Posted on November 30, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 14 of 17 in the series Rita

Wheel Chairs are Rationed: Rita Part Fourteen

I met Rita’s mom at the “Jamboree”, an annual get together of the Florida Brain Injury Association.  The Jamboree is held each June.  My interview was done June 23, 2011. In part fourteen we talked about how they requested a special kind of wheel chair for Rita and she will have to wait for it.

You had the jamboree last week and you were part of the caregiver’s portion, weren’t you?


Were you the person who asked what state would be the best to move to if you were on Medicaid?

I’m interested in finding out because I’m not from Florida.  As I mentioned I’m from, we’re from Virginia.  I’m looking into right now what kind of services they might have up there.  It’s very difficult to find out though.  It just really is.

State’s don’t want to advertise if they have better benefits than other states.

Yeah I know so, there’s as far as I can see there’s not too much here.  Now we had a horrible issue with her wheel chair and Medicaid.  We are trying to get the Dynabox system, do you know what that is that people use?

What is it?

It’s, it’s an unbelievable computer that will hook onto the whee lchair. It’s made for people that are disabled and you can just touch things.  I don’t know all that it does.  I’m told that the learning curve is, is kind of difficult but they’ll have somebody come over and train us to set it up for her.  I think it can even be a phone and it just it sounds really cool but they’re saying no she can’t have it, no she can’t have it.

Talk to me for a few minutes about what you would say to a legislator who’s considering eliminating Medicaid or cutting it back further.  Or perhaps making Medicaid better. Why does Medicaid need to be improved, not cut, but improved?  Why is this a deserving program?

Oh gosh, I just don’t even know if I can answer that to be perfectly honest.  I personally don’t feel I’m involved in a Medicaid program, okay?  I, I really don’t.

Because they don’t provide you with anything?

That is correct.  We try to get a wheel chair for her  They came out and measured it.  We never got it.  We’re not going to get it.  They gave us a loaner chair.

They gave us a loaner chair.  This company just gave us a loaner chair.  So much time went by they said oh well it’s not a loaner wheel chair anymore.  So that’s the chair she has even though it doesn’t fit her so now I’m trying to get the different parts.

How expensive is the wheel chair?

It’s expensive.  It’s, you’ll see it.  It’s a tilt-n-space type of  wheel chair.  I think they cost like $5,000.00.  Um, I’ve been trying to get –

What about the fancy controls on this type of wheel chair?

They just now said that, she can get that, just found out so the company called.  They said that we have not met our share of costs for June so we have to pay for it.  Now I’ve sent in a bunch of stuff, you know, that eye doctor we saw cost $400.00.  The glasses are costing $300.00.  That’s $700.00.  I saw, I’ve paid over the share of costs.

The thing I don’t know is what does Medicaid, what do they consider, I send in everything that we’re spending money on as far as medical or doctors or anything that’s helping her get better because. Not really everything, I’m not sending in, you know, the food I’m spending or the money I’m spending on food but anything medically and I, I don’t know what they cover or not.  Every now and then I’ll get a letter that says okay you’ve met your share of costs for this month.  Okay great.

Next in Part Fifteen – The Need for a List of Resources

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447