Proposed SoonerCare Cuts Concern Parents Of Kids with Disabilities
TULSA, Oklahoma - People who have SoonerCare could see a decline in their health benefits within a few months, and parents of kids with disabilities are concerned about paying for the therapy their children need.
Therapy Town sees up to 500 SoonerCare kids per week who need therapy to function in everyday life; but, if current budget cuts stand, they may not be able to afford it at all.
On May 7, 2015, 7-year-old Riley was accidentally shot in the head with a BB gun. He was told he may never walk again, but that's not the case now.
"Being told that he may never walk again to where he is now, is because of therapy," said Riley’s mother, Brittany Magram.
In fact, Riley had to re-learn a lot of things, like talking and even writing.
Magram said, "Last week is the first time he was able to write his name on his own."
If the Oklahoma Health Care Authority follows through with the elimination of services - of which children's therapy is just one on the chopping block - Riley won't be able to continue his sessions.
"I know that I can't afford to pay for it, and I know that he needs it. I know what it's like when he's with a week without therapy. I can't imagine going continuously without it," Magram said.
Riley is just one of nearly 500 SoonerCare kids who come to Therapy Town every week.
“That would be devastating to so many children. I think most Oklahomans don't realize how many children in this state are on SoonerCare - 60 percent of children in our state rely on SoonerCare for services," said Therapy Town CEO Rachel Lively.
Without the ability to receive occupational, physical, or even speech therapies, it's possible that these children may never become fully functioning members of society.
Magram said, "I see all these kids, and if they weren't able to come, I don't know what they'd be like without it. I know where my son would be, he'd probably still be in a wheelchair."
Lively acknowledges that our state is in a financial crisis, but said cutting important programs like these is not the answer.