Faith Fortenberry in the nursing home. (File)
TEMPLE (November 5, 2013) Two-year-old Faith Fortenberry was home in Woodway Tuesday following a month-long stay with her mother in a Temple nursing home after the family’s health insurance carrier denied coverage for vital medical equipment.
Faith has a rare and incurable genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy that attacks nerve cells in the spinal cord, causing the voluntary muscles in the arms and legs of infants and children to weaken, which can affect walking, breathing, swallowing and head and neck control.
Children who have it may require specialized medical equipment to survive, ranging from wheelchairs to machines to help with breathing.
Leeann Fortenberry said the family’s insurance carrier refused to cover the cost of much of the medical equipment needed to keep her daughter alive.
Faith was also denied disability and Social Security benefits, her mother said, so in an effort to prove she needed the care, she and her mother moved into the nursing home, hoping the state would approve the girl for Medicaid coverage through the Medically Dependent Children Program.
Leeann said she got a call Friday from a Medicaid representative who said Faith didn’t qualify for assistance.
But physicians with the Temple Living Center West Nursing Home pleaded the toddler’s case for almost three hours and were able to prove that Faith needed extra care and the toddler was qualified for Medicaid.
Leeann says she’s relieved her daughter qualified for assistance and that she’ll now get the expensive equipment she needs.
Medicaid will cover the cost of the stay in the nursing home and will also help with home health care services for as much as 15 hours a week.
Leeann said many of the residents of the nursing home were sad to see Faith go but said the toddler will come back to visit her new friends.
Donations may be made at the Texas First State bank in Woodway under the fund set up for Faith Opal Fortenberry.