NOTE: I’m scheduled to be discharged from Boulder Manor in two weeks, but I’ll leave sooner if possible and be overjoyed to do so!
FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY IS A ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL . . .
(1 TIMOTHY 6:10 NIV)
By Max R. Weller
This morning, as I was sitting in the dining waiting for kitchen workers to arrive at 6AM, I saw a schizophrenic patient who has refused to take his prescribed Risperdal aimlessly walking around and talking loudly to someone who wasn’t really there; then, after I’d gotten my hot water for instant coffee (with caffeine) and returned to the area by the Nurse’s Station on my hall to wait for my room service breakfast tray, another mentally ill patient came roaming by, destination and purpose unknown, dressed in a hospital-style gown untied in back and otherwise wearing only an adult diaper; then the typical chorus of patients crying out “Help, help, help . . .” started up for the day; then one old guy apparently suffering Wet Brain began wheeling himself all over looking for his keys and wallet (the other day he was searching for the wife he hasn’t been with in years); and on and on. As always at Boulder Manor Progressive Care Center, there were less than half the number of CNAs and RNs needed to deal promptly and effectively with residents’ needs, which can be urgent sometimes. I overheard one RN state that she was responsible for 105 patients this morning — nearly all of whom needed their scheduled meds — because another nurse had car trouble on the way to work. CNAs have stated that they each routinely care for 40+ patients on a typical shift, patients who are very needy and demanding. Frankly, I think the “Licensed Staff Hours per Resident per Day” stats in the preceding link have been significantly overstated.
It’s NOT for lack of money coming into corporate coffers from both private insurers and the taxpayers that this facility is deliberately understaffed; they make $7,000 per month for my “care” alone, and $11,000+ per month for other residents requiring a higher level of care.
There isn’t even a receptionist to answer the numerous phone calls placed to this facility by concerned family members and friends. Of more concern, there aren’t security officers on duty, and clearly crime against vulnerable residents is a major issue.
So you see, folks, I’m not just being a Smart Ass when I post this meme:
Bureaucratic oversight has failed here . . . Thus, I believe Boulder County DA Stan Garnett should call for a Grand Jury to investigate possible criminal wrongdoing by the corporate owners and certain individuals in administration at Boulder Manor.
DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!
By Max R. Weller
16-year-old Jeffrey Collins (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)
See: ‘Dangerous’ teen sought as elderly Lefthand Canyon attack victim ‘doing a lot better’ in the Daily Camera. Excerpt copied below:
The 71-year-old woman who authorities say was brutally attacked by a teenage hitchhiker at her Lefthand Canyon home this weekremained in serious condition at Boulder Community Health on Wednesday — but her son says she’s beginning to recover.
“She is doing good,” Kurtis Leverentz said of his mother Katie Kulpa. “Her head still really hurts, but she is doing a lot better.”
Leverentz, though, said he’s frustrated that the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office didn’t release 16-year-old suspect Jeffrey Collins’ name or photograph until Wednesday, and said he believes the teen is wearing an ankle monitor.
He said the two teens who were with Collins, and ran to report the assault, told the first person they encountered that Collins was wearing a tracking monitor, which suggests he already was in trouble with the law.
“I understand the law has to protect minors, but this guy tried to kill my mom,” he said. “This is a whole new level.”
Carrie Haverfield, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said she could not confirm whether Collins was supposed to be wearing an ankle monitor . . .
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday publicly identified Collins after obtaining a court order allowing them to reveal the minor’s identity.
Sheriff’s officials sought the public’s help in finding Collins on Tuesday, but did not initially release his name or picture because he is a minor. They only described him as white with blonde hair.
“The court is allowing for the release of the juvenile information because he is at large and considered dangerous,” officials wrote in a news release.
I can practically guarantee that Jeffrey has been ENABLED by Attention Homes and other local nonprofits which provide shelter / services to ANYONE with no questions asked. Time to cut off all public funding to the irresponsible do-gooders, in my opinion.
DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!
By Max R. Weller
Homeless Philosopher’s morning tonic for a happier outlook on life.
I’ve had half of one of these big jars of regular instant coffee ever since my friend cleaned out my locker at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless some months ago, as I’ve been a resident in the godawful Boulder Manor Progressive Care Center (see Google reviews) since early May. I got it out of my closet this morning and went to the back entrance to the kitchen shortly after 6AM for hot water, and I drank two big mugs of it, one before and one after my daily hot shower with Ivory soap. These three things are remarkably efficacious in producing a better mood, even though my severely arthritic right hip is as bad as ever . . . No more decaffeinated coffee for me.
