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#MySoonerCare

SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) is a health coverage program that offers a variety of health care services for 1 in 4 Oklahomans. SoonerCare members are able to access their health care providers regularly in order to improve their overall health and receive preventive services and follow-up care that could reduce the chance for serious health problems in the future.

Below are stories from current and former SoonerCare members about the positive impact that access to quality health care has had in their lives. We hope you too will share your stories! Whether a life-saving medical treatment or the opportunity to receive routine medical care for your child, we want to hear how SoonerCare made a difference in your life. 

We are proud to help moms like Angie provide their children with the specialized medical treatment they need. Hear her heart-warming story below.

We are so thankful that SoonerCare has been able to help keep Harrison healthy by covering his doctors' visits, surgeries, medication and more so he can share is amazing gift with everyone. 


Harrison Howell is an amazing 14-year-old who is able to overcome his disabilities to share his beautiful music and personality with us. Harrison suffers from a severe form of autism called Autism Savant. He has gone through a lot in his 14 years battling health issues like a brain deformity (Chiari Malformation), a tethered spinal cord that resulted in surgery, Spina Bifida (a birth defect where the spine is not formed properly), a device placed in his stomach to empty out his stomach since he has no bowel function, asthma and more. 

Despite all of his health issues, he has some unique talents including his ability to play any song on the piano by ear after hearing it only once. Harrison's parents took him to see Christmas lights when he was 3 years old. They took him to a home that played lots of Christmas   music including the Trans Siberia Orchestra. When they got back home, Harrison went to the family keyboard and played perfectly the songs he had heard.

Since then, he has his own piano and is able to play most anything he hears, including TV commercial jingles after hearing them only one time. We are so thankful that SoonerCare has been able to help keep Harrison healthy by covering his doctors' visits, surgeries, medication and more so he can share is amazing gift with everyone.

"We were a young family, and it was a very scary thing to deal with the emotional, physical and financial struggles of all of this but when I found out that SoonerCare was going to help us and that Jonah was going to be able to get the quality treatment he needed and the therapies he needed to survive- I felt so blessed. We are so thankful for SoonerCare!”  


In the summer of 2006, Jonah White started complaining that his ankle was hurting.

“We didn’t think much of it at first but noticed that it was always his right ankle. We noticed that it looked swollen so we took him to the doctor,” said Amy White, Jonah’s mother.

Jonah's primary doctor performed an x-ray and wasn't sure exactly what was wrong, so the Whites were referred to The Orthopedic Center of Tulsa. The family was informed that Jonah had a cyst in his bone, and that it would eventually reabsorb back into the body.

Jonah was casted for a hairline fracture under the cyst and told to come back in four weeks. After Jonah got the cast off, he was still in a lot of pain and his walking was worse, so a second opinion was needed. An orthopedic surgeon with the facility ordered a MRI and agreed that it was just a cyst but "never cancerous."

“However, he did  refer us to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Oklahoma City to look at his ankle and possibly remove the cyst so that it wouldn't hurt his growth,” Amy said.

November 13, 2006, is a day the White family will never forget. Jonah had his surgery scheduled to remove the cyst that four different doctors believed to be benign. 

“You can imagine our shock and horror when the surgeon came in saying words like malignant, aggressive chemotherapy, and amputation. It was soon confirmed that Jonah had Osteosarcoma, a bone tumor in his right fibula near his ankle. Soon after, we were thrown into the world of hospitals, medicines and a life that revolved around helping our little boy fight for his leg but more importantly for his life,” Amy said.

Jonah started chemotherapy rounds in December 2006 at St. Francis under the care of a pediatric oncologist.

After the third round, it was evident that Jonah’s foot was going to have to be removed. If his foot was not removed, he would have a life full of surgeries, a fused ankle, limited mobility, and a 60 percent risk of the cancer coming back. The doctors were convinced he would be more functional with a prosthetic.

Jonah had his amputation surgery on April 6, 2007. Jonah was fitted for his first "new leg" on June 20, 2007. Jonah is now on his fifth and current leg, which is decked out in hunting camo. Amy said each leg has been unique and fun showing off a little of Jonah’s vibrant personality.

“Now when he has pants on, you can't even tell he has a prosthetic, however he loves wearing shorts and showing it off,” Amy said.

