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posted: 5/11/2013 5:00 AM

Clear red tape for severely disabled

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A few weeks ago, I traveled to Springfield to testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the need for the state to make improvements in the approval process for complex rehab equipment.

The reason I made the trip from Northbrook to testify is simple. My husband and I are adopting a child who has profound medical needs. She is a ward of the state and, even though it is the state's responsibility to cover her medical costs. had to wait over 8 months to get the specialized power chair she needs.

This little toddler cannot stand up by herself and she needs a specialized chair to support her and keep her organs and back in the proper alignment. We had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get the final approval for the chair she needs.

We can and should do better than this. The state needs to change the approval process and recognize the special needs of individuals -- especially children -- with complex rehab technology (CRT) needs. There is no one-size fits all solution for the people who depend on CRT equipment and the state needs to recognize this.

All I am asking is for the state to recognize the specialized needs of people with severe disabilities. Please join me in speaking for these precious children who cannot speak for themselves by calling your lawmakers and urging them to support common-sense changes to the SMART Act to make it easier for people with complex rehab technology needs to get the equipment they need.

Anyone interested in helping with these efforts can go to and sign an online petition of support for common-sense reforms to improve the Medicaid approval process.

Debbie Arnspong


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