Monday, November 16, 2009

CDREA posts DOH and DHS decisions that benefit Hawaii's disability community

The Children's Disability Rights Education Association (CDREA) yesterday posted information from two Hawaii  appeals hearings that hold out potential benefits for thousands of the state's QExA 1115 Experimental Project participants.

Both decisions were in response to an appeal made on behalf of a Kauai child against a unilateral 15% cut in her home nursing decisions that was to have gone into effect on February 1.  The cut was instituted against all participants in Hawaii's Developmental Disability 1915(c) Medicaid waiver program, regardless of need.

The written decision by the Hawaii Department of Health hearings officer may open the door for all services that were cut to be reinstated immediately.  The "informational note" by the state Department of Human Services" acknowledges the responsibility of the 1115 Experimental Program (QExA) to pay for assistive and augmentative communications devices.

UnitedHealth Group and WellCare Health, owners of the two for-profit health insurance companies providing all the Medicaid QExA services, have begun a new round of drastic cuts.

The cuts are severe enough to appear to violate Hawaii's contract with the federal Medicaid regulatory agency.  Yet the feds are doing nothing to stop this.

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About Me

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.