There are new proposed guidelines for Arkansas’s Medicaid Program, and a local mother now saying her 17-year-old autistic son will not be able to get the amount of therapy he needs.
If approved the new Medicaid plan would reduce the amount of therapies for children with special needs to just 25 one hour sessions down from unlimited number of 90 minute sessions.
One Rogers mom is not happy.
Veronica Alzaga is the mother of 17-year-old Esteban. She says that unlimited group therapy has made her autistic son progress more than she ever expected.
“They reduce the time for therapies they reduce his life, before he take the therapies the kids that have autism they don’t like other people. So, when he’s taking the therapies he’s more available to be in school,” Veronica said.
If Esteban’s 90 minute therapy sessions are cut to an hour and are limited to only a couple dozen, his mom believes he will revert back a couple years.
State Representative Charlie Collins says Medicaid was reworked to cut tax dollars.
“So we’re making so big progress to support tax payers and enable us to keep these programs sustainable, because obviously if tax payers can not afford to pay for these services there wont be any services for individuals,” Collins said.
Collins also said there is a loophole for parents who don’t think 25 sessions a year will be enough.
If a doctor believes the child will regress they can request and extended amount of sessions, and those concerned about these cut backs have created a petition in opposition to the changes.
J.R. Davis, Governor’s Spokesman gave this statement about the new Medicaid plan:
“First and foremost, the Governor understands and appreciates the concerns shared by these families. Parents of children with disabilities are amazing people who will stop at nothing to protect their children or to acquire the services their children need, and that’s not an easy thing to do. The last thing we want is to make it more difficult for families to provide that necessary care. In fact, the goal of this proposed rule change is to ensure the continuity of these services for those who need them, while protecting the integrity of the Medicaid program for generations to come.”