Cuts to Medicaid threaten therapy for children

Texas families fear effects of Medicaid cuts

Texas is getting ready for a $350 million cut to the Medicaid reimbursement rate which will jeopardize help for some of those who need it most.

After a year-long legal battle, including an injunction from the Texas Supreme Court that was lifted this fall, the cuts are expected to go into effect December 15.

Some Austin families tell KVUE those cuts will be devastating.

2-year-old Angeline Hernandez was born with hydrocephalus, meaning she had fluid on her brain.

KVUE visited her in her home as she worked with occupational therapist Genelle Mills from Any Baby Can.

"All of her skills are delayed,” said Mills.

Mills set up an obstacle course of couch cushions and pillows. The exercises help Hernandez build strength and work on her find motor skills.

Hernandez still has seizures and just learned to walk.

But Mom Lorie Villarreal said she's made a ton of progress.

"At first I didn't think any of this would happen when she was first born, now I see a lot of progress,” said Villarreal.

"We work a lot on building her fine motor strength, her upper body strength so that she can do all of those skills that she wants to do," said Mills.

The therapy is part of the Early Childhood Intervention program at Any Baby Can, which provides physical, speech, and occupational therapy to children under the age of three. A time, they say, it makes the greatest impact.

But with cuts to the Medicaid rate going into effect December 15, the ECI program is in jeopardy.

John Branham with Any Baby Can said they serve about 250 to 260 kids at a time in the program, and already have to find a portion of the funding.

"Already it requires us to close a funding gap of about 200 thousand dollars these additional cuts are going to make that gap double to about $400,000, we're going to have to be able to find that money to be able to sustain this program," said Branham.

"I'm very disturbed by those cuts, these families are the ones who need it most, and we need to make sure that we advocate for them and make sure that they continue to receive therapy," said Mills.

It’s therapy that Villarreal said is vital.

"I think if we didn't have therapy then she wouldn't show progress,” said Villarreal.

Texas House of Representatives Speaker Joe Straus called the cuts a mistake this week and said it's an issue that will likely come up in the legislative session.

(© 2016 KVUE)


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment