TJC Story Blog

Apr 2021

D’Andrea Matthews

“My son was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17. In around September of 2018, I received a renewal packet from TennCare, which I completed for all household members. I received a notice a few months later saying that they never received my oldest son’s information. I contacted TennCare several times and tried to appeal the decision that they made to cut off his TennCare. Even though they admitted that they had several unknown addresses listed in the system for him, and I explained that none of those addresses belonged to him, they didn’t seem to care. His TennCare was cut off in November 2018.

In January and February of 2019, my son was admitted for his condition. Months later I received hospital bills for over $9,000. I tried to contact TennCare again and explained that I didn’t understand how they received the renewal for everyone else in the household, but not for my oldest son, when all of the paperwork was mailed back in one envelope. They still didn’t seem to care, even though the error was on their end because they had those unknown addresses listed for him.

The bill collectors threatened to garnish the money from my paychecks if we didn’t pay the bills. As a single mom, I just couldn’t afford to pay $9,000. So, after doing research, I decided to reach out to Legal Aid. Legal Aid took on my case but soon realized there wasn’t very much that they could do for my case. They referred me to the Tennessee Justice Center and explained that they may be able to better assist me. A lady name Vanessa Zapata reached out to me in regard to my TennCare case. I submitted all the documentation and recorded phone calls with TennCare to her. She looked over my case and decided to help me. She kept in contact with me in regard to all communication that she had with TennCare. This lady is amazing! She actually cared about my son’s TennCare case. She was able to get those bills taken care of finally, after 2 years of me having to stress and worry about how I could pay those bills.

I received a notice saying that we never should have been billed in the first place and that those bills will be paid by TennCare. I’m so thankful to have been referred to TJC because I don’t know what I would have done without them. I would highly recommend them to anyone who needs their assistance.