2016 Community Benefit Report CHAI_160088756_2016 Community Benefit Report_FIN - - Page 6

Nearly 50% of patients rely on some form of Medicaid coverage. All the Care Jude Needs Medicaid Provides Access for Most Vulnerable Kids Jude Smith, 5 years old, demonstrates the elevator buttons. The number 7 goes to his grandma’s apartment, where he’s lived with his mom, Alita Smith, nearly all his life. Inside, Jude kicks off his shoes, orthotic sneakers that help to correct his gait problems. They’re one of many small reminders of Jude’s neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1, a genetic mutation whose symptoms can range from mild to profound. They’re also one of many expenses covered by Medicaid. Jude’s case is complex: hydrocephaly, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, brain tumors and moyamoya, a rare condition that constricts the vasculature in his brain, putting him at high risk for stroke. For all these complications, Jude needs a lot of care. He gets twice-yearly MRIs and consultations with neurosurgeons every two months. He has physical and occupational therapy multiple times a week. He’s at Children’s Hospital Colorado so often he doesn’t even have a regular pediatrician. “We’ve seen specialists out the wazoo,” says Alita. “He has a lot of diagnoses, and he takes meds for all of them. I think at the high point the cost of his medication was up to $2,000 per month — all paid for by Medicaid. I honestly don’t know what we’d do without it.” 6 Even commercial insurance would likely cover only a fraction of the therapy Jude needs. Insurance companies typically decide what they’ll cover based on formulas applied to a diagnosis. In complex cases like Jude’s, where diagnoses overlap and complicate each other, the formulas often fall far short. Alita is not alone. Medicaid covers 30 million children nationwide. At Children’s Colorado, nearly half the patient population has some form of Medicaid coverage. Here, no child is ever turned away, regardless of their ability to pay. Not only do we ensure that high-risk, medically underserved children in our community receive high- quality care, but we advocate that all kids, like Jude, receive health coverage and access to health services. With Medicaid, Alita can be sure Jude will get the care he needs. It’s part of what allowed her to go back to school. Five years later, she’s getting ready to graduate with a teaching certificate and looking forward to a sustainable career. She and Jude can finally get a place of their own. “It’s going to launch us into a better life,” she says.