Fort Worth, Texas,
09
January
2018
|
10:01 PM
America/Chicago

‘CHIP Saved US’

Mother talks importance of Children’s Health Insurance Program

Lynn Jankowiak wonders where her son Michael would be without the benefits provided by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Michael, who is 24 now, stopped moving his extremities at the age of 18 months and was diagnosed with a debilitating form of cerebral palsy.

Lynn describes her first few months after she learned Michael had cerebral palsy as “fuzzy.” She lived in a terrified blur of emotions and cried for the first year after learning of his diagnosis.

But through her tears Lynn kept her resolve, beginning with one decision – Michael would be transferred from the family home in Abilene to Fort Worth to be treated by Cook Children’s. They then moved to Fort Worth to stay closer to Cook Children’s.

“To see your baby crawling, trying to learn to walk and then all of a sudden he’s not moving, was horrible,” Lynn said. “We insisted he be transferred. If he had not gotten transferred Michael would not be alive. I believe that with all my heart. I would not go anywhere else.”

The first month he stayed in the Pediatric ICU. Since then Michael's been seen by a plethora of specialties at Cook Children's, including Infectious Disease, Neurosciences, the Heart Center, Radiology, Surgery and Rehabilitation Services for issues ranging from pneumonia to cerebral palsy.

Lynn stopped working to stay home with Michael and her early attempts to get her son on Medicaid were declined.

“We got a letter that said because Medicaid had turned us down he was automatically approved for CHIP. I believe we were waiting to get on [Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP)]. Considering Michael’s extensive needs (medications, tube feeding supplies and everything else), CHIP saved us,” Lynn said. “There were prescription co-pays but they were very reasonable, and we were able to continue seeing doctors at Cook Children’s.”

Without CHIP, Michael may not have received the care he needed to cover the multiple specialties he required as a young child.

Currently, CHIP funding expired almost 100 days ago. While Congress recently provided temporary funding to the United States, many are likely to run out of funds and will send termination notices in the coming weeks to children’s hospital patients and others who have CHIP.

To learn more how you can help #SaveCHIP and “Speak Now For Kids”, visit this site to learn more.

“It was a long time ago when we needed CHIP,” Lynn said. “I do remember feeling so proud that Texas would never let a child go uninsured. Clearly things have changed. It took about five years for Michael to get on MDCP and then at that time, he became eligible for Medicaid. I am not sure I would have been able to keep Michael alive without CHIP.”

To learn more about Michael’s story, click here.

#SaveCHIP

Help protect working families and take action by ensuring CHIP funding continues for at least five years. Contact your member of Congress to #SaveCHIP at http://bit.ly/2krhwyj. A number of states will run out of CHIP funding in the coming weeks, meaning millions of kids may lose their health coverage this winter. Over one million children in Texas are enrolled in CHIP annually. We are joing other children's hospitals across the country to ask Congress to pass a bipartisan, five-year extension of CHIP immediately. Click here to learn more

Comments 1 - 6 (6)
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Misty Lemons
11
January
2018
CHIP is such an important program for children and their families. It literally saves lives. Please, keep the CHIP program in place, for the sake of children.
Lydia Hamlet
11
January
2018
Chips has helped a lot with medical to the ones that really need it. They should not get rid of this due to kids with chronic illnesses that can't afford medical . They can't help they have a chronic illness.
Terry Boggs
11
January
2018
I serve as a chaplain in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU, which includes the neuro-PICU), at Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX. During the past ten years of my full-time chaplaincy here there have been 1600-2000 children per year cared for in our PICU. I have the privilege of accompanying these children and their families through very difficult times, with 97% of these children leaving our ICU to continue their healing and going home to be with their friends and families. Without CHIP assistance many of these children would die or they would not have access to the medical interventions they deserve for healthy life. Please come to our medical center and journey with us for a day or so to see the incredible benefits of CHIP support in the lives of working families. I have so many stories to share. Our PICU physicians and staff are gifted and excellent at what they are called to do on behalf of others. The promise of Cook Children's begins with these words: "Knowing that each child's life is sacred, Cook Children's promises..." We consider this work towards healing, even in rare times when cure is not achievable, to be a sacred calling and a God-given right as stewards of the whole creation. We, as a publically accountable community of care and healing, have discussed, organized, cried for, supported and worked for the day when wonderful health care would be available to all children in our region. CHIP is at the heart of this effort. To not fund, or to remove the support of CHIP, is unconscionable. I hope you will work hard on behalf of all children in our state to fully fund the CHIP program in Texas and to be a reflection of light on behalf of children throughout the United States and its territories. We are great. . .will we also be good? I pray we will continue to find a way!
Ann Jimenez
11
January
2018
Save chips!!
Janet Harris
11
January
2018
Please reestablish the CHIP program to help children and their families keep their child alive. This should not be negotiable. Life is precious and the children who need financial help should not have to go through a hassle of any kind to get it.
Hopefully the United States can comprehend this need and fulfill it! It's a priority!
Della Purdin
11
January
2018
It is ridiculous that we should have to sign petitions to cover our children.