Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our Little Advocate

When Anabelle was hospitalized this past summer, it was discovered that her oxygen dips while she sleeps.  Since then, she has required a nasal canula and 1 liter of oxygen whenever she falls asleep.  In order to take her home from that hospital visit, we needed to arrange for oxygen deliveries to our home.  When we called to arrange that, however, we encountered something unexpected: we were told that Anabelle's Medicaid disability insurance had lapsed.  Since we had sent in all of the renewal paperwork before the due date, and since Anabelle's category of Medicaid is tied to her disability, and not to our family income, we had no idea why this had happened.  However, it needed to be sorted out quickly, because we could not take her home from the hospital until we had the supplies we needed.  Since it is impossible to get through to the Medicaid office on the telephone, I had to leave Anabelle in the hospital and go down to the office.  Once there, I was told that according to their records, we had not turned the paperwork in on time.  While I sat there and argued with them, Brian was able to find the fax record on our computer that date stamped the fax I sent with the renewal paperwork, proving that it was there the week before it was due.  Only after that information surfaced did a supervisor admit to me that the case worker who Anabelle was assigned to had been having some "personal issues", and it appears she did not input the paperwork into the computer in a timely fashion.  We were assigned to a new case worker and her insurance was reinstated.

During this process, we had contacted an advocacy group in case we needed further help in pushing our claim.  We were recently contacted by a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer who had found us through this advocacy group.  He was doing a series of articles on the problems occurring in the Medicaid system, and wanted to use Anabelle as a case study.  Here is a link to the article that appeared today.  Please click on "A father's struggle every day" below the photo of my babies to read Anabelle's story:

http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20120117_Since_August__88_000_Pennsylvania_children_have_lost_Medicaid_benefits.html?viewAll=y

There was also an accompanying press release video.  Anabelle's story begins at the :45 mark:

http://www.philly.com/philly/express/BC1397707459001.html

I can't tell you how proud I am of my little advocate.  We are so lucky to have been given the opportunity to share our story, in the hopes of helping other children.  We were one of the lucky ones: we got our benefits restored, because we knew how to advocate for ourselves.  So many others do not even know that they have rights to fight for.  If you do not fight injustice, then you are an accessory to its perpetuation

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