Medical Motherhood
Medical Motherhood
Could your school be getting more health care dollars from Medicaid?
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Could your school be getting more health care dollars from Medicaid?

Listen to the story I co-reported for National Public Radio

A NPR news article titled “Schools could be getting millions more from Medicaid. Why aren’t they?” from Aug. 24, 2023. Co-reported by Shasta Kearns Moore and Emily Harris with a 7-minute radio story. The featured picture is of a blond woman watching as her brunette daughter looks at her eye gaze machine from a red chair.
Screenshot from NPR.org webpage of the story on Medicaid money in schools that I co-reported with Emily Harris.

I had a long commute in high school. Since she worked near my school, my mom would drive me the 30 or so minutes every morning, but I would have to take a 2-hour bus ride home. We could never agree on the music. She wanted to listen to Oldies or Classic Rock, but I wanted to listen to Alternative or Pop.

There was one thing we finally agreed on: National Public Radio.

I had known I wanted to be a writer since the age of 6. But after a couple of years of listening to NPR with my mom on my way to school, that was when I decided to be a journalist.

So it is with great pleasure and absolutely no attempt at playing it cool that I announce that I officially have a byline on NPR!!! I only wish my mom were still alive to see it.

I even recorded two radio thingies — one was a 50-second spot that people have told me actually played on Oregon Public Broadcasting, but I have yet to hear. The other was a 3-minute interview with Leila Fadel for the Up First podcast, but that unfortunately got bumped for breaking news.

This story and its reach would not have been possible without my friend and Medical Motherhood subscriber Emily Harris. (For those who aren’t huge public radio nerds like me, she is kind of a big deal! Now at Axios Portland, Emily hosted Think Out Loud on OPB for several years, then covered the Middle East for NPR and until recently reported in-depth pieces for Reveal.) She recognizes all of the underreported stories in this medical motherhood space and has been a huge supporter of getting them out in the world.

And that has truly been the best part about this NPR story: seeing and hearing how much it has resonated with the audience.

It was not an easy story to report. Much like the Special Needs World web of bureaucracy that ensnares parents of disabled children, even basic questions took an exceedingly long time and several rounds of back and forth to answer. Several reporting routes were simply dead ends. But, in the end — and with the able help of NPR Editor Nicole Cohen, and our patient sources — we managed to put together a report that shows the logistics, emotion and complexity in offering Medicaid funding for school-based services.

Still haven’t read it? You are in luck! NPR is giving me special permission to read the entire web story for my podcast listeners. Just scroll up and push play.

If you prefer a written version, head to this link:

Schools could be getting millions more from Medicaid. Why aren't they?

I also highly recommend listening to Emily’s 7-minute story. Just click the blue play button above the adorable picture of medical mama Jenny Eckart Hoyt and her daughter Winnie. You can also read her more Oregon-centric version on Axios.

I plan to continue expanding on this coverage. If you like that idea, your subscriptions allow me to prioritize that work.

The U.S. Department of Education is proposing a controversial idea to skip the parental consent requirement for Medicaid services in schools. Proponents say it will streamline the process and get kids access without additional paperwork for busy parents. But others worry it’s a way for the government to overstep in a child’s health decisions. In any event, it is already a hot controversy in the special education space. Follow along by subscribing to Medical Motherhood and asking your friends to subscribe as well:

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Medical Motherhood’s news round up

Snippets of news and opinion from outlets around the world. Click the links for the full story.

• From Spectrum News (New York): “Two-thirds of schools are not fully accessible to those with physical disabilities, report finds

[…]A new report from Advocates for Children found that two-thirds of the city’s public schools are not fully accessible to people with physical disabilities.

There are more than 1,400 school buildings in [New York City], some of them housing multiple schools.

This school year:

• Only 34% of those school buildings are fully accessible

• Nearly 20% are partially accessible

• Almost 5% are not fully accessible, but are in the pipeline for improvements

• And 41% of buildings are fully or functionally inaccessible.

AFC uses the term functionally inaccessible for buildings a wheelchair user may be able to enter, but which doesn’t offer any classrooms on the first floor, meaning they’re not an educational option for those students.

A partially accessible school has classrooms a child can access, but they may be cut off from huge parts of the building.

“You might be able to get in the door, but there might be whole areas of the building that are totally off limits. So you can’t get into the science lab. You can’t take that class or you can’t participate in certain clubs. You aren’t a full member of the school community,” [Sarah Part, senior policy analyst at Advocates for Children,] said.

While the numbers are stark, they represent an improvement from 2018 — when AFC found just 19.5% of schools fully accessible. That, along with a 2015 investigation from then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, spurred the city to invest $750 million in its capital plan to make improvements. […]

• From Home Health Care News: “Home-Based Care Providers Break Down ‘Unintended Consequences’ Of CMS’ Proposed Medicaid Rule

A proposed rule from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – which would require at least 80% of Medicaid reimbursement for home- and community-based services go toward worker compensation – received over 2,100 submissions during its public comment period.

Many of the comments included gratitude and appreciation for CMS regarding its efforts to enhance the HCBS workforce. But concerns persist over how the rule would affect HCBS providers across the country.

[…]Like many of his colleagues across the industry, [Addus HomeCare Corporation Executive Vice President Darby] Anderson wrote and reiterated what others have told Home Health Care News when the proposed rule came out: that implementing a standard minimum percentage threshold without studying the potential impacts of the 80% rule will likely result in unintended consequences.

Those consequences could include smaller providers going out of business and larger providers leaving certain markets, thus reducing access to care.

[…]More clarity on what CMS ultimately plans to do should come in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

• From The Oklahoma City Sentinel: “Accessible Smart Home technology available for Oklahomans with disabilities

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Human Services, in collaboration with ABLE Techand Bethany Children’s Health Center, have opened two Smart Home demonstration sites to showcase remote support and enabling technologies for families on the Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) waitlist, as well as families already on DDS waiver services.

A Smart home allows individuals to control appliances, thermostats, lights, and other devices remotely using a smartphone or tablet connected to the internet.

[…]The home also features assistive technologies, such as wheelchair ramps, a roll-in shower and widened doorways to increase accessibility and safety.

[…]The Smart Home features enabling technologies designed for remotely controlling appliances, dispensing medications and detecting seizures, the result being increased safety and convenience for the user. From video doorbells to induction stovetops and grab bars, these technologies empower individuals with disabilities to navigate their daily routines with greater confidence.

In addition, the Smart Home offers remote support options, as well, highlighting how the increased independence afforded by these technologies allows for individuals to be supported by off-site staff rather than in-home care. […]


Medical Motherhood brings you quality news and information each Sunday for raising disabled and neurodivergent children. Get it delivered to your inbox each week or give a gift subscription. Subscriptions are free, with optional tiers of support. Thank you to our paid subscribers!

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