News

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 ...

Legislature opts to largely maintain cuts of therapy services for disabled children

May 26, 2017

In the latest showdown between the Texas House and Senate — this time over how much money to spend on speech, physical and occupational therapy services for disabled children — the Senate scored a last-minute victory. State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, told House colleagues on Friday he was prepared to accept the Senate’s version of a stop-gap budget plan, which would not restore funding for disabled children’s therapy services that House leaders had previously pledged to reverse. Disgruntled House lawmakers gathered Read More ...

Therapists, parents urge state officials to restore Medicaid money

May 24, 2017

Concerned about planned cuts in Medicaid therapy services for disabled children, throngs of parents and therapists pleaded on Wednesday with state officials to reverse course. In the latest pounding for home health care aides and therapists, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission proposed the cuts after the Legislature in 2015 directed the agency to save money by reducing rates for Medicaid acute care therapy. The hearing comes as lawmakers grapple in the last week of the legislative session with Read More ...

Texas Legislators Largely Fail to Reverse Kids’ Therapy Cuts, Have One More Chance to Make Improvements

May 24, 2017

This week, state policymakers are making multiple decisions that influence whether Texas children with disabilities and developmental delays will be able to access therapies. Those decisions are reflected in: The 2018-2019 state budget that state legislators revealed over the weekend; The supplemental state budget for the remainder of 2017, which passed the Texas Senate yesterday and is now expected to go to a House-Senate conference committee; and The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) hearing today to consider additional therapy Read More ...

Therapists for Disabled Children Fight Yet Another Round of Medicaid Cuts

May 24, 2017

Acute therapy providers for disabled kids just can’t catch a break — and neither can the kids’ parents, who for the past two years have consistently fought against sweeping cuts speech, physical and occupational therapy providers for their children. They’re about to renew that fight again this week, at a hearing Wednesday in which the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will for the umpteenth time hear their pleas asking the commission not to slash Medicaid therapist reimbursement rates — Read More ...

Legislature at risk of letting down Texas kids

May 18, 2017

The current Texas legislative session started with high hopes for what our state lawmakers could achieve for kids. The Houston Chronicle, for example, urged state leaders to consider 2017 “the year of the child,” citing the momentum behind several children’s policy issues and the high stakes involved in those policy decisions. There’s still a little time for state lawmakers to make real progress for kids before the legislative session ends on May 29, but as of today our state legislators Read More ...

The Drakes: Texas Senate is not keeping its promise

May 17, 2017

From the very start of her life, our daughter Sully faced obstacles that not every child has to endure. Sully has Down syndrome, had open-heart surgery at seven weeks and has a feeding tube surgically implanted in her stomach. She is beautiful, loving, courageous, strong and silly, but at 19 months, our child cannot crawl, walk, talk and most important, cannot drink liquids – things that most children can do at her age. Our daughter needs intense developmental, occupational, physical Read More ...

The Children of Medicaid

April 6, 2017

I’ve been continually surprised by how many people think Medicaid is just for poor families on welfare. Those of us who parent children with complex medical needs know that Medicaid is so much more than that. After all, 72% of Medicaid enrollees are children, people with disabilities, and the elderly, and these groups account for 84% of spending. Medicaid provides vital services for children, including home nursing care and therapies, that are not otherwise covered. In this article, we will Read More ...

Texas officials seek deeper cuts to therapy for disabled children, despite House plan

April 6, 2017

Texas health officials want yet deeper pay cuts for therapists who care for poor and disabled children, a plan that directly conflicts with House members’ efforts to restore Medicaid cuts passed two years ago. Feeling pressure from parents and advocates across Texas, House members on Thursday are considering substantial reinvestments into funding speech, physical and occupational therapies. Those services are crucial for children who, in many cases, wouldn’t otherwise be able to walk, talk or function as they grow to Read More ...

Unlike the Senate budget, House aims to partly restore Medicaid therapy funding for children

April 5, 2017

Noah Zavala was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, has battled through two open heart surgeries and will need a heart transplant at some point in his life. After months of being in the hospital, Noah lost his ability to swallow and was so weak he couldn’t hold his head up. But after receiving physical, occupational and speech therapy, 1-year-old Noah eats pureed baby food on his own and no longer needs a feeding tube. He has learned to say Read More ...

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