Alabama Teenager To Continue Receiving In-Home Nursing
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 28, 2005
MOBILE, ALABAMA--Chalk another one up to the power of the media and advocates to change and save lives.
The Alabama Medicaid Agency has decided to change its regulations and allow 13-year-old Lauren Rainey and dozens of other people like her to continue receiving in-home nursing care, WPMI-TV reported Saturday.
The girl, who is deaf, and has asthma, an enlarged heart, scoliosis, and other medical conditions, also has a very small airway, requiring her to use an oxygen machine and humidifying mist machine. Her airway has to be suctioned several times an hour to keep her from suffocating.
The Mobile television station reported in November that Lauren was going to lose the 10 hours of daily nursing services she needed to be able to stay at home. Her doctor said that if Lauren lost her in-home care, her condition would deteriorate quickly and her life would be at risk.
The state's Medicaid Medical Director had decided that Lauren's funding would be cut because her condition was stable. Only people whose medical conditions are worsening were eligible for in-home nursing care, Dr. Mary McIntyre told a reporter.
After the story was aired locally and distributed around the world via email and the Internet, the station and the Medicaid office were flooded with messages supporting Lauren and her family.
It also got the attention of the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, which agreed to represent the family in its fight against Medicaid.
In the brief story over the weekend, WPMI noted that the agency had completed a 90-day investigation period and decided to change its rules so that Lauren and dozens others would continue to receive the help they need. The story did not explain the rule change, nor did it indicate who would be effected.
The new rules will go into effect in May.
In March of 2001, Nick Dupree, another Alabaman who uses a ventilator, launched a successful campaign to get Medicaid to pay for his in-home services after he turned 21, along with those of 29 other people in the same situation.
"A Medicaid policy under review - Lauren Rainey and other children wait in the wings" (WJTC-TV)
"Nick Dupree's Crusade Pays Off" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)