Debbie is a single mother with four adult children who has dedicated her life to ensuring her boys are well taken care of. Debbie works full time and needs reliable and consistent staffing to care for Andrew, her now 36 year old son with Autism. Medicaid has alleviated a lot of worry for Debbie and her family. Andrew’s autism spectrum includes sensory integration disorder, retained tonic reflex, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, so he requires around the clock support to help him live safely and do daily activities.
Medicaid and Social Security Income (SSI) help Andrew get the medical care and prescriptions he needs, home health care assistance (when available), as well as behavioral therapy, including working with horses and walking trails – both activities Andrew thoroughly enjoys.
Unfortunately, more trials and tribulations hit the family when they lost their home and all their belongings in a house fire in January 2020. An outpouring of support occurred at the beginning of the year immediately following the fire but once the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the family has been struggling. Trying to navigate the home insurance, home construction timeline, and renting a local townhome has been difficult to say the least, “Andrew is my bliss. I put a twin bed next to my desk and he waits for me to get done work.”
With all of the changes and protocols, Andrew and Debbie still struggle finding qualified home health care workers who are critical to Andrew’s health and safety, “Without this consistency he regresses and becomes extremely isolated and dependent, and his chronic anxiety is exacerbated by the continual lack of staff. Most importantly, this severely impacts my ability to work and provide for him, as I am often forced to replace absentee staff in order to maintain his progress.”
Andrew and Debbie are not alone in this battle for protecting their families and gaining access to life saving services via Medicaid. Approximately 30% of West Virginians rely on the services of Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These mountaineers understand and acknowledge the struggles they face daily but are also grateful for the services provided by the West Virginian social safety net programs.