Jonah has been cancer free since treatment ended September 15, 2007.  

He has continued to grow and thrive since his cancer treatment. However, cancer has definitely left its mark. More than just his leg, Jonah has lost his high frequency hearing and wears hearing aids.  He continues speech and physical therapy on a regular basis. 

When Jonah was first diagnosed, he was SoonerCare and continues to receive SoonerCare services through the TEFRA program.

“My first thoughts were will Jonah survive this; will my family survive this; will we lose our home because surely SoonerCare won’t cover this kind of medical treatment,” said Amy. “We were a young family, and it was a very scary thing to deal with the emotional, physical and financial struggles of all of this but when I found out that SoonerCare was going to help us and that Jonah was going to be able to get the quality treatment he needed and the therapies he needed to survive- I felt so blessed. We are so thankful for SoonerCare!”

Jonah plans to continue to help other children who have cancer through sharing his own story and raising money for more cancer research.

"She’s now back home with her parents, and her diabetes is under control. Barbara Johnson said treatments have not slowed down her inquisitive, happy child, and she has nothing but praise for the OHCA SoonerCare outreach program." 

Seven-year-old Piper Johnson’s mother, Barbara, said the call she got from a SoonerCare outreach staff member reminding her to renew her daughter’s health insurance came not a moment too soon. A few days later, Piper had to be flown from her Wilberton home to a Tulsa hospital, diagnosed with severe complications from diabetes.

“The call and appointment came at just the right time to save her life,” said Barbara Johnson. “She’s a happy, healthy child, and we didn’t know anything was wrong.”

Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) employee Latrita McFadden spent about 20 minutes on the phone with Barbara recertifying Piper’s health insurance and then McFadden reminded her to make a well-child appointment with Piper’s doctor.

The night before her well-child appointment, Piper complained of being thirsty and nauseous then started vomiting. When Piper saw her medical home doctor the next day, he immediately told the Johnsons she had “textbook symptoms” of diabetes.

Piper’s blood sugar reading was more than 1,000 mg/dL – a random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or more plus symptoms like Piper’s was a serious indicator for diabetes.

She’s now back home with her parents, and her diabetes is under control. Barbara Johnson said treatments have not slowed down her inquisitive, happy child, and she has nothing but praise for the OHCA SoonerCare outreach program.

"If I hadn’t found out about SoonerCare, I am not sure that I would have gotten the quality of prenatal care that I needed because I simply couldn’t afford it." 


Seven years ago, I found myself in a predicament. I was a 23-year-old college student who worked as a cocktail waitress in a cigar lounge. I found out I was pregnant so I had to quit my job to eliminate secondhand smoke exposure to my unborn child. At the time, I had no insurance and didn’t know what to do. A friend of mine told me about SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. I applied and was able to begin my prenatal care right away. 

At first, I was ashamed that I needed help, but I quickly got over it, and it changed my life. With the help of SoonerCare, I was able to take excellent care of my body without the worry and stress over whether I could afford it.  For the first time since junior high, I even had dental coverage! Looking back, I realize now that I was at a crossroad in my life. 

If I hadn’t found out about SoonerCare, I am not sure that I would have gotten the quality of prenatal care that I needed because I simply couldn’t afford it.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and everyone in life has a purpose. Now I work for Oklahoma’s Medicaid agency, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. My unit is charged with reaching out to those who qualify for SoonerCare and helping them get the coverage they need and deserve. Specifically, I get to work to improve birth outcomes in our state by helping pregnant tobacco users to quit smoking.

“I couldn’t do it without SoonerCare and all the medical treatment they provide for Jason,” she said. “SoonerCare has helped me and him tremendously.” 


Doris and her husband were willing to take their grandson Jason into their home when he needed a place to live; however the problem they faced was how to pay for his many medical needs.

They needed financial help so they could provide the medical tests and treatment their grandson needed. That’s when SoonerCare came into the picture.

Although, Doris had always been Jason’s main caregiver, she and her husband weren’t awarded permanent custody until March of 2005.

“SoonerCare made a big difference in my life and Jason’s life,” said Doris. “He had so many problems, and we are so thankful SoonerCare could help us keep our grandson healthy.”

