nce upon a time, a not so young man was swept away by the sudden swirl of events into the Land of the Last.
There were in this particular county 24 such places sometimes called Skilled Nursing Centers and sometimes called Long Term Residences. It would seem a lot of choices, but not so much for a poor boy.
Although it was not strictly a matter of cost, that certainly played some minor part. Throwing aside the Veteran's Administration Facilities, of which there were two, neither ranking well on the Medicare 5-Star Ranking System (1 Star for each or much below average), the average yearly cost for a home was $8,219 a month for a semi-private room (slightly more for a private room at $9,223 a month). These ranged from a high of $14,752 a month (a place that rated 4-Stars or Above Average) to a low of $5,627 a month (and a rating of 1-Star or Much below Average). Cost did not always correlate with the ranking. A home that charged $9,794 a month, the sixth highest, only received 2-Stars or Below Average, while the second cheapest (not counting the VA Homes) at $7,300 a month got 4-Stars or Above Average.
The place where the not-so-young man's mother was imprisoned ranked eleventh in cost, about the middle of the pack, at $9,277 a month, but was one of only two in the county to receive but 1-Star, or Much below Average.
Do you see why he needed to rescue her?
If cost was not a real criteria, the fact his parents had no real resources was. They would have to go into a home under Medical Assistance or not at all, and not every home accepted Medicaid. He could eliminate eight immediately for this reason.
Of course, Sunset City was where his mother lay, so it was subtracted from the mix. So could one home because his mother had insisted from the beginning he must stay away from there, although he never understood why since several people recommended it and the home had a 4-Star rating. Also eliminated was one of the two VA facilities, because his dad said he never wanted to go there.
That left 14 facilities that would accept Medicaid.
The Not-so-young Man eliminated three as being tucked away in a bewitched far corner of the county. They would be places of last resort.
He then contacted the remaining 11 Skilled Nursing Facilities and it began to seem to no avail. He toured four and was placed on the waiting list at three (these included Mushmouth Manor). He did not apply at the fourth because it was the only one in the county to require an application fee. The fee was $250 and since he was now applying for both parents (explanation will be in following posts) that would have cost $500 just to risk being rejected, another last resort home.
He learned from another source that his parents would never get accepted by Mushmouth Manor with their lack of money, confirming his earlier impression of the place.
He was advised at the first home he contacted that he should put them on at least four waiting lists and if one offered a bed to snatch it up. "Demand is high," the lady said, "and everyone has long waiting lists." This was proving true as he searched on.
Two quickly let him know they would not take his parents, one or the other, and the remaining five were not returning his calls (including the one VA facility he had contacted) and as time passed it seemed they never would.
He had reached out even beyond that county, but it was going the same elsewhere. He even went back to PassingGo Home, begging them to reconsider since they did accept Medicaid and that was now what his folks were applying under.
And just when it seemed his plight could not get more desperate, it did. His mother's insurance company dropped her coverage.
(Photo on left is from the 1925 silent version of The Wizard of Oz, co-wrote and directed by Larry Semon, who also stared as the Scarecrow [he is on the left]. The Tin Man in the middle is Oliver Hardy, who gained much greater fame later when partnered with Stan Laurel. The actor on the right is O. Howe Black [you read it right], who not too surprisingly was cast as the Cowardly Lion.)