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I know you mentioned doing a story about me and my son.
There has been an unexpected development recently. My husband and I are suing the state of Illinois.
As part of the adoption subsidy for adopting an older child, we received a Medicaid card for him. When we tried to get funding for his treatment (which is now $150,000 per yr), our private insurer and Medicaid would not cover treatment and were turned down for the ICG grant. That is how he once again became a ward of the state.
A few months ago, I found out that Medicaid should have covered it all along and we never should have lost custody. There is a Medicaid provision called EPSDT (Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment) which says that “if a practitioner of the healing arts deems that a treatment is medically necessary, Medicaid must provide it” It is not an option, it is an entitlement. Essentially, the state of IL has robbed us of custody of our son, illegally.
There were a few meetings surrounding this topic which included county mental health boards, providers, advocacy groups, state departments, and senatorial staff. About a month ago, I went with two county mental health presidents to see one of Governor Quinn‘s, top staffers, Michael Gelder (who lives in Evanston). He was mortified at what is happening, and told us to work with HFS. I also talked about a proposal for making a plea to the federal government for more money for adoption preservation, which he liked.
If HFS will license Chaddock (where Dan is) as a PRTF (psychiatric residential treatment facility), his Medicaid card will cover, and we should be able to fight for custody in Juvenile court. At the 2nd and final EPSDT meeting, HFS made clear they are dragging their feet on it and nothing will happen anytime soon. In the two months since the first meeting, one family had also lost custody, another may lose her daughter in October, and two other families are on the verge of losing theirs. Also one mom is being threatened to have her rights terminated all together. The states attorney does not think a single mom can manage a boy with schizophrenia and bipolar, but she adotped him at age 3 and he’s been with her for 10 years. It was also at this meeting that Michael Gelder agreed to ask Governor Quinn for an Executive Order for a task force to resolve this isssue.
So, we are suing to get Dan’s treatment paid for by Medicaid. Then we intend to petition to regain custody in Juvenile Court.
The lawyer filing suit is Aaron Rapier, Collins Law, in Naperville. Mark Heyrman has agreed to consult and testify. Mark is a UIC Clinical Law Professor and the front line person on mental health in Illinois.
Aaron is planning a timely date for filing the suit. He wants to hit it on a good day. He will be doing a large media press release. They may consider a press conference at their office. This is slated for later this week or early next week.
TV-one of the Nebraska families has already been filmed by 20/20 and it is set to air soon. I was contacted by two separate groups regarding Oprah. One came through the head attorney at NAMI, Washington DC, and the other through Mark Heyrman from their contact in Alexandria, VA. It will be a national focus on Oprah, but Mark is pushing to get an Illinois family on the show. I haven’t heard any more lately.
We sense this will all hit the media at once.
George suggested I give you a heads up about all this publicity. Maybe the papers will print it, maybe they won’t, but everyone seems to think press will help the cause.
Just wanted to give you an update.
Take good care, Toni Hoy