Once she was able to enroll Jason in SoonerCare, he started seeing a psychologist and having needed medical tests.

Doris said she finally got Jason an appointment with a specialist who diagnosed Jason with Asperger’s, ADHD and severe allergies. Doris said when he got Jason the medication he needed, it really helped with his Asperger’s.

Everything was going well until August 2011 when Jason began to experience some changes in his behavior. Jason spent three weeks at St. Anthony’s Management Behavior Unit where they changed his medications.

“He went back to school and has been fine since,” Doris said.

Doris said her husband has Alzheimer’s disease, and currently, they live on their Social Security benefits and her state retirement.

“I couldn’t do it without SoonerCare and all the medical treatment they provide for Jason,” she said. “SoonerCare has helped me and him tremendously.”

"Latrita has trouble containing her amazement as she describes a boy who now has the self-esteem not only to speak, but serves as junior deacon in his church and ran for student body president." 


He always walked on his tip-toes, but Anthony Burke’s mother said she tried to get medical help when he started to complain his knees were hurting.

“I took him from doctor to doctor,” said Latrita McFadden, Anthony’s mother, “and they all said he would out grow it.”

His mother said he would look down at the ground and not talk to others because of a speech impediment.

“He used to walk around with his head low and just kind of avoid everybody,” Latrita said. Anthony became withdrawn and would not read aloud in class. "He was teased and his self esteem was low.”

When his mother enrolled him in SoonerCare, Anthony got some much needed help for his medical problems. Doctors found that Anthony’s Achilles’ tendons were shorter than normal. Anthony received surgery and medical treatment for his feet plus speech therapy.

Anthony is now finished with both speech and physical therapy, and his mother says his self-esteem has “skyrocketed.”

Latrita has trouble containing her amazement as she describes a boy who now has the self-esteem not only to speak, but serves as junior deacon in his church and ran for student body president. And in a sharp contrast to a few years ago, Anthony is now tutoring other students in his class.

Anthony didn’t win the school election, but he says he’s going to run next year and keep on running until he wins.

“It’s funny because he says, literally, I’m going to keep on running. He knows he can run, and his feet are working like they’re supposed to work now,” she said.

Now Anthony can run in more ways than one.

"As medical problems mounted, so did expenses. Brady was going to need round-the-clock care even after he went home. Wells had to leave her job as a nurse to care for her son." 


This is the story of a 15-year-old whose life was changed by a determined family, dedicated surgeons, a World Series Most Valuable Player and SoonerCare.

When Brady Wells was born, his doctors and parents knew he had a severe heart problem. His mother, Valerie Wells, said there were “83 rollercoaster days” of not knowing whether her son would survive and be able to come home.

The left ventricle of Brady’s heart was misshapen and the medical staff used a “push/pull” procedure to correct the problem, Wells said. “They thought it was just his lungs,” she said. “But after some tests, they figured out his problem was more about his heart than his lungs.”

As medical problems mounted, so did expenses. Brady was going to need round-the-clock care even after he went home. Wells had to leave her job as a nurse to care for her son.

 “I had insurance at the time,” she said, “but I was unable to work due to his illness, so he went on SoonerCare.”

She said Brady was on medication for about seven years and was delayed in starting school for a year. By then, doctors thought Brady had improved. “We went to yearly appointments after he was about 7 years old and thought everything was fine,” she said.

In the summer of 2009, after being off of medication for several years, 15-year-old Brady was attending school and playing baseball – his passion.

Brady had allergies and asthma, Wells said, but otherwise he seemed to be doing well. He went for yearly checkups with his doctor, had routine visits with his allergy doctor and went every three months to see an asthma specialist.

“He loved baseball,” Wells said, “and he played baseball a lot. He was on tons of asthma meds, but Brady only had to use his (asthma) inhaler once, in all the years, he played baseball.”

At the end of June, Brady finished his baseball season then in mid-July had a routine visit to his allergy doctor.

The checkup turned out to be anything but routine. X-rays showed Brady’s heart was very enlarged. His allergy doctor said he had no idea how Brady could play baseball; his body was getting very little oxygen.

More tests were ordered; the results weren’t good. His doctor scheduled a trip for Brady to go to the Children’s Hospital in St. Louis to see a transplant specialist for a week of testing.


