Jessica is the proud mother of 3 children whom she adores. She works hard to get them anything they need. Recently her efforts went into obtaining an Order of Protection from the courts to protect her and her children; ending her 15-year relationship with their father. With her ex in jail on charges of abuse, Jessica is struggling to keep her family going. She works for a local food delivery service – bringing meals to people throughout the city while struggling to keep food on her own table for her children.
“We [are] still in the middle of court right now…I mean, literally overnight I went from a 2-income household to a 1-income household. And me with three kiddos. It hasn’t been the easiest journey.”
Jessica notes that she has applied for emergency food stamps, but the appointment to get help has been set about 1 month into the future. In the meantime, she is relying on food banks (and selling a few of her belongings) to provide for her children because the money she makes at her job is needed to pay for housing and utilities – and, of course, the gas she needs to keep her job.
“When school starts, I’m hoping my youngest child will be placed in Pre-K. Hopefully I can pick up some teaching assignments this year during school hours – because I have my Educator’s License.” She is hoping the extra work will help her to make ends meet and stabilize her family’s future. She noted, “Medicaid’s been so great for [my kids] – trauma therapy and everything….Medicaid’s helped with the Children’s Safety Center, and Ozark Guidance other trauma therapy that’s helping us on our healing journey. It really has helped a lot!”
Besides her struggle to help her family heal, Jessica also recalls how she has depended on Medicaid for several years to support her young son’s needs. “My son has Asperger’s and, not only that, he’s had a lot of health issues. He had problems with strep throat when he was younger and, for some reason, with him it was just one thing after another.” She realized she needed help with medical bills when the doctors discovered he had a very rare glandular problem. Her son needed several medications ongoing – and the doctor’s bills kept piling up.
Medicaid has really helped Jessica and her family over the past 7 years. She is very grateful for that but she also has been frustrated in her attempts to obtain optimal care for her son. He was on the wait list for Schmieding Kids First (a medical center which provides comprehensive care for kids with intensive medical issues). His Primary Care Physician had just been switched (not her choice) when her son’s name came up for evaluation. The new doctor did not seem to understand what was needed – and did not seem vested in getting this boy the help he needed in the way the old doctor had been. Schmieding asks doctors for a clear diagnosis and this doctor simply sent a list of suggested therapies minus a diagnosis. And her son was declined for services. Frustrated and disappointed, she has reapplied on his behalf for services - and he was placed on the bottom of the wait list. Jessica wishes her son’s assigned PCP could remain stable. His needs are complex and, when key events like the Schmieding intake opportunity arise, it would be nice to feel confident that the doctor is already knowledgeable, engaged, and ready to support her son.
When you ask Jessica, she gives Medicaid a 5 out of 5. Things have not always been perfect, but access to healthcare through Medicaid has played a large part in keeping her and her children in a good place. Despite her troubles, Jessica’s strength and her love for her children shines through – she is happy to have Medicaid in her life.