Medicaid Pays. Evin Wins!
In 2010, Evin Hartsell, suffering from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, came to me seeking legal justice. Medicaid was attempting to terminate his essential nursing services – bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, cleaning his ventilator – and without these services, Evin would have to leave his family home and become institutionalized.
Evin was always determined to prove that his disabilities weren’t going to slow him down as his disease progressed and would ultimately take his life. He underwent a spinal fusion at age 12 with a rod inserted from his neck to his tailbone. His doctors told him he would have to get a tutor and wouldn’t be able to go back to school. Evin was determined to prove them wrong; 2 weeks later he astounded his doctors and was back in class.
By age 13, his disease had affected his lungs, requiring a ventilator to breathe. At 16, he had a tracheotomy and his doctors told him he would never sing again. One year later, Evin sang in the elite choir. If you told him no, he’d say “watch me; I’m going to prove you wrong.”
Evin’s father’s frequent military deployments meant that his mother and two brothers had to fulfill Evin’s physical needs along with 24/7 skilled nursing care. Evin was receiving the care he needed, and he was continuing his college education until Medicaid decided that he no longer needed 24/7 nursing care.
When Evin came to my office requesting help to maintain his nursing services, our goal was to find the support required for Medicaid to reverse their decision so Evin could get the help he needed to continue living at home and going to college.
Documenting Evin’s ventilator dependence, and with his caregiver’s and parent’s testimony, Evin was able to maintain his level of care until he aged out of that program. He went on to graduate from college, earn advanced degrees, and publish a book based on his life story just before his passing at age 28. Case Closed.
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