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WACO

Many families denied medicaid for sick kids

WACO, TX (KXXV) - Thousands of families across the state have fought to get the equipment and services their sick children need, but dealing with medicaid to get that help has become increasingly difficult. Specialist say that lately the problem is become worse and worse.

13-year-old Corbin Jentho is one of the many children in America that is in need of help from Medicaid. Jentho has a series of health problems from a progressive lung disease to a seizure disorder. His unique medical case has required him to live and sleep in a special bed. 

But as Corbin continues to grow, the bed he needs has begun to breakdown on him. Some problems include tape that holds together a depleted netting, and a protective rail that has lost it's security. Just this week, the unstable rail couldn't keep Corbin inside his bed and he fell out and injured his head. He is injuries were so bad that he had to get head stitched up.

Corbin's mother, Tammy, says situations like this could have been avoided had Medicaid approved a new bed. 

"Now my biggest fear is what if he falls again and is brain damaged because of it," Tammy Jentho said.

During the family's efforts to get a new bed for Corbin, they have run into a road block with Medicaid. Corbin's therapist Julie Melton says it is an issue that many families are having to deal with now. She says this week she has been working on three medicaid appeals and each one has had it's own challenges.

Tammy Jentho says her family has appealed multiple times for the past year and a half, but nothing has worked. Medicaid has approved a bed similar to the one Corbin has now, but his therapist and doctors say he needs something sturdier, which cost more money. Tammy says that every appeal and denial that takes place has taken a tremendous emotional toll on her family.

"It is harder when you are trying to fight for something and it doesn't seem like the people that are supposed to help and supposed to be for him are kinda against you," Jentho said.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says situations like the Jentho's is unique, but their main concern, no matter the case, is to make sure any item or service requested is medically necessary.

"The federal government requires us to find the most economical option that meets the medical need of that person," Commission spokesperson Linda Edwards Gockel said.

Melton says technicalities have prevented the last appeal from going through, but she is optimistic Corbin's next one will be granted. Yet, there is still a growing concern that these issues will continue.

"We have no choice, we have to have a bed for my son. If they deny it again I don't know what we are going to do," Jentho said.
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