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AmeriCares Helps Uninsured Sick Kids in Texas

  • April 6, 2010

Anthony is an uninsured 11-year-old boy from Austin, Texas. His mom, Denise, had a good job at a bank, providing them with a comfortable home and good health benefits. Then Anthony’s world was turned upside down – his mom lost her job and they lost their home and their health insurance.

COBRA costs more than Denise’s weekly unemployment check, so Anthony went on Medicaid to keep up with doctor’s visits. Unable to afford to live in the neighborhood Anthony grew up in, they were forced to move into a small apartment.

What they didn’t realize was the move would cost Anthony his health coverage. Texas has strict rules to prevent Medicaid fraud – including one requiring a 45-day waiting period to renew coverage after a change of address. Anthony lost his Medicaid, but he still needed medicine and medical attention for his asthma.

Fortunately, Denise learned about a mobile clinic near their new neighborhood where Anthony could receive free health care and medicine thanks to the Dell Children’s Medical Center, Children’s Health Fund and AmeriCares. So when Anthony was sent home by the school nurse with a runny nose, Denise took him to the clinic where he received care right away.

“Children with asthma can easily go from having a manageable chronic condition to serious, even life-threatening attacks when their conditions aren’t monitored and they can’t afford their medicines,” said Lisa Butterworth, R.N. one of the program’s dedicated nurses. “The clinic offers same day appointments so children can get better quickly and avoid costly, stressful emergency room visits.”

Anthony saw the clinic’s doctor who determined he was suffering from allergies, which can trigger dangerous attacks in children with asthma. He received a prescription which was immediately filled right there in the mobile clinic. Anthony also left the clinic with other critical medicines and medical supplies provided by AmeriCares to help with his asthma and allergies.

“When you have a sick child, you want to give him everything he needs to get better,” said Denise. “Costs add up quickly – $10 for cough medicine, $30 for a new asthma inhaler, $20 for throat spray, $80 for asthma pills – that’s about half of our monthly grocery budget! If it weren’t for the free medicine at the mobile clinic, I don’t know what we’d do.”

Despite the shot in the arm and stuffy nose, Anthony was anxious to get back to school.

The clinic where Anthony gets his health care is one of hundreds AmeriCares supports nationwide. AmeriCares has committed to doubling deliveries of medical aid in the United States to $40 million to help support families here at home.

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