When Dusty, now in his 20’s, was about three years old, his doctor told his parents that he had severe mental delays. He is also autistic and has 250 to 300 seizures each month, some of which can become life-threatening. Dusty has TennCare and is on the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) waiver, a program that allows people with developmental delays to get services in their homes rather than moving to an institution. Due to the unpredictability and severity of his seizures, Dusty needs two personal assistants at all times, which is provided to him through the DIDD waiver.
In 2010, DIDD announced that all enrollees’ services would be reduced to one personal assistant whose hours would be limited to 50 per week. Dustin’s physician at Vanderbilt and Nancy asked TJC to help them stop DIDD from reducing these services for Dusty and her other patients. TJC’s intervention with state and federal officials blocked the proposed reduction, but Dusty is now facing more cuts by DIDD. Currently, Dusty is still receiving the care he needs and is still able to live at home. Nancy calls TJC a friend and guardian angel in disguise saying,“I will be forever grateful for having crossed paths with TJC.”
Photo Credit: Shea Halliburton