Part 2 of Cole's Story
Stephanie Geraghty and her husband Brian are parents to 3 children, Caden (10), Cole (7), and Hailey (4). Cole requires more health care services than his brother and sister due to spinal muscular atrophy. While the family has TRICARE coverage through Dad’s Marine Corps service, Cole also qualifies for Medicaid because of his needs. Yesterday, Stephanie talked about learning of Cole’s condition and some Medicaid benefits that helped him. Today, she’ll talk more about the family’s move to Colorado and how Medicaid has helped Cole.
Whenever a military family receives orders and moves to a new duty station, one of the biggest tasks is “starting over” in every aspect of life. Establishing new medical providers, therapies and IEPs for a child with exceptional needs adds an extra layer of stress. When we received orders to Colorado in 2015, we were very concerned about making that transition smooth for Cole. We really loved Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and Cole had never been seen by anyone else. We worried a different hospital would pale in comparison.
Thankfully, Colorado Children's Hospital has been nothing less than incredible! Cole has had seven procedures there, attends Muscle Clinic twice a year, and sees a myriad of wonderful specialists.
During those visits at Colorado Children’s, we were introduced to great support groups in the area and resources like Medicaid. We were excited to learn that Medicaid could provide additional support, such as nursing care. Cole has a lot of basic daily living needs, including assistance with accessibility, equipment, meals, toileting, bathing, hygiene, and dressing. Medicaid allots Cole 35 hours of nursing care weekly based on his needs. This care could be provided by a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and that individual could be an immediate family member if they were certified. Because of this option, my husband and I made a decision that I would attend school and become Cole’s CNA to improve my ability to provide care.
We feel blessed by these wonderful benefits, but we’re also forward-thinking and planning for the future. My husband retires from 20 years of Marine Corps service next summer and that will incite a lot of changes as we start over one last time. We will forfeit our ECHO benefit upon retirement and TRICARE retired insurance will invoke more costs. There are also disheartening propositions circulating about changing laws that would reduce Medicaid benefits. It’s becoming clear that our health care benefits will decrease in the near future, meanwhile, Cole’s needs will increase based on the nature of his disease. We are still very excited about retirement, yet we are also very concerned with all these unknowns and the prospect of inadequate benefits.
Being a military family and facing Cole’s disease has certainly presented us with additional challenges over the years, but finding resources has been key to our ability to overcome. Brian and I will continue to meet our vow of not letting Cole’s disease hinder his goals, but we hope that’s not at the mercy of less than adequate health care insurance. We pray that our government can recognize the importance of supporting our military and special needs families by preserving their quality of life through appropriate and adequate health care. Medicaid has been a great benefit to our family and we hope other families across the nation can access these benefits too, which they both need and deserve.