Have you ever noticed how many proverbs and sayings relate to thinking ahead? A stitch in time saves nine. A penny saved is a penny earned. Look before you leap. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
When it comes to children’s healthy development, there’s a step between prevention and “cure,” and it comes in the form of Early Intervention. Over the years, health care professionals have found that identifying delays in development, whether physical, cognitive, or behavioral, and diagnosis of ongoing health conditions at an early age, and addressing them immediately, can make a tremendous difference in long-term outcomes. Because this is not only better for the child and family, but also more cost-effective, than waiting until more serious problems develop later in life, many early intervention services are publicly funded, meaning that families do not have to pay directly for things like speech, physical, or occupational therapy.
Anyone can refer a child for screening to find out if they are eligible for early intervention services, whether you are a family member, doctor, child care provider, or other concerned individual. Visit http://www.eicolorado.org/ or call 888-777-4041 to talk to someone at Early Intervention Colorado about the process of making a referral, or the services and supports available.
The Rockwell family lives in Littleton, except for their daughter, “Sarah,” who has intense mental health needs and has lived in a residential treatment center for the past several years. The Rockwells approached Family Voices Colorado in 2009 with concerns that Medicaid wanted to send Sarah home, in spite of psychiatric assessments that acknowledged neither she nor her family would be safe if that happened.
Sarah’s parents had already tried to appeal the decision, but encountered one roadblock after another in getting the different public agencies and private companies involved to acknowledge the severity of Sarah’s condition or to take responsibility for continuing to fund her care. Sarah’s mom, Irene, was at her wit’s end as to what would happen if her daughter came home, but did not want to follow one caseworker’s suggestion that she relinquish her parental rights so that the Department of Child Protective Services would take over.
Bringing the right people to the table
Family Voices was able to help the family gather the appropriate institutional representatives at the table (Medicaid Managed Care Ombudsman, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., and the residential treatment center) for many meetings of evaluation and negotiation. Finally, the team secured the appropriate documentation from Sarah’s care providers and psychiatrist to convince the funding agencies of the medical necessity of continuing Sarah’s placement, without having to reevaluate the situation on a monthly basis.
Irene, who prides herself on her resourcefulness, has taken the lessons she learned from working with Family Voices to become an advocate for other families facing similar struggles with the health care system.
Support and empowerment
Family Voices helps to move parents beyond the isolation, grief and panic they often feel when learning their child has a disability or chronic condition, or when trying to navigate the various service systems, and puts those parents back in control of their lives and their children’s welfare. Through working with Family Voices, parents are supported and empowered, resulting in stronger families and an increased ability to advocate effectively on behalf of their children.
Families of children with special healthcare needs often access multiple private and public systems. Consequently, they experience the system limitations more quickly than those whose needs are not as numerous or recurrent. By building partnerships among professionals and these families, Family Voices promotes improved decision-making, better outcomes and higher quality healthcare for everyone the systems serves.
Please help Family Voices Colorado continue to support and empower families like the Rockwells by making a donation at GivingFirst.org/FamilyVoicesCO. December 4, 2012, is Colorado Gives Day, when the FirstBank Incentive Fund increases the value of every dollar contributed. You can also set up a recurring gift to provide ongoing support throughout the year. Together, we can make Colorado a better place for children with special health care needs.
On July 1, 2012, Colorado rolled out a new Medicaid program for children with disabilities, created by The Colorado Health Care Affordability Act. Now families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) can ‘buy in’ to Medicaid coverage for their child with a disability by paying a monthly premium based on their family’s income.
Learn how the Medicaid Buy-In for Children with Disabilities is making a difference for the Howards, who live in Grand Junction, in this story that aired on KREX TV. Or read about the Hogarth family, who live in Aurora, and how the Buy-In saved them from crippling out-of-pocket costs. [Update 12/17/12: Susan Hogarth and Family Voices staff member Suzette Elledge were interviewed by reporter Michael Booth in this Denver Post article.]
To find out whether your child may qualify, or for help with the application process, please call us today at 800-881-8272 or 303-733-3000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the Children’s Medicaid Buy-In?
The Medicaid Buy-In Program for Children with Disabilities (Children’s Buy-In) is a program that allows eligible families to pay a monthly premium (no more than $120/month per family, even if multiple children qualify) to ‘buy in’ to Medicaid benefits.
Who is eligible for the Children’s Buy-In?
Families with a child or children under age 19 with a qualifying disability (based on Social Security criteria) and whose household income is no greater than 300% of Federal Poverty Levelafter a 33% income disregard is applied. For example, a family of 4 may qualify with a gross monthly income of up to $8,600.
The Children’s Buy-In may be an option for:
Families of children with disabilities who are over income or resources for other Medicaid programs or CHP+; children on a waitlist for a children’s waiver (other than the C-HCBS waiver; contact us to learn more about this); children who do not qualify for waiver services; children who do not have health insurance or who need coverage as a wrap-around to other insurance.
To support Family Voices Colorado in our work of helping families of children with disabilities and other special health care needs access affordable, quality health care, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.
Making Colorado a better place for children and youth with special health care needs