Dr. Katie Musser
Navigating the TennCare system can be very difficult. Applications can be complex, rules can be confusing, and getting a “real person” on the phone to help resolve issues sometimes feels impossible. No one knows this better than Dr. Katie Musser.
Katie, a mother of three young girls, has had to jump through countless hoops just to get her daughters the healthcare they deserve. Isabel, her youngest, has Edward’s syndrome, a genetic condition that causes developmental delays and mental fragility, and can cause many other medical issues. Although the medical community describes Edward’s as “incompatible with life,” Isabel is living life to the fullest as she presses on through her many medical needs.
Accessing this needed healthcare has been a long road. Due to the extent of care that Isabel requires, Katie and her husband David had to find new jobs that allowed them more time to care for their daughter. The family was on COBRA insurance for a while and encountered many issues while trying to sign their daughters up for TennCare or SSI. SSI had their address wrong, which also happened to be their security question, so for a while, they were unable to access their applications. When Isabel was finally approved for TennCare Medicaid, she was no longer eligible for Katie Beckett coverage, so the family lost their reimbursements for in-home nursing care and couldn’t afford to continue to pay for this trustworthy care. Shortly after getting on Medicaid, the family received a letter that their application for SSI was approved. Two weeks later, they got a call saying it was a mistake. Regardless of these hurdles, Katie says she’s “just grateful Isabel’s on Medicaid.”
However, her two other daughters, Eliana and Adelyn, still needed health coverage. After having to deal with TennCare for such an extended period on Isabel’s behalf, Katie turned to the Tennessee Justice Center for help with their applications. In short order, we were able to apply for CoverKids for Eliana and Adelyn, and both applications were approved.
Eliana, the oldest, is in kindergarten. Her mom describes her as very musical, empathetic of others, and timid, but notes, “Her timidity is a different story come bedtime!” Adelyn is the most active of the trio and loves to joke around with her sisters. Isabel is very content and happy, “just the most smiley, joyful little girl.” However, she’s also very tough, her mom noting “If she cries about something, you know it's bad.”
Eliana and Adelyn are huge proponents of surprise hugs for their mom, which is “always precious.” Even though they’re little, they always find ways to show their gratitude to their mom. Katie knows that “Mom, can you pick me up from school today?” really means, “I miss you,” and jumps on any opportunity to spend time with her daughters. Although Isabel’s condition has delayed her development, Katie says, “I can see the affection in her eyes. I can just sense that she knows ‘she’s my buddy.’ When we make eye contact, I can tell she knows I’m her mom.”
When asked what being a mother has meant to her, Katie said, “It’s meant a lot of hard work.” Pausing to laugh for a moment, she clarified, “A lot of hard work that I would never change. No matter the exhaustion, the time commitment, or moments of frustration… they’re always combatted by a deep love that only parents can feel. An unconditional, ‘I would die for you” love… Whatever those hard moments are, I’m always grateful, because I get to be their mother.”
TJC is proud to honor Dr. Katie Musser as a 2023 Mother of the Year for her relentless efforts to get the necessary care for all three of her daughters to ensure they continue growing in health and happiness.