Severe Brain Injury Under Medicaid: Rita Part Seven
Severe brain injury under Medicaid is limited to how much therapy they will cover and in Rita’s case it was very little considering how severe her brain injury was. At some point, every family realizes that they have to do more than they are going to get from the system. Sadly, for those like our previous interviewee, Steven, if there is no family to help, “necessary but uncovered things” such as in severe brain injury under Medicaid don’t get done. Rita’s Mom explains what they did because severe brain injury under Medicaid is limited:
There’s two things that we did (to help with her therapy because severe brain injury under Medicaid). We hired a musical therapist to come. The first time she came was the 15th of February, and it was amazing.
Of which year? 2010?
Yeah. When she was still on the fifth floor and not getting anything (any therapy because of severe brain injury under Medicaid). She came maybe two times a week, and it really, it really made a difference. You could tell.
What did the music therapist do?
She had an instrument called a key chord where you play music, and what she basically started out doing was all the music that’s embedded in our brain like, Christmas music was the main thing; just songs like, you know, Happy Birthday, things that you just know.
And it, it was amazing how she recognized it. When she did Silent Night, Janelle would always close her eyes when that part came. We were like amazed. But, you could tell she was listening and understood the song. She had told me that the music part of your brain is located right next to your speech center. That’s why music therapy helps so much.
Tell me more about music therapy which severe brain injury under Medicaid would not be covered.
Well look about what happened with Gaby Giffords. That rehabilitation place I saw it on the news. She had music therapy, like right away from the get go. Music is just something that is, brings back a lot of information and memories, and so.
Is it safe to say that your daughter didn’t get quite the resources towards her rehabilitation because of the limitations of severe brain injury under Medicaidas Gaby Gifford did?
Oh, no question. Absolutely no question. She was in some great place for five or six months.
As a Florida real estate broker two years ago you were probably more of a Republican than a Democrat?
I’m an independent.
You got to more of an independent and less of a Republican.
Yeah. That’s for sure. That’s for sure.
Talk about Medicaid.
Oh, don’t get me started.
They talk about Medicaid as if it’s some sort of – they call it an entitlement program. It’s like somehow or other, we’re wasting our money on the undeserving of poor or the severe brain injury under Medicaid.
Medicaid. Well, this is, you just brought up the subject that you have to be, you cannot get Medicare, which I’m hoping might be better than Medicaid. I don’t know. Um, you can’t get that until, uh, for two years.
Yeah. After your, after you start collecting your Social Security disability. So it’s not even two years after your accident. It’s –
So when does she become eligible for Medicare in addition to severe brain injury under Medicaid?
It would be a year from now. It’ll be a year because I didn’t get her, she didn’t get her Social Security disability until July of 2010. So it’s a year after you start getting your Social Security disability. So it has nothing to do when, when you had your accident.
You were saying about severe brain injury under Medicaid.
Medicaid, they’re just very stingy in the State of Florida. First of all, you can’t talk to anybody. There’s nobody to talk to. They do have an 800 number. But you wait forever, and then you probably don’t get your answer. Okay? I don’t want to sound like I’m ungrateful because they did pay for all the bills. I mean, I didn’t even see any of the bills. I don’t know what the bills were.
One of the lawyers told me, keep a notebook of all the bills, which I did. I never added them up. I assume that was all taken care of. It’s just after you’re medically safe and you want to get the person, you know, some kind of life, that they need rehabilitation, that’s when it all starts. So when she went to the nursing home, she, she paid her, her portion. She basically gave her Social Security disability.
It all went to pay for her, the nursing home stay.
One of the oft repeated campaign promises of the 2008 Presidential campaign was that all Americans should get the kind of medical coverage that members of Congress get. Well, that didn’t happen.
Could there be any greater contrast than between the care received by a member of Congress got for her brain injury versus what a Medicaid patient in Florida received? Gabby Giffords versus Rita. Who has the better chance of recovery?
Five months on a general hospital ward floor with no treatment, waiting for a trach to be removed. Then more time in a nursing home before she was deemed eligible for rehab and then six weeks, only three hours a day – and then out.
If we must ration care in our society, the rationing system should favor someone who is only 30 years old. The choice is: a lifetime of recovery or a lifetime of profound disability. We must choose recovery. There is a public movement to occupy Wall Street. Perhaps we in the brain injury community must start to occupy the Hospitals, until someone starts to get it.
Donna Marie Paquette
Memory Loss and Remembrance
I had traumatic brain injury surgery in 2005. Had real bad migraines in my 20s. In 1999 I fell from a 5-foot ceiling and landed on the back of my head. When I was fixing a curtain, my foot slipped and I landed on the back of my head. Although Doctors fixed my broken wrist, elbow and collarbone, they never checked for head injury. The injury went unnoticed for many years. In 2005 I had life threatening surgery for a large Tumor that rendered me unable to walk.
They told my family I might not make it. My surgery took 8 hours and I was in a fight for my life. I was in ICU for 6 weeks. I had patches on my eyes and my head was wrapped and developed amnesia, blurred double vision and low vision. I only see part of the picture. I have Diplopia and was hooked up so many wires even for Breathing.
I could not move and had no memory and my blood pressure was so high that I had burn marks on my face. The priest was with me all the time teaching me how to accept my death. I went to rehab in a wheel chair. After I was stable, I had to relearn everything, how to walk, brush my teeth and even how to talk.
They said I have expressive aphasia speech. I was in rehab for one week. My brain was swelling and bleeding. I was rushed back to the main hospital. They had to give me high doses of steroids. I had to stay in the hospital again. I had to live with family sense I could not live alone. I was in a lot of pain.
I have been living alone now for 4 years. I have a Tumor in my Brain Stem, and my vision got worst. Now I run and dance walk with all my weights. I was in the newspaper a few times as the route 7 dance walker. I am known as the dance walker. I dance walk because of my vision and can kill deadly zones, cancer and other illness. We have to eat healthy and keep moving and think positive. And always have a goal.