AUSTIN - A $350 million Medicaid rate cut from Texas Lawmakers goes into effect July 15, and the CEO of Any Baby Can claims those cuts could greatly affect their ability to provide treatment.
The Health and Human Services made the decision, and now after a year-long legal battle, the cuts are scheduled to take place.
Therapists through Any Baby Can's Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program have been working with 3-year-old Gerardo Reyes for years. He was born with fluid in his brain and not enough brain tissue.
"It was just shocking to hear that news,” said his mother Mayra Reyes.
Doctors told Reyes her son wouldn’t live to be one.
"They told us my son was supposed to be deaf, not able to talk, blind, and in case he would make it he would be like a vegetable,” said Reyes.
Now with therapy, he can walk, knows his shapes, and can identify colors -- in both English and Spanish.
"We know that through various therapies applied during the first 3 years of life, we can really make great advances in helping that child overcome some of those challenges,” said Andy Miller, president and CEO of Any Baby Can.
The program works with children like Gerardo -- who have disabilities or developmental delays -- until they're 3-years-old.
But the cuts to Medicaid would reduce the money for physical, speech, and occupational therapy.
"It's really disappointing that the state is pulling back on that because the family’s needs aren't going to go away,” said Miller.
The nonprofit serves about 500 children a year in their ECI program. Miller said there are more families who need the support.
Miller added they already use about $200,000 from charitable donations to make the program sustainable -- and with these cuts, he said it puts the whole program in question.
"It's disappointing to see such short sightedness in terms of cutting necessary programs during the first 3 years of life when we know they can be so impactful,” said Miller.
The program encourages parents like Reyes to keep working with their children, even after the therapists leave.
"As a parent you're like I can't give up,” said Reyes.
Now they hope lawmakers won't either.
Go here to learn more about Any Baby Can.
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