Mother says Tenncare changes leave few options - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mother says Tenncare changes leave few options

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South woman says new Tenncare rules could cause her to lose everything, as she's caught between caring for her disabled daughter and making a living.

Sheila Tolbert is a single mom.  She says her daughter, Andrea, needs constant care for cerebral palsy and various other conditions.

"To me she's human," Tolbert said. "To me, she's a part of me."

Tolbert works a full-time job, but says new TennCare laws cut Andrea's in-home nursing care to five hours a day, because when Andrea turned 21, she became too old for full-time care.

"It hurts because I want her here with me," Tolbert said.

 Tolbert said she does not want to stash her daughter away a nursing home.  In May, Anglea graduates high school.

"I don't know what happens when she's at home every day and there's no care for her," she said.

Tolbert says her appeals process with the state has run out.

"I'm trying to do what's right and take care of my child and take care of my own self and provide for our family, and that means nothing," she said.

Action News 5 contacted Doctor Wendy Long at the Bureau of TennCare in Nashville to find out if Tolbert has any options.

"The managed care divisions have to look at each case individually to look at what the individual would qualify for," Long said.

Long could not speak about Tolbert's case because of privacy laws, but said Tennessee had to make cuts because of mounting costs.

"We saw our expenditures for home health and private duty nursing increase from $18 million in 2000 to $313 million in 2008," she said.

But Tolbert says she has no where to turn.

"You would rather I be unemployed and on the streets before you'll be able to help me," she said.

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