Patients-to-Policy Story: Helping Kids Get At-Home Care

Thursday, April 5, 2018

By Kate Marple & Erin Dexter National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership

What would you do if your one-year old child depended on a ventilator to breathe, and the home nursing care needed to monitor it wasn’t available? Would you keep your child in the hospital indefinitely? Would you quit your job to be home with your child, and stay up all night to make sure they didn’t stop breathing? Would you put them in a long-term nursing facility 80 miles away where they’d have the care they needed, but where you wouldn’t see them for days at a time? In 2015, for several parents in Washington State, the heartbreaking answer to all these questions was yes.

In the first of five stories in our new medical-legal partnership patients-to-policy series, we follow the team at Seattle Children’s medical-legal partnership, which sued the state Medicaid Director and the Director of the Healthcare Authority to help these kids return home. They then turned their attention to legislative advocacy designed to fix the reimbursement rates for nurses.