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Showing posts from August, 2010

The Billy Williams Chair

I want to write a little bit about donations. I am prompted because a mom who I haven't heard from in a couple years stopped by my office recently and made a donation of equipment that her son used. He died a couple years ago, and the mom (in her words) was able to finally sift through some things in the basement and decided that the therapist would make good use of the items with other children and families.

I can't write about this particular situation yet because to be honest it is too raw and too recent.

Instead I want to write about The Billy Williams Chair. I can write about this chair now without crying, mostly.

Billy had a full 18 year old life before I ever met him for his final year or so. He was a high school student, a singer in the chorus, a big brother, and so much more. Unfortunately, when I met him he was stuck in a hospital bed in a pediatric intensive care unit for most of his time. Billy had transposition of the great arteries, which means that the import…

The erosion of special education services in New York State

Money is tight and the new method for getting budgets passed in the NY State capital is to cram everything into emergency budget extensions that the public never gets to see or comment on.

The other method for cost savings is to make rule and regulatory changes that have a public comment period - but it does not matter what the public says because the rules are going to be passed no matter what.

Early intervention providers saw this earlier in the year when they experienced a 10% rate reduction for most home and community based visits. This effectively limits the reimbursement to therapy providers and is driving a large number of professionals out of the delivery system. A mandatory 10% pay cut is significant, and although there were public hearings about changes to the rates and other delivery issues it really did not matter. Fewer providers means fewer services provided - which is precisely what the bureaucrats intended.

A new round of regulatory changes is on the horizon, this time…

Child health professionals need to do more to help parents

A sad story has been in the news recently about a parent who allegedly murdered her children who were diagnosed with autism. 911 tapes and other evidence indicate that the family was having difficulties coping with the diagnosis and care of these children.

Several years ago I put some thoughts together regarding efforts I wanted to make in my own private practice to support mental health of parents. I based my original ideas on Leading Health Indicators of the Healthy People 2010 project. Perhaps it is time to assess our progress and lack of progress on these indicators. I understand that Healthy People 2020 is due out this year - and we need to remember that it is not enough to just talk about how these issues are important. We need to actually DO THINGS that will help to improve the health of children and families.

Here were my thoughts on this subject five years ago. I am afraid that if this case in the news now is any indicator that we still have some work to do:

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