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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lost paperwork, lost life: A Medicaid coverage error

Fourteen-year-old Devante Johnson was an honor student and athlete living with kidney cancer in Texas. Medicaid paid for his chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatment.

Aware of the need to continue his Medicaid coverage, his mother submitted the paperwork to renew his coverage two months before the deadline. But in Texas and in many other states, according to Bob Herbert of the New York Times, there is a concerted effort to undermine programs that bring government-sponsored healthcare to poor and working-class children. “They kept losing the paperwork,” his mother later told Mr. Herbert, so she submitted new applications, made dozens of phone calls, and sent many faxes. But Medicaid staff dropped Devante’s coverage.

When the coverage lapsed, Devante’s treatment ceased. He got sicker. His mother, Tamika Scott, said, “After awhile it was like his body was so frail and he was so weak he could barely walk on his own.”

Four months after coverage had lapsed, staff corrected their mistakes and reinstalled his coverage. It was too late. He passed away in March from kidney cancer. “He would be with me today if they hadn’t let his insurance lapse,” his mother says.

Advice if the worst happens: Tell your story to rouse and warn others, like his mother has. Tell your Texan friends to relay their opinion to Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Read more encouraging Medicaid access stories, or Bob Herbert’s source story: “Young, Ill and Uninsured,” in today’s New York Times.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Thanks for this story and for your blog. I can't say this is the first time I have heard a 'medicaid' horror story. However, this may be the most horrific.

To ANY of you in need of information re: how to cut through Medicaid's red tape, please visit http://www.medicare-medicaid.com. This site provides a ton of free information and can answer any question you have. Good luck!