Work continues on Katie Beckett program for Tennessee

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Katie Beckett Waiver went from legislation to law on May 24.  

The law will help families with disabled children who make too much money to qualify for TennCare coverage.  

Tennessee was the only state in the country not to have this type of program.  

“A lot of our children have long term complex medical needs and disabilities.,” said Mallorie Hatcher, a Tri-Cities mother who helped advocate for the bill. “So, it was important to us that once they get enrolled in the program that we don’t have to stress about them being kicked or booted out of the program.” 

Hatcher and other parents have been traveling around the state asking for input on the law from other families.  

The group traveled to Knoxville just last week for a live input session.  

There are still several concerns parents are voicing about switching from TennCare to the Katie Beckett bill.

Concerns include families losing their services if their child makes a certain mount of progress.

“A lot of our children have complex medical needs. So it’s our hope that it’s need-based and not diagnosis based,” said Hatcher.

Parents are also hoping that the enrollment process is simple.

The law is separated into two parts with Part A being for higher need families whose children need full-service care like nursing care at home. Part B will be to fill the gap on what private insurance won’t cover.

“Part A is going to be more of, what they’re saying right now, will cover around 300 kids, and the other 2,700 kids will be covered under Part B.”

Hatcher said that Part A will probably go into effect more quickly than Part B because the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services still has to approve Part B.  

She said there will be more time for formal input on what parents want the Katie Beckett to look like after Thursday’s ceremonial signing.

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