Letters from Parents to Legislature concerning Therapy Cuts (Public Comments)

Do you wonder what you should or could say if you wrote a letter?
Here are a couple of examples that concerned parents have sent:

emmaDear Distinguished Representatives,

Please hear me when I say that we are truly thankful for the Medicaid system and Medicaid provided for those who need it. My daughter is one of those who has benefited from Medicaid more than I can express. She is 3 years old and was born with Down Syndrome which keeps us bouncing between as many as 10 specialty clinic doctors, ER’s, and therapists. She attends The Allen School in Little Rock where I’m also fortunate enough to work. We PAY for our Medicaid in the form of TEFRA. She receives the maximum 180 minutes a week from physical, occupational and speech therapies because she is more than a year behind in most everything.

See, our story is one where we have already experienced what these Medicaid cuts can do. Emma was born and lived the first 2 years of her life in Oklahoma City. The Medicaid system in Oklahoma is VERY different than here. For one, they don’t do physical therapy for ANY child under the age of 3. They explain their reasoning as Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy is the same until age 3 because children don’t develop fine motor skills until then. However, what they don’t take into account is that Occupational Therapy also includes a sensory focus for children who are born with sensory needs. Emma had severe sensory needs and so her Occupational Therapy time was all used up by sensory development just to help her live without fear of everything around her. Therefore, when it came to things like rolling over, head control, or crawling, she had no more therapy time for that. Medicaid wouldn’t allow it. Although I stayed home with her and chose not to work to be able to provide better care for her, and even though we worked on physical movement and did her therapy “assignments” for 6-8 hours a day, she still was not even close to walking when we left Oklahoma July of 2015. She started physical therapy at 180 minutes/week in August of 2015 and by October of 2015, she was walking! She has made INCREDIBLE strides in all areas of development since we moved to Arkansas. Please do not let Arkansas cut services like in Oklahoma. Yes, a prior authorization could give her more needed hours. However, in Oklahoma, Medicaid takes 60-90 days to approve a prior auth.

The Medicaid services here in Arkansas are already so backed up it takes 3-6 months just to APPLY for Medicaid, much less change it. This is not a realistic cut and it will greatly impact disabled children who so desperately depend on these services.

I am pleading to you, as a mother, please don’t let this bill go through. Find a way to add accountability to the system without cutting services so drastically. There has to be a way to hold those who are abusing the system accountable without taking the services away from all children. I have confidence in you as our governing officials. Think outside the box. Create a solution. Brainstorm with those who are in the system for ways to navigate it more efficiently. Ask questions. Do the dirty work to fix this system for my child, for our children, for all the children in Arkansas. I know you probably got into government to help change the way things are done and to help people. This is your time. What you do with this decision will very likely shape the future of services in Arkansas. You can do this. Please, just try.

jackie-letter2 Hello, my name is Jackie Palmer and I am writing this so that my son Adam Devosha can have a voice on this issue. It is very dear and important to us. My son is 5 years old now with E.O.E and autism. This little boy has come such a long way and it’s all due to the therapy that he was able to receive through Medicaid. When Adam was a year and a half old, we had to teach him sign language in order to communicate with us because he couldn’t speak. He had so many issues from E.O.E where he needed eating therapy all the way to physical therapy and speech therapy because he couldn’t dress himself, hold a pencil, or talk. Thank goodness we were able to get all the therapies he needed not only in the Francis Allen school, but he was able to receive these therapies at home when he was very young. These therapies changed my son’s life in such an amazing way. He is now able to speak so well you can’t even tell that he needed the therapy, we also almost have him off his feeding tube now due to the eating therapy that he is still receiving. These therapies are getting my son to be able to bring him to the full and healthy potential that he needs to have a full, happy, and healthy life because without the therapies that he received there is no telling where my son would be today. We pray that in the future children like my son Adam will have the same opportunity in life to reach their full potential through these therapies, so please do not cut therapies for Medicaid it would truly cause damaging and irreversible effects to these children throughout their lives and we want the best for all children like my son Adam. Thank you and God bless.

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