New York families advocate against Medicaid age cap on medically fragile children

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New York families and private-duty nurses are asking the state's Department of Health to reassess the Medicaid eligibility age of disabled children requiring at-home care.

Once a medically fragile child turns 23, they are classified as a medically fragile adult, which results in their home care nurses losing nearly 30 percent of their pay, according to The New York Times. Nurses are then forced to find higher-paying jobs.  

“Funding was specific to medically fragile children, which previously only covered people to age 21; however, in October 2020, the age was increased to 23,” the Department of Health said in an email to The Times.

There are 1,500 medically fragile children in New York who depend on Medicaid for private-duty nurses, according to the article.

“They can remove the age cap, or they can start building more group homes to house this population,” said Michael DeGrottole, COO of Staten Island Community Resources. “Lifting the age cap would be much less expensive and, frankly, far safer for medically fragile patients.”

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