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On Wednesday, March 12, my privacy was invaded by Alan Stie, from the OKDHS department of Adult Protective Services, saying someone filed an Adult Protective Services complaint indicating I was in danger, and yet he refused to say who filed the complaint. He harassed me with a large number of questions, forcing me to prove that I was oriented times three (a medical term indicating I know who I am, where I am, what time it is, and that I completely understand my situation), and he claimed that his supervisor, Russell Jones, is unavailable because he is in training. I tried to call Russell's supervisor, Gerald Davis, but did receive a call back for several hours, so I checked the OKDHS Website and on their DHS's Contact Us page found three email contact addresses. It was not clear which was appropriate, so I emailed all three
I also copied the appropriate state oversight committees: Senate Health and Human Resources Co-Chairs Senator Todd Lamb and Senator Andrew Rice and the House Human Services Committee Chair Representative Ron Peters.
After 5pm that day I finally got the return call from Gerald.Davis@okdhs.org, but he was not helpful. I told him that while waiting for him to return the call I had filed a complaint with the three contact emails for OKDHS, and that I had also contacted the appropriate state oversight committees in the legislature. He said he was not worried about the legislature because "they work for us, as taxpayers, we don't work for them." I wonder of the legislators share his opinion of their lack of power.
On Friday, March 14 I got a response from Representative Ron Peters, who apparently talked to Cynthia Kinkade, and also this email from Cynthia Kinkade, who copied Sharon Neuwald and Gerald.Davis@okdhs.org (the man I tried to call). I responded with this email.
Another response came from Kathy King, who called and was very polite so I forwarded a copy of my email to her
She replied and said
Thank you, Sir. State Office just forwarded them to me. I need to leave, but, will read, in entirety, very soon. Good Luck! And, I SO appreciate your graciousness, and calmness, in your rough road.I responded
Area VI APS Field Liaison
You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and being gracious and calm may not get me the information I want, but being an absolute a$$hole and yelling at you would not be any more likely to get it, and it would just raise both my blood pressure and yours.Later I wrote this email.
I still want the information, and I will get it. I just don't know how high I will have to go, and how many people I will have to hurt along the way.
Tuesday, March 18, I escalated with this email to the next in the line of bureaucrats: Stephen Scott, and since I called for him to contact my brother, I showed his email. Since they had been so courteous in their responses, I copied Kathy King and Cynthia Kinkade. I got a response from Stephen R. Scott, and I responded. I got an email from Kathy King, and I responded.
I did contact Kayla A. Bower at the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, and she referred me to one of their attorneys, Joy Turner. I have not yet heard from Joy.
I had an exchange with Russell Jones, the boss of the man that came to my house, but that I was unable to contact because he was out of town, and I had to go to his boss.
In my email to Stephen Scott, I indicated that if I had to escalate to his boss Larry Johnson (Field Operations Division Director), I would begin publically blogging about my experiences with OKDHS. He probably figured I was bluffing, but this post is the first of what may be many posts about them, and here is my email to his boss.
I also was not bluffing when I indicated that if I have to escalate to Marq Youngblood - Human Services Centers - Chief Operating Officer, I will also be asking some of my fellow bloggers to also blog about my experiences, and I will began contacting some local journalists I know, to see if I can get my story in local newspapers, on radio, and on TV. I will also begin contacting U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Administration on Aging, National Association of State Units on Aging, and National Center on Elder Abuse, including the NCEA Hotline, and filing a complaint with Medicare, as well as my Federal Representative John Sullivan, and my Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe, and the chairs on any federal committees and subcommittees I believe will be interested.
You may be wondering why this is that important to me. You may feel that DHS does good work, both in the Child Protective Services and the Adult Protective Services areas. And most of the time you may be right. But we have all seen on TV cases where an overly aggressive CPS agent removes children crying and wanting to stay with their parents, and puts them in "The System", and we have all seen cases where "The System" places children with abusive Foster Parents, and the responsible CPS agent is too overworked or too lazy to properly monitor them, and they are hurt or killed.
And then imagine how you would feel if your health deteriorated to the point where you were a vulnerable adult, and an Adult Protective Services started asking you a bunch of invasive and degrading questions. I know I have enough friends and family that care for me that OKDHS is not going to be able to do anything to me against my will, but I also know that the person that triggered Alan's visit did not do so because I needed APS intervention. It was done for purely political reasons to hurt someone else, and I want to be as aggressive in pursuing her chain of command as I am pursuing Alan's, in order to protect some other vulnerable adult from an unnecessary visit from APS.