Renee Hix’s 80 year-old mother, Imogene Liebengood, lives in Goodlettsville. Unfortunately Imogene has severe health problems including dementia and a myriad of physical disabilities. Last year, her health had deteriorated to the point of required care in a nursing facility. When she quickly exhausted her own resources, she faced discharge and a disruption of care.
Fortunately, Medicaid was there for Imogene. Medicaid, known in Tennessee as TennCare, is the nation’s health care safety net. TennCare’s CHOICES program cares for nearly two thirds of the state’s frail adults who need long-term care.
Imogene’s initial application for CHOICES was mistakenly denied, however, and it appeared she would be discharged. Her only daughter, Renee, works at the local school system’s family resource center serving Robertson County students and families. Any time Renee is not at her job is devoted to caring for a family member with Down Syndrome. Overwhelmed by CHOICES red tape, Renee was terrified for her mother, because doctors warned that Imogene could not be safely cared for without the around-the-clock care provided in the nursing home.
Renee called TJC for help. TJC helped the family appeal Imogene’s discharge from the nursing home and secure the CHOICES coverage that she needed to stay in the facility. As a result of TJC’s intervention and Renee’s steadfast advocacy, the nursing facility did not discharge Imogene, and she was ultimately approved for CHOICES.
Renee was so relieved. She recalls, “Once I was in contact with the Tennessee Justice Center, I felt mom would be taken care of, and a huge weight was taken off my heart.”
Congress has just given Renee a new worry by tacking massive Medicaid cuts onto the bill that will repeal Obamacare. She worries what will happen to Renee and other mothers who face similar challenges.
Renee’s devotion to caring for family members while serving other families in her community is an inspiration. TJC is honored to recognize Renee Hix as a Mother of the Year for her tireless efforts to meet the needs of others.