Jenna holds a bag of empty prescription bottles from the last six months.
Medicaid is vital to the wellbeing of many Nebraskans with disabilities. "Medicaid Works" is intended to promote an accurate picture of the many ways this essential program supports thousands of Nebraskans every day.
“Medicaid Works” was completed in partnership with the Munroe-Meyer Institute and Nebraska Appleseed. This project is supported in part by the Nebraska Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities and the federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities funds awarded to Nebraska Appleseed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Cindy Holdforth has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder that severely affects her digestive system, lungs, and other body systems. Her 18-year-old twins, Ethan and Claire, were born prematurely and have inherited the condition. They have struggled with epilepsy, asthma, and chronic joint pain. Ethan has been diagnosed with autism, and Claire has partial hearing loss and mild cerebral palsy. The youngest Holdforth, 13-year old Jenna, was adopted through foster care. Like the twins, Jenna was born prematurely and has significant medical needs. She uses a feeding tube for nutrition and for medications to treat her chronic kidney disease. Medicaid has covered the family's significant healthcare costs, giving them the opportunity to focus on other meaningful pursuits.
Shown here, Cindy must use a feeding tube to ensure that she gets proper nutrition throughout the day.
When one of her feeding tubes dislodged, Medicaid covered Cindy's trip to the hospital to have the problem corrected, alleviating her discomfort and ensuring the family's vacation could proceed as planned.
Medicaid covered the CPAP device that Ethan uses to manage his sleep apnea and ensure that he gets the restful sleep he requires as a young adult.
Cindy broke her pelvis earlier this year and currently sleeps in a hospital bed in the family's living room.
Cindy explains, "with the children's constant health issues, every month we were having to decide whether to fill prescriptions, pay the rent, or buy food." Thanks to Medicaid, the family's economic situation has stabilized, and she and her husband are now proud homeowners.
The Medicaid waiver allows Logan to live at home with his family while providing for many of the medical necessities he requires, such as diapers and an adaptive toileting chair.
When Logan Ohlman was born in July 2001, he contracted a septic infection caused by enterovirus. As a result, he suffered permanent neurological damage causing significant intellectual and developmental impairments. In March 2012, Logan was diagnosed with fulminate liver failure and underwent a transplant soon after. The procedure was covered by the family's insurance and the Medicaid Aged and Disabled waiver. Despite the challenges they have faced together, Logan's mother, stepfather, and three siblings cherish every moment spent with him.
A netted bed prevents Logan from wandering off during the night.
Logan keeps his family on their toes, but they are committed to ensuring he grows up in his own home as part of his family and community.
Logan loves to be part of the action. He recently began to engage in short conservations and pick up on social cues - something his mother was told would never happen.
"Life with Logan has been an amazing, joyous, exhausting, uphill roller-coaster ride. It has been an experience I would never take back. Medicaid has allowed us to enjoy our life with him." - Logan's mother, Dani
JaToya McIntosh is a strong, independent single mother of two boys, ages 9 and 4. She currently serves as an AmeriCorps member at the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute. JaToya has Spastic Paraplegia, a degenerative genetic condition affecting her lower limbs and progressively impairing her mobility. She was told she would not walk past the age of 18, but 33-year-old JaToya prides herself on the fact that she can still walk - even if only for short distances. Her youngest son, Jarez, is also affected by the condition. Fortunately, Medicaid covers physical therapy and other services and supplies the family needs to stay healthy and active.
Jarez requires leg braces that help him run and play as well as any other child.
"Medicaid pays for my son's pull-ups, his eyeglasses, medicine, physical therapy, and doctor's appointments." - JaToya McIntosh
Although JaToya cannot walk for long distances, she still finds plenty of ways for the family to stay active and have fun.
"Jarez can do anything as well as a typical developing 4-year-old. He just needs additional supports. Medicaid helps provide these." - JaToya McIntosh
Without these services under Medicaid, Jody would be unable to live alone, and would likely be confined to a costly nursing home.
Jody Faltys is a fiercely independent woman who became disabled at the age of four after being crushed by a falling tractor tire while rescuing her older sister from the tire's path. Medicaid has allowed her to maintain her independence throughout life. Jody attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she earned a degree in English. She enjoys reading and uses an ipad to blog and edit books.
Jody's disability qualifies her for personal assistant services under Medicaid. Her caretakers visit several times each day to help her get in and out of bed, prepare meals, and perform other essiential tasks.
Two of Jody's caretakers have been working with her for over 15 years now. Not surprisingly, they've become like family to her.
Medicaid is Jody's lifeline to her community, offering the support she needs to live independently.
"Medicaid helps me live my life to the fullest and as close to able-bodied as possible." - Jody
These services allow Sean and other adults with developmental disabilites gain job skills and earn wages while preforming needed tasks.
Under Medicaid, Sean receives day services from a developmental disabilities (DD) provider that contracts with companies who need help with various tasks.
Sean Smith is a 25-year-old man from Omaha who was born with Down Syndrome. His behavioral issues presented challenges early on in life. As his father recalls, Sean was "kicked out" of several child care centers when the providers found it difficult to meet his needs. Once Sean was approved for a Medicaid waiver, he was able to access the services he needed to develop skills to control his behaviors, enjoy his youth, and being preparing for adulthood. Today, Sean participates in supported employment and enjoys spending time with his peers.
"Medicaid has allowed us to consistently ensure Sean's health and developmental needs were met. It's a program I will always be grateful for; it let us be a family despite the challenges of his disability." - Sean's father, Mark