Probably the biggest reason I’m willing to accept Boulder Manor’s decision to discharge me effective 10/7/2016 and decline to file an appeal with the State of Colorado (although there is an element of retaliation against me involved, because of what I’ve blogged about BM) is that this environment, where the lowest-common-denominator of behavior by the street bums in residence goes unaddressed by the new management, is causing me to slide back into clinical depression. Been there and done that already, more than once with suicidal ideation leading to brief hospitalizations, and I’ve always been more upbeat living outdoors despite the physical suffering I endure. (Honestly, I’m wondering how I’ll be able to get up off the ground on really cold mornings this coming winter.)
I’ve observed other residents here in declining mental health, too, so it’s NOT just a personal weakness in me. Example: my new roommate, who is disabled due to a stroke, and receiving both physical and speech therapy. Unfortunately, he’s almost completely unmotivated to do anything to help himself; despite having the most wonderfully supportive significant other (her parents are both Chinese, so perhaps that’s in her upbringing) I’ve ever seen. This guy is constantly whining or using an angry tone of voice with her, as she tries to coax him into recovery to the extent this is possible to achieve. Long-suffering has its limits, I’m sure, and if this fool doesn’t get a clue pretty soon I predict she’ll dump him — and I wouldn’t blame her one bit. He was supposed to go in for surgery on Monday, but he got out of that by malingering (some vague complaint about not feeling well); last night, he refused to be assisted into the shower even though his lady told him, “_____, you smell!” She’s even asked him straight out, “_____, do you want to get better or just lie here in your bed?” His standard reply, which may be feigned sometimes, is that he can’t understand her words nor can he find his own.
A sad deal all around, and I intend to distance myself from ALL of the misery which prevails in Boulder Manor.
Even an old barn would be welcomed by me as winter shelter:
This one has since collapsed, but I’m sure there are others in sounder condition.
You’ll never see me in any homeless shelter. Also been there and done that . . .
Have a good day, everyone!
DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!
By Max R. Weller
It’s been a while since I did a regular post here, focused on my own thoughts and feelings, so for what it’s worth:
I found a recent Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child on the bookshelves here yesterday — A Wanted Man — and I was so starved for a good story to become lost in that I read about 250 pages in a few hours. I’ll probably finish reading it today, and it surely beats Hell out of sitting in a rocking chair by the Nurse’s Station and listening to the constant badgering of staff by Wheelchair Bully (another stroke survivor, and my guess is that he brought it on himself by smoking crack cocaine).
BTW, it’s the most egregiously bad casting ever from Hollywood to have the short and skinny Tom Cruise play the character of Jack Reacher, described in the novels as being 6′ 5″ and 250 well-muscled pounds, and this is yet another reason why I avoid all movies made from books I’ve read.
I’m NOT really interested in staying in Boulder, in fact I hate the thought of being stuck there any longer, and I may take a chance on finding a suitable campsite in Longmont. Ideally, it would have a view like this:
Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak as seen from Longmont, CO
With friends in Longmont nearby I would be in a much better frame of mind, and much safer. Remember this post from two years ago: A near-death experience. My illness this past April was no picnic, either, since it led to a week in Boulder Community Hospital and five months (by the time I leave) effectively trapped in the pesthole which is Boulder Manor Progressive Care Center: Recuperating.
As an indigent person here in Colorado, assuming I remain here, when the time comes my remains will be cremated at public expense — I have no desire to hasten the day, but it’s coming in a few years regardless of my wishes. One thing I dread is having my ashes interred in some local potter’s field with the riff-raff I couldn’t stand in life; so, I really want to be scattered in some attractive place with a view of the mountains at a distance and perhaps horses or cattle nearby.
There are worse things than death, believe me . . . I swear I’ll come back and haunt anyone who dares to mention my name in a so-called homeless people’s memorial service; being exploited to raise funds for a worthless homeless shelter / services industry in Boulder, CO would be more than the Homeless Philosopher’s ghost would allow to slide.
Mea culpa. It wasn’t my intention when I sat down at the computer to become maudlin, and I can’t even blame it on drink. Perhaps it’s because of the decaffeinated coffee served at BM.
Three years ago, a friend of mine made me aware of this insightful commentary from the Wall Street Journal and I’ve reposted it here every so often — in part because it sets the record straight on which Irish-American president should carry most of the blame for the mess we see today.
Feb. 4, 2013 7:04 p.m. ET
On Feb. 5, 1963, 50 years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress on “Mental Illness and Mental Retardation.” He proposed a new program under which the federal government would fund community mental-health centers, or CMHCs, to take the place of state mental hospitals. As Kennedy envisioned it, “reliance on the cold mercy of custodial isolations will be supplanted by the open warmth of community concern and capability.”
President Kennedy’s proposal was historic because the public care of mentally ill individuals had been exclusively a state responsibility for more than a century. The federal initiative encouraged the closing of state hospitals and aborted the development of state-funded outpatient clinics in process at that time.
