Cindy that something was wrong. By the time they arrived at the hospital, her organs had already begun shutting down and she had kidney damage.

A complaint has been filed by Carpenter with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights in Chicago. They are currently investigating Ohio’s Department of Medicaid. She urged others who have lost their life-sustaining PDN services to join her by contacting the Civil Rights office at:

https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/filing-a-complaint/index.html

“Who exactly are ‘the least of these‘?” the former Developmental Disabilities Board member asked. “Are they the people who can’t vote? Is that why the disabled lost government services but voting aged people received them instead? That is an ‘unspeakable disgrace’.”

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to bethlearreports@gmail.com.
Photo “John Kasich” by Gage Skidmore CC2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

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