Loophole Could Help Seriously Ill Children - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Loophole Could Help Seriously Ill Children

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Due to a rare genetic disorder, 8-month-old Nadia Rodriguez has no working muscles. She will never sit, crawl, walk or talk.

Nadia's 23-year-old mother, Esperanza Valdez, was asked what it was like dealing with a baby with so many medical issues and no insurance to cover them.

"Very hard when you're expecting your first baby you never imagine for them to be sick, maybe a cold. But to find out she's never going to be like your normal baby, it's very hard. It turns your life around," Valdez said.

"Whenever we looked into her eyes, Esperanza's eyes and to see the raw emotion that she had not expected this with her first child that really hit home,"Josh Fultz said. "This is our first child and nothing we ever expected."

Josh and Leigh Ann Fultz know first hand what Esperanza Valdez and her husband are up against.

"I certainly have some ideas now of what it takes to get assistance that families like ours and families like Esperanza and Nadia need" Josh Fultz said.

It took almost four months before doctors were able to diagnose 2-and-a-half-year-old Jayden Fultz.

Like Nadia, Jayden has a rare genetic disorder called CHARGE syndrome. It's left her unable to swallow or eat. She has hearing loss, heart defects and lung disease.

"All of your dreams for your child that you thought you were going to have are no more," Jayden's mother said. "But you build new dreams and you go from there"

The Fultz's contacted FOX 26 Investigates to let Valdez and other parents know how they might qualify for the Medical Dependent Childrens Program offered by the state and funded through Medicaid. The Rider 28 Program is kind of a loophole that allows seriously ill children to qualify by spending less than one day in a nursing home.

At first the Fultz's were skeptical.

"We kind of said you know we are never going to take our kid to a nursing home. Who would do that?" Jayden's father said. "Little did we know we took our kid to a nursing home, and we're telling other parents to take their kids to a nursing home."

Parents who don't know about the Rider 28 Program can wait years before qualifying. Nadia's parents are trying the nursing home loophole and are still waiting on a final decision from Medicaid.

"I don't think that it's all that known and I think the best education you can get is by talking with other parents," Josh Fultz said.

The Fultz's said there are a lot of programs out there to help children like Jayden and Nadia. Parents who want to take advantage of them just need to learn they just can't take no for an answer.

"If another family needs us to grab their hands and provide this information to em we would love to do it, and we want to do it," Josh Fultz said.
 

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