57.3 F
Fort Worth
Friday, November 27, 2020
Government Texas moving forward with budget cuts for disabled kids' therapy services

Texas moving forward with budget cuts for disabled kids’ therapy services

Other News

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....

Tradition stymied: A year unlike any since WWII for Augusta

The Masters is so intertwined with Augusta, they added an extra day to spring break.You see, the first full week of April isn't just...

More than a year after lawmakers originally ordered it, Texas announced Monday it will enact significant cuts to the money that it pays therapists who treat vulnerable children with disabilities in two weeks. 

Medicaid reimbursement rates are used to pay for pediatric therapy services provided to disabled babies and toddlers. Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, said that Texas will apply cuts on Medicaid rates on Dec. 15 in attempt to achieve savings directed by the Texas Legislature in 2015. 

“The most important job we have is making sure kids have the services they need and that we are responsible with taxpayer dollars,” Williams said in an e-mail. “We will monitor the reduction of rates to ensure access to care is not impacted and that Texans around the state receive the much-needed therapies required to improve their lives.” 

A group of concerned Texans last year filed a lawsuit seeking to block the $350 million cut to Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, from taking effect. That group included speech, physical and occupational therapy providers and the families of children who receive their service. They argued that the cuts were so steep that providers would have to close their businesses and forgo seeing as many as 60,000 children. 

In September, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear their case, upholding a lower court’s ruling that the lawsuit lacked standing. 

The commission and several health insurers with state contracts have spent the last year arguing that the cuts will not cause children to lose access to services. State officials point to a state-commissioned study that found in-home therapy providers were overpaid by Medicaid when compared to other public insurance programs. 

But Stephanie Rubin, chief executive of the advocacy group Texans Care for Children, said in an e-mailed statement that schools will now have more students who will struggle in classrooms and need expensive special education services.  

“This is terrible news for Texas kids with disabilities and developmental delays and their families,” Rubin said. “Kids with autism, speech delays, Down syndrome, and other disabilities and delays rely on these therapies to learn to walk, communicate with their families, get ready for school, and meet other goals.” 

The advocacy group recently released a report outlining how enrollment in the state’s Early Childhood Intervention program, which provides therapy services for for babies and toddlers with disabilities, dropped 14 percent from 2011 to 2015 after continued funding cuts and policy changes.  

In the statement, Rubin called on Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and legislators to stop the cuts before they take effect.  

“Our most vulnerable children and their struggling families should not bear the brunt of this shortsighted and cruel budget decision,” Rubin said. “Texans are watching to see what state leaders do to protect services for these kids.” 

John Branham, spokesman for Any Baby Can, a nonprofit provider in the state’s Early Childhood Intervention program, said the state’s cuts would likely amount to a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in support for the organization. 

“We either close that gap or evaluate whether or not our program will be sustainable,” Branham said. “By taking therapies away from children, you’re not solving a problem, you’re just pushing a problem down the line. We’re trying to get these children school ready. The problem is not going to go away.” 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2016/11/28/texas-quietly-moves-forward-cuts-therapy-services/.


close






Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest News

JRB Fort Worth chosen for main operating base for C-130J aircraft

Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth has been selected as a main operating base for eight C-130J aircraft at the 136th Airlift...

3rd major COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective and cheaper

By DANICA KIRKA Associated PressLONDON (AP) — Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects...

Tarrant County DA’s office changing how it handles misdemeanor marijuna cases

The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is changing how it handles misdemeanor marijuana cases. The Tarrant County  Criminal District Attorney’s Office on Monday, Nov....

Arlington selects new police chief from Baltimore department

Col. Al Jones, a 25-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, has been appointed the new police chief of the the City of...

These health care workers will be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine

Health care workers will be the first people in Texas to receive a COVID-19 vaccine once one receives emergency approval from the U.S. government,...