Medicaid Cuts Can Affect The Benefits Of Cerebral Palsy Patients
For children with cerebral palsy, early therapy is crucial. Most families rely on Medicaid to help pay for these therapies which can include physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Cost cutting for those who need it the most
However, in South Carolina, many families of children with cerebral palsy are facing a nightmare. Medicaid cuts are being implemented which will limit the amount of therapies children are entitled to.
The cuts, which went into effect on July 18th, will reduce payments to doctors and hospitals by 2 percent for primary physicians to up to 7 percent for physical therapists. This is in addition to earlier cuts, which went into effect in April 2011. The cuts are expected to save the state $125 million.
Parents concerns about needs going unmet
Many parents of children with cerebral palsy are worried about the effect this will have on their children. 2 year-old Andrew has cerebral palsy and goes to therapy appointments four times a week, or over 200 times a year. His mother has noticed that it has improved his gross motor and fine motor skills. Under the new cuts, Andrew will only be eligible for 75 total therapy visits a year.
Emma, also 2 years old, is in a similar position. Her cerebral palsy is not so severe that she will never walk, but only with the help of therapy at least twice a week, exceeding the 75 therapy visits limit.
Reducing wasteful government spending
Medicaid is suggesting that if a family needs more than 75 therapy visits a year, the family, doctor, and therapist can come to the Medicaid agency and make their case for additional hours. By limiting the visit to 75, Medicaid insists they are simply putting up a checkpoint to ensure the therapies are working.
There are certain hospitals that are exempt from the cuts including rural hospitals and critical access hospitals. Parents are fighting a battle to find the care for their children that they believe will allow for an easier and more enjoyable life.