Nick's Crusade Pays Off;
Advocate Vow's To Continue Struggle For Others
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 19, 2003
MOBILE, ALABAMA--Nick Dupree's two-year campaign has paid off, just a few days before his 21st birthday.
Dupree, a student at Spring Hill College, has a rare form of muscular dystrophy that requires him to use a ventilator and a wheelchair. He also receives in-home nursing care paid through Alabama's Medicaid program.
He started "Nick's Crusade", a public awareness campaign, in March 2001 after he learned that the state would not pay for his in-home care once he turns 21. The state would only pay for him to live in a nursing home. Dupree and his family said that was not an option.
Last week, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced that the federal government would approve a new program in Alabama that would continue Medicaid funded in-home services for Dupree and 29 other people in his situation and age group -- including Dupree's 18-year-old brother who has the same form of muscular dystrophy.
Thompson's announcement came after National Public Radio ran an in-depth story on Dupree's situation and a number of disability rights advocates announced they were set to protest in front of the White House.
Dupree, who turns 21 this coming Sunday, said he will continue with "Nick's Crusade" so others who need in-home services can stay out of nursing homes and other facilities.
"I plan to keep working on this the rest of my life to make sure that everyone can be safe and live in their community and not locked away in a faraway nursing home, but be involved in their community," he told the Associated Press.
"A Medicaid Victory -- Ala. Youth Wins Battle to Extend Nursing Care for Disabled" (National Public Radio)