Krista Simons has been defying the odds her entire life. At 14 years old, Krista was diagnosed with a tumor on her pituitary gland. Doctors told her it was unlikely she would be able to have children after this diagnosis. Today, Krista a Chattanooga mother of four, says these miracles “means the world” to her. Now Krista battles multiple sclerosis, a disease so debilitating that she often has struggles to walk her children down the driveway to catch the school bus. But Krista fights through the pain and finds joy all around her. Although she can no longer work outside the home because of her MS, she’s devoted her time to fine-tuning her writing skills as a published novelist, running her eBay storefront, and even hosting a podcast relaying her stories of motherhood. Her motivating force/ purpose IS motherhood. Her children make her most tiring days wonderful again. So, when Krista found out that her daughter, Trista, required medical testing that was not covered by her insurance, she was faced with one of her toughest obstacles yet. Krista tackled this challenge head on, this time with the help of TJC’s red tape warriors.
Krista’s attempt to get Trista healthcare coverage is indicative of the convoluted process many other families are put through as they try to untangle the TennCare web. Although Trista didn’t have TennCare coverage when her mother came to TJC, it was hardly the first time she tried to apply for her. Krista and all three of her other children – Shawn, Elaina, and Willow – already had TennCare Medicaid coverage. However, Trista remained uninsured. Even after several attempts, TennCare refused to accept Trista’s applications. Krista was faced with a dire situation, as Trista was dealing with ongoing sensory issues and other unclear afflictions that were causing her to fall behind in school. Unfortunately, Krista had no way of helping her daughter if she did not have TennCare Medicaid coverage. Faced with such a dilemma, Krista once again showed her resilience and enlisted the help of TJC to get her the coverage she deserved. TJC quickly determined that, despite past denials, Trista was eligible for TennCare Medicaid coverage and worked alongside her mother to file a new application. Although this too provided a new set of challenges, including an initial denial that required TJC to file an appeal because TennCare erroneously said that Krista’s husband, William, made too much money for their daughter to be eligible, TJC learned that Trista was approved for TennCare Medicaid coverage in late January. At long last, Krista was able to overcome the odds one more time.
Looking at their family now, a much brighter picture emerges. Trista, like her older siblings Elaina and Shawn, was diagnosed with autism and is now receiving corresponding care and therapy, treatment that wouldn’t be possible without TennCare Medicaid coverage. Instead of falling behind in school, she’s back to being the carefree girl who loves to hand out free hugs that her mother knows and loves. As for Krista, an unbelievable burden has been lifted from her shoulders. When she learned of TJC’s successful efforts, she “just cried, because [she’s] been fighting since 2019 to get Trista [TennCare].” While her own fight is over for now, Krista still wants to fight on for other mothers in the state. After trying time and time again herself to navigate TennCare services to no avail, TJC’s work is “a blessing” that made such a hard process seem easy. She promises to refer anyone she knows with similar issues to TJC, as she knows so many people “trying to get the help they need and unable to get it” who could be helped just like her. Krista embodies the mission of TJC and, in a year full of them, truly stands out as one of the finest mothers in all of Tennessee.