The conclusion at the end of the week of testing was that Brady was in the end-stage of congestive heart failure.
 
In addition to severe heart problems, doctors had determined that Brady also had no carotid artery on his right side. The artery is a major supplier of blood and oxygen to the brain and body.

Doctors were stunned at the extent of the damage and even more amazed at Brady’s resilience. One surgeon told the teen’s mother, “I don’t know how he didn’t fall over dead on the field.”

Brady had to remain in St. Louis and wait for a heart transplant. He and his mother stayed at the Pine Street Ronald McDonald House while they waited for an available heart. The day after he got out of the hospital, Brady’s dad took a bus back to Claremore from St. Louis.

The days in St. Louis were hard for Brady’s family. Valerie said Brady was in a high position on the transplant list, but she and the family knew that another family would have to suffer a loss for Brady to have a chance for  a new life.

“We had people and prayers all over the world for Brady,” she said. “Brady had a brother in the military, and we got on the phone to everybody and asked for prayers here, overseas and everywhere.”

But all they could do was wait, Valerie said, and pray for a heart and for the family who would losea loved one to make the heart available for Brady.

Enter David Freese, a baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals and 2011 World Series MVP, and his mother, who volunteered at a Ronald McDonald House near the hospital where Brady was being treated.

Freese’s mother, Lynn, took a special interest in Brady. She found out he loved to play baseball and asked him if he would like to meet her son. David Freese met with Brady, talked baseball and talked about his excitement over his upcoming season playing third base for the St. Louis Cardinals.

David came to visit Brady and brought a bat and swung the bat that he gave to Brady. He brought other St. Louis Cardinal team memorabilia for Brady and talked baseball with the teen who was missing home and baseball so much.

When the call came, on the day after Thanksgiving 2009, Valerie said she and Brady made it through the five stop signs between the Ronald McDonald House and into the parking garage at the hospital in 22 minutes.

“We had the option to go home for Thanksgiving but that would have meant Brady would be taken off the transplant list while we were gone,” Valerie said. “I gave him the choice. I knew he missed our family at home.”

But Brady made the decision to stay, and they had some of the family’s traditional dishes on Thanksgiving in St. Louis.

“If we hadn’t stayed, he wouldn’t have gotten the heart when he did,” she said. Valerie said the heart he received came from an 18-year-old man who lost his life on Thanksgiving. “We prayed a lot for that young man’s family and their decision to give someone else such a gift.”

And the first question Brady asked of the doctor after his surgery? “When can I go home and when can I play baseball?”

Valerie said Brady had his last treatment on Dec. 18, and they came home to Claremore on Dec. 19, 2009. But before they left for home, David Freese came back for a visit with his friend, Brady. He came with a big bag of gifts for his young friend – and 8 gig PlayStation with a variety of the newest games set to debut in 2010. And Brady and David had a nice visit before the teen left for home.

Since returning to Claremore with a new heart, Brady has been catching up on the school work he missed and getting his credits so that he can graduate with his high school class. Brady missed playing baseball on the high school team during his junior year but his mom said he was able to catch up on his school credits and take care of his health concerns.

Brady has stayed in touch with David since returning to Claremore. Valerie said Brady went to his grandparents’ house often to see the St. Louis Cardinals play a season that ended with the World Series Championship.

“By the time the World Series came around,” Valerie said, “I was going to watch the games too.”

Valerie joked that she was pretty sure David Freese could hear his biggest fans cheering from Oklahoma. And then to top it off, David sent a text to Brady with a photo of himself holding the MVP trophy from the World Series.

“It’s hard to believe how much he has done for Brady,” she said. “And it means so much to Brady to call him a friend.”

It has been a long road and a lot of work for Brady and his family. This summer, Brady is playing baseball- the sport he loves.

As for the future, his mother said, “Brady is going into his senior year – and he will play ball!”

"SoonerCare, thank you for assisting us in meeting the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of our daughters who – through no fault of their own – were traumatized before they were ever born." 


In 1999, my husband and I became foster parents of two young girls who are biological sisters. Both girls were prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs. As a result, they both have medical and behavioral health issues which are directly related to this trauma.

