Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Hampshire budget cuts may mean loss of services for people with disabilities there

From NECN in Manchester, N.H.

New Hampshire lawmakers are racing toward a June 1 deadline to close a massive budget gap. Families who have handicapped loved ones are hoping they do not get left behind, as they are already struggling with cuts to services.

Yvie Livernois was born with renal failure and had a kidney transplant at two-years-old. Now, 10, she is hearing and vision impaired, suffers from cerebral palsy and has lung damage.

A private insurance company covers most of her care, but Medicaid picks up a handful of supplies, like her respirator, feeding tube and the wheelchair that has been modified many times.

She needs this equipment to live. The state has just cut its Medicaid reimbursement to medical equipment providers to cost plus 10%.

The cut is one of many instituted April 1 at the Department of Health and Human Services as it tries to trim costs in the midst of New Hampshire's fiscal crisis. It has left medical equipment providers with a tough decision.