News

As Lege Fails to Restore Disabled Kids’ Medicaid Funding, a Child Loses Therapy

August 17, 2017

When the insurance decided to cut off two-year-old Lillian Hinojosa’s speech therapy, her parents, Carlos and Maggie, were puzzled. Their daughter, who has a developmental disorder called Prader Willi syndrome, was only just learning how to talk, and how to swallow soft, puree-like food without throwing it up. Prader Willi causes acute weakness in babies’ muscles, meaning Lillian, who will be three in September, has still not learned to walk or to stand on her own. She prefers rolling. It Read More ...

Parents of disabled kids despair of seeing state cuts for therapy services restored

August 16, 2017

AUSTIN — Nine-year-old Aidan Mehta stretches his arm into the air, raising it above the back of his medical stroller, to capture his mom’s attention. “Can we get out of here?” asks Aidan, who has disabilities that affect his immune and cardiac system, energy levels and ability to get around. “It’s just the start, I’m afraid,” Hannah Mehta responds, running her hand through Aidan’s thick, black hair.  The pair from Flower Mound have spent countless days during the special session Read More ...

Advocates for disabled children hope for last-minute reprieve on therapy cuts

August 15, 2017

Margaretta Zuniga tries to keep upbeat about her role as a full-time single mother to two daughters who can’t walk, talk or use the restroom by themselves. Espy, 3, and Malana, 4, suffer from DiGeorge syndrome, a genetic disorder that has delayed their development. “When people ask me what’s wrong with them, ‘why are they sick?’ I say, ‘They’re not sick, they’re healthy. They’re just delayed,’ ” Zuniga said. “I want to, just want them to grow up and get an education. Read More ...

House OKs reversing cuts to disabled children’s therapy services

August 4, 2017

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note that House Bill 25 received final approval in the Texas House. The Texas House gave tentative approval Thursday to a measure that would partially reverse a controversial cut to disabled children’s therapy services that was ordered by the 2015 Legislature. House Bill 25, authored by state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, passed unanimously, 138-0. Once it receives final approval, it will head across the hall to the Senate. (Update, Aug. 4: The House on Friday morning voted Read More ...

House committee advances plan to restore some Medicaid funding

July 27, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas — Parents of kids affected by Medicaid therapy rate cuts are holding out hope state lawmakers will step in during the Texas Legislature’s special session. Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee advanced HB25, which would restore some of the $350 million in Medicaid cuts lawmakers approved in 2015. The bill would utilize $70 million in state money from the economic stabilization fund and $93 million from the federal government. Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, authored the bill. “If the governor Read More ...

Austin family taking fight for Medicaid funds to Capitol Hill

July 10, 2017

AUSTIN (KXAN) — One Austin family is taking their story to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to protect — not cut — children’s Medicaid funding as proposed in the American Health Care Act of 2017. The Howell family’s effort in Washington, D.C. will be part of a national push to address key health care needs for children through the Children’s Hospital Association’s annual Family Advocacy Day. Of the more than 30 million kids enrolled in Medicaid, at least 2 million have Read More ...

Medicaid cuts devastating Texas families

July 10, 2017

Last December, when the state’s Health and Human Services Commission(HHSC) implemented a staggering $350 million cut to Medicaid reimbursements for much needed physical, occupational and speech therapy, it had a devastating impact on our state’s most vulnerable populations. It dramatically rolled back vital medical access for low-income families and those with special needs children. The cuts closed the door to families in rural areas where access to care is already limited. I warned our state leaders of these outcomes when they Read More ...

The forgotten Medicaid recipients

July 1, 2017

Roshaunda Jones was standing in line at the bank a few weeks ago, trying to ignore what she was hearing. “These people, they don’t want to work. They’re lazy,” loudly declared one of the older women in front of Jones. “They’ve always got their hand out. They have all these babies and then they want to government to do everything for them,” agreed the second woman in disgust. That did it. “Excuse me, ma’am,” said Jones, a 38-year-old single Houston Read More ...

Texas Medicaid cuts leave special needs kids without therapy

June 28, 2017

Stacey English has modest desires for her 7-year-old daughter Addison: Be able to eat without gagging and move both her arms. But since Addison’s occupational therapist went out of business this winter, the child with a rare genetic disorder has regressed in her fight to do even that much. “I don’t know where to go from here,” said English, who has been unable to find a replacement therapist in their Texas college town of College Station. “How do you continue Read More ...

Congress is eyeing big Medicaid cuts. Here’s why it matters to Texas families.

June 21, 2017

Despite years of sleepless nights, emergency room trips and long stares into the financial abyss, Kate Robinson-Howell and Bob Howell of Austin are adamant that they are a Medicaid success story. Their second child, Apollo, was born with a malformed esophagus and trachea. He had emergency surgery to reconstruct his airway when he was just four months old. Now two years old, Apollo eats through a gastronomy tube that protrudes from his stomach, suffers from chronic lung disease and has endured dozens of Read More ...

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