Studies show that children who are traumatized due to abuse and/or neglect are at heightened risk of moderate to severe health problems, learning disabilities, developmental delays, physical impairments, and mental health difficulties.

In 2001, when we finalized the adoption proceeding for our daughters, we continued to receive Medicaid benefits as an adoption assistance benefit. Even though we have private health insurance, which provides the primary insurance coverage on the girls, the knowledge that we had the safety net of Medicaid as secondary insurance eased our concerns regarding our ability to financially afford to care for these medically complex children. 

In 2002, we moved to Oklahoma from Illinois, and the Medicaid coverage continued in Oklahoma as an adoption assistance benefit. Over the years, our daughters have required the services of pediatric cardiologists, pediatric endocrinologists, child psychiatrists, speech and language pathologists, pediatric neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, pediatric urologists, orthopedic surgeons and pediatricians.  They also have benefited from prescription drug coverage.

Having SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) provide secondary coverage for our daughters has allowed them to benefit from additional experiences that we would not have been able to afford if we hadn’t had both our private health insurance and, most notably, SoonerCare.

SoonerCare, thank you for assisting us in meeting the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of our daughters who – through no fault of their own – were traumatized before they were ever born.

"Above all, just thank God that we live in a country that still takes care of the needy during trying times." 


A couple years ago, my household income was just barely above the cut-off to qualify for SoonerCare. I was obligated to pay for private insurance, with sky high premiums, ridiculous co-pays and deductibles and unfair pre-existing condition clauses.

Each time my kids got sick I thought: "Do we really need to take you to the doctor?" Each illness could easily cost me anywhere from $75 and up. I often caught myself self-diagnosing and treating with over the counter remedies, something risky for little kids.

Today, my financial circumstances are a bit more difficult but, I am so blessed to know that my children's health is taken care of. A couple weeks ago my 10-year-old had difficulty breathing and chest pain. I didn't think twice before taking him to the nearest Urgent Care, where he was fully examined and X-rayed to find out that he had pneumonia.

As I picked up his prescription I remember thanking God and the pharmacist because everything was covered; inhaler, breathing therapies, antibiotics, Urgent Care visit, I didn't need to worry about a single penny. It's funny, because I had this very conversation with the pharmacy clerk as I checked out after that very long night. Her words were: "Above all, just thank God that we live in a country that still takes care of the needy during trying times."

SoonerCare (Medicaid de Oklahoma) es un programa de cobertura de salud que ofrece diversos servicios de salud a uno de cada cuatro ciudadanos de Oklahoma. Los miembros de SoonerCare pueden acceder a sus proveedores de atención médica con regularidad con el fin de mejorar su estado general de salud y recibir servicios de prevención y atención de seguimiento que podrían reducir el riesgo de graves problemas de salud en el futuro.

Los siguientes enlaces conducen a historias de los miembros actuales y ex afiliados de SoonerCare sobre el impacto positivo que el acceso a una atención de salud de calidad ha tenido en sus vidas. ¡Esperamos que usted también comparta su historia! Tanto si es un tratamiento médico para salvar vidas o la oportunidad de recibir atención médica de rutina para su hijo, queremos saber cómo SoonerCare marcó la diferencia en su vida. 

"Ahora está de regreso en casa con sus padres, y su diabetes está bajo control. Bárbara Johnson dijo que los tratamientos no han reducido la curiosidad y alegría de su hija, y que ella no tiene más que elogios para el programa de extensión comunitaria de SoonerCare de la OHCA." 

Bárbara, la madre de Piper Johnson de siete años de edad, dijo que la llamada que recibió de una empleada de extensión comunitaria de SoonerCare para recordarle la renovación del seguro de salud de su hija llegó en el momento justo. Unos días más tarde, Piper tuvo que ser trasladada de su casa en Wilberton a un hospital de Tulsa, con diagnóstico de complicaciones graves de diabetes.

“La llamada y la cita se produjeron en el momento justo para salvar su vida”, dijo Bárbara Johnson. “Ella es una niña feliz, sana y no sabíamos que algo iba mal.”

