She lives in a memory care facility since Dad died. Her dementia is moderate - for instance she asked me at least a dozen times at lunch yesterday if she had read the birthday card I brought her!
But as you can see, Mom is a radiant, beautiful ninety years old and one of the happiest residents at her facility.
|Above all else, Mom taught integrity.|
I was raised Catholic, so perhaps this is just part of that Catholic guilt thing, but every time I visit Mom I come away with that worrisome feeling that there must be something more that I can, or should, do.
I did buy her new, state of the art, hearing aids. This made a world of difference. She can hear normal conversational levels, seems to be more alert and cognizant, and I can tell that she is much more engaged.
Mom has always been social (now you know where my extroversion comes from - double barreled genes!) and has always been a happy soul, except for the numerous times when my brother or I, or the both of us together, challenged her sense of humor with our antics ("Just wait 'till your father gets home!"). When I visit staff and other visitors at the facility always tell me how pleasant she is and how much fun she is to have around.
I can vouch for that - she never misses an opportunity to tell a joke or pull some senior prank.
For instance, recently designated incontinent, I was escorting Mom from lunch and asked if she would like to use the bathroom. She said she would, so I told her I would get a care taker to assist her. She looked at me and dead pan said, "it's easier if I just pee in my diaper."
Mom's fortunate. Dementia can be a very troublesome condition. She's lived with painful arthritis, particularly in her fingers, for the past 10 years. She frets about keeping her teeth clean (her husband after all was a dentist). And though she asked me yesterday about a dozen times whether she had already read the birthday card I brought her, she can tell some amazing stories about growing up during the Great Depression.
Despite these afflictions, though, Mom troops on through. She really doesn't seem to be too bothered by her living situation. She knows her memory isn't very good, so she jokes about it. Farting is funny to her. She makes funny faces and comments about the way others at the residence dress, act, or look.
She's obsessive compulsive and can't stand things out of place. She's always been clean. I grew up in a very clean house, and Mom is still very clean and detail oriented. That can be dangerous because if she sees something on the floor that she feels doesn't belong there she will attempt to pick it up rather than have housekeeping take care of it.
She attained a Master's degree in Art from Loyola/Marymount and she still has a fantastic eye. When the residents do art work her's always stands out.
But most of all, I'd have to say that Mom developed, retained, and taught a great sense of integrity. She has always maintained a very high sense of morality and honesty - and with her dementia she really does wear her emotions on her face; it's easy to tell what she's thinking.
Unlike the institution that's just about as old as Mom, the California Department of Industrial Relations (established 1927) seems to have lost the moral compass and does not appear to be trustworthy.
Yesterday WorkCompCentral News reported a delay in the bidding of the Independent Medical Review contract to Maximus Federal Services, Inc. because of two bid protests. Today, WCC News gets into the details of those protests, and if the allegations are correct I see no possibility to trust our government.
The investigation by Greg Jones reveals last minute notifications depriving bidders (not Maximus) of a reasonable opportunity to present their best case, leaked bid information so that Maximus can lower its bid to be more competitive with the other bidders, tweaking of the bid process to give Maximus an unfair advantage in the process, inconsistency in the application of so called objective disqualifying criteria, and a complete lack of transparency to the public for the entire procedure, including the withholding of documentation that is supposed to be public information.
The allegations raised by the protests are numerous, and very, very serious.
If these allegations are proven to be true, I'd be willing to bet that there are other serious, nefarious activities going on within the DIR and it's child, the DWC, that question the integrity of these agencies to the point, as I said yesterday, that trust is highly misplaced.
If we can not trust those in charge of a $30 billion system to do the right thing, to make sure that the system operates efficiently, fairly, and within the ethical boundaries that we all should operate within, how can anyone in the system trust anyone else?
The guiding lamp of morality and ethics seems to have dimmed. Integrity at the top is missing.
Some time ago the Los Angeles Times ran a series of stories about the shenanigans that Deloitte Consulting, LLP engaged in to win, and then exploit, computing contracts with the State of California (and other states), including the highly criticized EAMS system. Deloitte was exposed to have made some generous contributions to key people to gain favors in the contract bid process.
Perhaps Maximus, with over $1.3 billion in revenue, also has extraordinary lobbying strength (people on the street refer to that as "money") and is using it to test the integrity of of the DIR and the people that are responsible for running this system.
I don't know, but perhaps we will find out soon enough.
Regardless, the actions of the DIR as alleged by protestors, CID Management and Peer Review, is reprehensible and is a complete lack of integrity.
We run stories all the time about fraud, corporate wrong doing, people cheating, others suffering as a consequence - if CID and Peer Review are correct in their allegations we have a long, long way to go to resolve California's workers' compensation problems.
It's not about rates. It's not about doctors manipulating billing. It's not about carriers playing with premium factors. It's not about employers denying care. It's not about claimants falsifying injuries.
It IS about integrity. We can not trust our government.
Mom can't admonish, "wait 'till your father gets home," any longer. He's dead.
But trust me, she would send a steely glare in the direction of DIR if these accusation are true.
I get asked all of the time why California workers' compensation is so difficult and expensive. Just start at the top. If Mom could, she'd start the cleaning right now...
I don't think this is a Catholic guilt thing. In law we are counseled about appearances of impropriety. 'Nuff said.