Susan Hogarth, whom you may remember from our November family story, recently joined the Family Voices Colorado team as the new Pediatric to Adult Health Care Transitions Navigator. In addition to learning the ropes of the Family Voices approach to family navigation support, Susan took a lead role in planning for Hearts on Fire 2013.
Susan was first introduced to Family Voices in April 2008, through the Arc of Jefferson County’s Mobilizing Families training program. She explains, “We were struggling with insurance denials for therapy for our son, Jake, and classification of developmental delay. The staff at Family Voices helped during the appeal process, attending conference calls with insurance agents and human resources. Family Voices provided the resource of an attorney who worked pro bono, resulting in the case being overturned and re-classification of disability such that all services were covered.”
In July 2012, Susan sought the help of Family Voices once again, this time with the application for the Medicaid Buy-In for Children with Disabilities, as Jake was on the CES waiver waitlist and not receiving Medicaid. He was approved for the Buy-In, and now receives the benefits of Medicaid coverage – including several therapies and other services not previously available – for a relatively low monthly premium.
Susan’s professional background is as a consulting actuary, but her passion was to leave that 20-year career to work with a non-profit, helping families of children with special healthcare needs. That dream came true in January 2013, when Family Voices hired Susan as a Transition Navigator. She tells us,
“The combination of my professional background as an actuary in the pension and healthcare benefits arena, and my personal experience as a mother of a disabled child with special healthcare needs, served as a perfect fit. I have battled with insurance companies, spent hours in the hospitals, doctors office, therapy visits, durable medical equipment fittings, moved to other states thinking it was ‘better somewhere else!’ (which is a misconception as Colorado is one of the most well-educated states, and providing state of the art services including a high level of knowledge for technology), spending hours with the schools and IEPs, etc., just like many of the families we serve.
“I hope to provide some comfort to families that there is hope, and I can help them navigate the systems that all parents of children with special health care needs have to face on a daily basis. Colorado is stepping up to the plate, showing their support for the disabled community through the recent news relating to legislative budgets to include additional funding for individuals with disabilities currently on waitlists.
“It is exciting to work for Family Voices during this time, watching it grow into leader of navigation support in the community.”
We are glad to have Susan on board! Stay tuned for an announcement coming very soon about a new tool for families, health care providers, and other professionals: a Transition Guide that offers resources and tasks for each stage from age 10 through mid-20s!