TennCare policy places most vulnerable patients at risk, threatens to separate families
Scores of dedicated families provide continuous bedside care to loved ones who are on ventilators or are otherwise extremely medically fragile. The families work with skilled nurses around-the-clock to maintain these patients at home. Federal law requires TennCare to cover the nursing services for children and youth. But when they reach 21, TennCare tells them that they must go to nursing homes or face a drastic cut in the nursing services on which their lives depend.
The policy is designed to save money
, but it has the opposite effect. Doctors warn that these patients are so fragile that nursing homes are not capable of meeting their needs. If they are to survive without the care their families and home health nurses have been providing, they will have to be continuously hospitalized. Indeed, some will require staffing available only in an ICU. That is far more expensive than the home nursing care they have been receiving.
TJC is proud to represent these extraordinary families in discussions with TennCare officials to develop new policies that are both cost-effective and humane.