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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Frustration and Hope living Side by Side

I work for a county government in California.  My specific job?  I supervise the clerical staff that begins the process for people who are applying for Medi Cal.  We take the initial request for an application and get the process started.  Once the application is returned, we hold the application and (technically) assign them according to application date, the need for services (pregnant? long-term care? do you need expedited services?) to an eligibility worker who then processes the application (granted or denied).

I have right now over 2,000 applications in my unit.  Some are dated back as far as August of this year. I cannot assign the cases because county does not have enough workers.

The estimation is that we are going to be getting approximately 45 to 60 thousand MORE applications beginning January 1, 2014.

It takes approximately 8 weeks to train a Eligibility Worker (EW).  It is intensive and it is tough.  It requires someone who is detailed oriented, organized, computer savvy, and willing to work hard.  They have to be patient and they have to be kind.

They also have to be paid and we do not have the money to pay them.

Let's pretend, for a moment, that I could wave a magic wand and tomorrow morning there would be 150 fully trained, ready to work EW(s).  Let's say, just for skittles and giggles, that they were going to be totally dedicated to just working Medi Cal cases.

There is no place to put them.

We do not have desk space, computer set up, licenses for the Records Management System we use, telephone lines, all the infrastructure necessary for people to do their job.  We do not have anywhere to put anyone.

We need to either rent or build new work space.

We do not have the money to do get new work space.

SO...this is what we are facing:

We have NOW over 2k cases we cannot process because we don't have the people to do the work.

We cannot hire the people to work the cases because we do not have the money to hire them.

If we did have the money to hire them, and we did have the people hired, we have no place to put them.

We cannot get the necessary space because we do not have the money to purchase/rent/build that space.

I do not see how any of this is going to work.  I really don't - and I am not a Tea Party member or someone who thinks Obama was born in Nigeria or wherever people think he was born.

I do not see how this is going to work because of being a simple minded woman.

Being a simple minded woman has its advantages - when we do our own lives, we have to do things like not spend money we don't have, go places we cannot afford or otherwise live in a way that is unsustainable.  If we do, we end up on the street or living in a car or becoming an urban camper.

Now, I will tell you that I am also a woman of HOPE.

Being a Catholic, I know that God has my back and all things are possible with God.  I spent this morning reading Holy Scripture for the celebration of Mass, partaking of The Eucharist and feeling as though I am a part of something that is so powerful and so amazing...The Church will not fail.  The Church is my refuge.  Jesus Christ is my Salvation.

So,  today I have to hold tight to the Hope.  I hold tight to it because I honest to GOD have no other option.  I want to be helpful, I want to serve people....but the problem is I cannot do it right now because it is impossible.

Life is hard.  I am not going to give in to despair.  I am not going to give in to frustration.  I am going to continue to pray and hope.

Real Hope....Real Change....that is only available through Our Lord.


2 comments:

R.L. G said...

My job is technical in nature, and it is not so far off from what you describe. We are less than one deep in all areas, and are over committed on all projects. Project status meetings are “creative.” It is more of an exercise in changing perception than a true status meeting. How far can I bend this narrative until it is harmonious with the “company line?” Because if we all looked at each other across the conference room table, took off our party masks and got real, people would stare at their shoes instead of meet the other’s gaze. It is a constant struggle to do diligence and still be able to look at myself in the mirror. The only way to survive is to think of things in relative terms; how is it compared to yesterday? If I think about how it is compared to 10, 15, 20 years ago, I see something that the old guy’s that trained me for this business warned me about, lack of respect for our work and each other. Those guys were Korean and Vietnam war vets, who saw things that they hoped we would never see in our lifetimes. They assumed that we would be smart enough to hold onto what is precious after listening to the stories they brought back. We didn’t. Instead, we carved up that fat hog of experience, innovation and knowledge like it was a never-ending buffet, living off the work of others. I am only speaking for my particular industry, but I suspect it is a similar story elsewhere. We got comfortable, and began to think that the world owed us a living. In the beginning It happened in inches, but now it’s been years and miles. My personal belief is that we are going to have to get hungry, uncomfortable and moving if we want to survive this nightmare. One of the things that will propel us is hope. And how can there be hope unless we are in despair? I have faith, faith that if I am honest and hardworking that the Lord will provide what I need, no more, no less.

Leslie Klinger said...

I think that is the best we can do, Robert. It is too easy to fall into despair, to stop thinking we matter. I am holding tight to the fact that my being here has a reason and a purpose. It is not necessary that I understnand, but it is necessary I behave with grace and dignity.