Don’t Take Slow as No

My love is alive
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helpin’ hand
I’ll be there on the double
Just as fast as I can
Don’t you know that there

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from gettin’ to you, babe

I know a few of you are humming now! I also know that you’re probably confused about how Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” song relates to human services. Well, in human services, we are supposed to be dedicated to loving our neighbors and caring for one another. Just like in the song!

Not too long ago, the services for people with intellectual disabilities were funded with cost reports. This means that agencies were paid 90 days in advance for services rendered. There was no need to borrow money to pay the bills. During this time, when a team met, a decision was made and implemented without payment delays. There were no service authorizations, billing units, or counting hours or minutes.

There were no disincentives for success. In those days, you celebrated if someone moved from a group home into life sharing. You did not worry that your revenue would decrease because life sharing costs less than a group home. You used the leftover money wisely to offer better pay, implement new ideas, and to serve more people. In those days, it was easier to live the WHY—to help each person be as self-directed as possible, belong and connect socially in their community, and grow in achievement. We could focus more on movement, where we were headed, and how to help someone get there. We expected the skill building, risk reduction, and the sense of accomplishment that came with it.

But when those times ended, our expectations started to shift from achievement to safety, from movement to being cared for. We also grew in our bureaucracy. You now need a team meeting, an ISP revision, a new authorization, and documentation of each service unit. We are now required to bill to get paid; all advances are over. We must borrow money before the services we billed for would be paid now.

The time to implement a decision grew, and the paperwork, emails, and misunderstandings grew. The focus on movement lessened to the point that risks seemed bigger than life. The WHY was more challenging to see. If someone moves to greater independence, revenue drops. How do you pay your bills? We now have a conflict between doing the right thing and making the books balance.

When we started this organization, we committed to the WHY. In the provider world, and within our many walls, we must live the purpose of loving our neighbor. Love means helping our neighbors live their best lives, inclusion, equity, respect, and achievement. We are trying to wrap our heads around how many ways we may be caught up in the bureaucracy. Who else expects us to remain the same, with no risks and little reward for the people we support? Why don’t we make more referrals to employment, life sharing, and skills-building plans toward supported independent living?

So, the time has come to get our groove on. We need to be able to say…. Is no bureaucracy slow enough…to keep me from lovin’ you…to all the people we support and their families?

For the rest of the words to the song, click here

aint no mountain high enough song lyrics – Search (