To the editor: Fort Worth Weekly’s recent cover story, “The Cost of Staying Alive” (May 5, 2010), showed the true picture of the healthcare reform and really hit home for me.
My asthma inhaler is $84, even with Medicare, so I have to get samples from the doctor, but there are limits to that too. Now I’ve read that a lot of doctors like mine are jumping ship and will no longer accept Medicare due to the health reform bill.
Then there is my 9-year-old daughter, whom I had to place for adoption because I couldn’t take care of her. She’s had a feeding tube since she was two years old, due to food aversion, but the insurance company won’t cover her dental expenses though they are directly related to her medical condition.
Luckily her adoptive parents are both nurses, but even they struggle sometimes with the costs related to her care.
Thank you for letting others see through a child’s and parent’s eyes what it’s really like to have to live life precariously.
A Light in Dark Places
To the editor: Thank you so much for the thorough job on “Rethinking Guardianship” (May 19, 2010). Jeff Prince’s style of writing educated readers while drawing them further into the true horror stories of victims — and then left the reader both sad for the victims and outraged that vulnerable people and their families continue to suffer these abuses in our U.S. of A. Unlawful and abusive guardianships survive and thrive in the darkness, away from public scrutiny. The bright light of media attention brings more justice to victims than most courtrooms, and we thank you for your effort. We were especially pleased with your focus on ex-parte hearings, an increasingly frequent violation of due process rights that plagues families who are in battle every day to save their loved ones from the “protection racket.”
I hope you’ll do follow-up articles, Jeff. We need good reporters like you spreading the word!
President, National Association to
Stop Guardianship Abuse (NASGA)
To the editor: As president of Guardian-ship Services Inc., I appreciate your article for shining a light on the difficult issue of guardianship. Incapacitated adults without cohesive family support are among the most vulnerable in our society, and without guardianship programs with qualified and regulated professional staff, such persons might end up without food or shelter.
I did want to correct a couple of statements about Guardianship Services. First, while there are attorneys on the board, they are by no means a majority. As with most nonprofit agencies, the persons with the greatest interest and knowledge about the mission of the agency usually make the best volunteers and board members. Second, only our funding from the United Way, the Area Agency on Aging, and MHMR — a small percentage of the total — is based on the number of clients served. Our largest funding source is Tarrant County, and our second-largest source of funds is from private donations and foundations. Neither of these requires us to handle any specific number of cases.
Guardianship matters are always very difficult, because they require a balance between protecting the vulnerable, incapacitated individual and leaving that person with as much dignity and self-determination as possible. While not perfect, the courts in Tarrant County do an exemplary job of trying to find that balance. For that reason, Judge Ferchill’s court has been recognized as one of the five best probate courts in the country by the federal courts.
Thank you for making the public aware of the value of volunteer guardians and their role in meeting one of the more difficult unmet needs of our community.
Steven E. Katten
Editor’s note: Although, in the past, the Guardianship Services’ boards were dominated by attorneys, that indeed is no longer the case. Currently, five of 17 directors are attorneys. Fort Worth Weekly regrets the error.
The tie between the agency’s funding and client numbers should be clarified. Client load is a major factor (though not the only factor) in determining how much money Guardianship Services receives from the county, but that funding is not directly tied to the exact number of clients served.