Prairie Village man invites Gov. Brownback to work caregiver shift in his home

Finn Bullers and his wife Anne, pictured in January.
Finn Bullers and his wife Anne, pictured in January.

Finn Bullers, the Prairie Village muscular dystrophy patient whose fight to keep round-the-clock in-home assistance under Kansas’s new KanCare program has attracted regional attention, has extended an unorthodox invitation in his quest to draw attention to his case. In a message sent today, Bullers has asked Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services Secretary Shawn Sullivan to “walk a mile in his moccasins” by serving as his caregiver for a day.

An excerpt of the invitation is copied below:

Greetings, Gov. Brownback & Sec. Shawn Sullivan —

I hope both of you had a joyous Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones, good conversation and fine food.

I wanted to write a quick note to make sure you were aware of my invitation to work an eight-hour caregiver shift in my home to “walk in my moccasins” — before casting judgment on whether my KanCare hours should be reduced by a drastic 76 percent — against the medical advice of three of my long-time doctors.

As I told the KanCare  oversight committee Nov. 25, I am unflappably serious with this invitation. We welcome state officials into my world to see what proposed cuts could mean to me and my family.

We are looking for bright, energetic and problem-solving caregivers who are willing to take on the task of caring for a 49-year-old father of two with muscular dystrophy, type-1 diabetes and a ventilator to breathe. Don’t let that intimidate you. My 13-year-old son Christian is a whiz at Dad’s gear and my nine-year-old daughter Alora does blood-sugar readings and administers insulin.

It pays $9.30 an hour.

Your job? We need our employees to: make transfers to bed and toilet, dressing, bathing, oral hygiene, light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry and errands. Be prompt to your scheduled shifts and treat us the way you would like to be treated and we’ll hit it off. Non-smokers with a high-school diploma or G.E.D. and a driver’s license are the folks we are looking to hire and train.

Personal care attendants are the unsung heroes of the healthcare field. Without you, I am not able to live a quality life in my own home — away from an institution…

…Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. If you find it impossible to accept my invitation, I would appreciate a note explaining why. Thanks again.

Bullers is scheduled to testify before a hearing of the National Council on Disability Dec. 5 at the state capitol in Topeka.