New state Medicaid cuts limit special needs children's access to therapy

Cuts kicked in Thursday, lower amount state will reimburse for therapies

SAN ANTONIO – State spending cuts are now limiting special needs children's access to therapy. Proposed Medicaid cuts that kicked in Thursday lower the amount the state will reimburse for therapies.

Lupe Valdez said without therapy, her special needs son will be in dire need of help.

"Can you clap?" Lupe Valdez said, facing her 3-year-old son Joseph, or JoJo as everyone calls him. "If you're happy and you know it, blow a kiss. Blow a kiss for mama."
JoJo blew a kiss to her, a huge accomplishment for him.

Joseph was born at 23 weeks and has a lot of developmental delays.

"A lot of issues he has are because of the lack of oxygen when he was first born," Valdez said. "He has chronic lung disease due to prematurity. That's why he's trached. He also has hypotonia."

That means Joseph has very little muscle tone, making his limbs feel floppy. Valdez credits therapy with her son's ability to move his hands, hold his head up and sit up on his own.

"Now he's learned where to place his hands on the ground so he can sit up like a big boy, even just for a few seconds," she said, steadying Joseph on the ground as he shakily sat by himself.

Joseph will also consistently be on a ventilator until his lungs are strong enough that he can breathe on his own, and that will also be because of therapy.

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