Over the following 17 years, the feds funded 789 CMHCs with a total of $2.7 billion ($20.3 billion in today’s dollars). During those same years, the number of patients in state mental hospitals fell by three quarters—to 132,164 from 504,604—and those beds were closed down.
From the beginning, it was clear that CMHCs were not interested in taking care of the patients being discharged from the state hospitals. Instead, they focused on individuals with less severe problems sometimes called “the worried well.” Federal studies reported individuals discharged from state hospitals initially made up between 4% and 7% of the CMHCs patient load, and the longer the CMHC was in existence the lower this percentage became.
It has now become politically correct to claim that this federal program failed because not enough centers were funded and not enough money was spent. In fact, it failed because it did not provide care for the sickest patients released from the state hospitals. When President Ronald Reagan finally block-granted federal CMHC funds to the states in 1981, he was not killing the program. He was disposing of the corpse. (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)
Meantime, during the years CMHCs were funded, Medicaid and Medicare were created and modifications were made to the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance programs. None of these programs was originally intended to become a major federal support for the mentally ill, but all now fill that role. The federal takeover of the mental-illness treatment system was complete.
Fifty years later, we can see the results of “the open warmth of community concern and capability.” Approximately half of the mentally ill individuals discharged from state mental hospitals, many of whom had family support, sought outpatient treatment and have done well. The other half, many of whom lack family support and suffer from the most severe illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have done poorly.
According to multiple studies summarized by the Treatment Advocacy Center, these untreated mentally ill are responsible for 10% of all homicides (and a higher percentage of the mass killings), constitute 20% of jail and prison inmates and at least 30% of the homeless. Severely mentally ill individuals now inundate hospital emergency rooms and have colonized libraries, parks, train stations and other public spaces. The quality of the lives of these individuals mocks the lofty intentions of the founders of the CMHC program.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this 50-year federal experiment is its inordinate cost. In 2009, 4.7 million Americans received SSI or SSDI because of mental illnesses, not including mental retardation, a tenfold increase since 1977. The total cost was $46 billion. The total Medicaid and Medicare costs for mentally ill individuals in 2005 was more than $60 billion.
Altogether, the annual total public funds for the support and treatment of mentally ill individuals is now more than $140 billion. The equivalent expenditure in 1963 when Kennedy proposed the CMHC program was $1 billion, or about $10 billion in today’s dollars. Even allowing for the increase in U.S. population, what we are getting for this 14-fold increase in spending is a disgrace.
Including President Kennedy, five Democratic and five Republican presidents have presided over the 50-year federal experiment. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush appointed presidential commissions to examine the failed programs, but nothing useful came from either. (Emphasis is mine.)
Nor is President Obama likely to do anything, since his lead agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has essentially denied that a problem exists. Its contribution to the president’s response to the Dec. 14 Newtown tragedy focused only on school children and insurance coverage. And its current plan of action for 2011-14, a 41,000-word document, includes no mention of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or outpatient commitment, all essential elements in an effective plan for corrective action.
The evidence is overwhelming that this federal experiment has failed, as seen most recently in the mass shootings by mentally ill individuals in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and Tucson, Ariz. It is time for the federal government to get out of this business and return the responsibility, and funds, to the states.
The federal government, perhaps through the Institute of Medicine, would be responsible only for evaluating and rating state programs, much as it now does for education. The ultimate responsibility would rest with state legislatures and governors. Then, for the first time in 50 years, somebody could be held accountable for what has become an ongoing disaster.
Dr. Torrey is founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center and author of “American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System,” forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
I’ve been aware all along of the shocking number of mentally ill homeless men and women to be found in Boulder, CO since I settled here in early 2008. YES, many of them have been prescribed appropriate psych meds at some point; NO, none of these folks I know about will remain compliant with those meds when left to make their own choices. Thus, they spiral down into a dysfunctional state of mind, and all too often these vulnerable homeless are victimized by transient predators.
Recently, as a resident of a local nursing home, I’ve learned firsthand about the homeless mentally ill who are in long-term care there. (Please note I’m NOT referring to elderly dementia patients.) I heard one man from the streets just the other day tell the physician on duty that he wanted to stop taking his prescribed Risperdal; as he put it, “I’m better now, and don’t need it any more.” Outside of an involuntary commitment to a secure psychiatric facility, he can NOT be forced to take any meds. I don’t think he’s a danger to others, but he’s clearly a danger to himself, and I wouldn’t be surprised to read in the Daily Camera one day soon that he’d been run over by a motor vehicle while crossing a busy street in a schizophrenic daze.
And consider what we have here for counseling, putting aside psychotropic meds for a moment:
I’d say that mentally ill homeless folks in Boulder are being poorly-served all around.