Latrita McFadden, empleada de la Autoridad de Oklahoma para el Cuidado de la Salud (OHCA), dedicó unos 20 minutos en el teléfono con Bárbara para recertificar el seguro de salud de Piper y luego McFadden le recordó hacer una cita de control infantil con el médico de Piper.

La noche antes de su cita, Piper se quejó de tener sed y náuseas y después comenzó a vomitar. Cuando Piper vio a su doctor de hogar médico al día siguiente, él inmediatamente les dijo a los Johnson que ella tenía los “síntomas” clásicos de la diabetes.

La lectura de azúcar en la sangre de Piper marcaba más de 1.000 mg/dL: un nivel de azúcar en la sangre al azar de 200 mg/dL o más, además de los síntomas como los de Piper era un indicador importante de la presencia de diabetes.

Ahora está de regreso en casa con sus padres, y su diabetes está bajo control. Bárbara Johnson dijo que los tratamientos no han reducido la curiosidad y alegría de su hija, y que ella no tiene más que elogios para el programa de extensión comunitaria de SoonerCare de la OHCA.

"Si no me hubiera enterado de SoonerCare, no estoy segura de que me habría conseguido la calidad de cuidado prenatal que necesitaba porque yo simplemente no lo podía pagarlo." 


Hace siete años, me encontraba en una situación difícil. Yo era una estudiante universitaria de 23 años de edad, que trabajaba como camarera en un salón de fumadores. Me enteré de que estaba embarazada, así que tuve que dejar mi trabajo para no exponer a mi hijo por nacer al humo de segunda mano. En ese momento, no tenía seguro y no sabía qué hacer. Un amigo mío me habló de SoonerCare, el programa de Medicaid de Oklahoma. Hice la solicitud y pude comenzar mi cuidado prenatal de inmediato.

Al principio me daba vergüenza el hecho de que necesitaba ayuda, pero rápidamente lo superé y cambió mi vida. Con la ayuda de SoonerCare, tuve la oportunidad de tener un excelente cuidado de mi cuerpo sin la preocupación y el estrés acerca de si podía pagarlo. Por primera vez desde la secundaria, ¡incluso tengo cobertura dental! Mirando hacia atrás, me doy cuenta ahora de que me encontraba en una encrucijada en mi vida.

Si no me hubiera enterado de SoonerCare, no estoy segura de que me habría conseguido la calidad de cuidado prenatal que necesitaba porque yo simplemente no lo podía pagarlo.

Creo que todo sucede por una razón, y todo el mundo en la vida tiene un propósito. Ahora trabajo para la Autoridad de Oklahoma para el Cuidado de la Salud, que es la agencia de Medicaid de Oklahoma. Mi unidad se encarga de llegar a aquellas personas que califican para SoonerCare y ayudarles a obtener la cobertura que necesitan y merecen. En concreto, tengo que trabajar para mejorar los resultados de nacimientos en nuestro estado, ayudando a las usuarias de tabaco que están embarazadas a dejar de fumar.

“No podríamos haberlo logrado sin SoonerCare y todo el tratamiento médico que le proporcionaron a Jason”, dijo. “SoonerCare nos ha ayudado a mí y él tremendamente.” 


Doris y su marido estaban dispuestos a llevar su nieto Jason a su casa cuando necesitaba un lugar para vivir; sin embargo, el problema que enfrentaban era cómo pagar sus muchas necesidades médicas.

Necesitaban ayuda financiera para poder proveer los exámenes y el tratamiento médico que su nieto necesitaba. Fue entonces cuando SoonerCare entró en escena.

Si bien Doris siempre había sido la cuidadora principal de Jason, ella y su marido no recibieron la custodia permanente hasta marzo de 2005.

“SoonerCare marcó la gran diferencia en mi vida y en la vida de Jason”, dijo Doris. “Él tenía tantos problemas, y estamos muy agradecidos de que SoonerCare pudiera ayudarnos a mantener a nuestro nieto saludable.”

Una vez que ella pudo inscribir a Jason en SoonerCare, comenzó a ver a un psicólogo y a tener los exámenes médicos necesarios.

Doris dijo que finalmente le consiguió a Jason una cita con un especialista que le diagnosticó  síndrome de Asperger, TDAH y alergias severas. Doris dijo que cuando Jason tomó los medicamentos que necesitaba, realmente le ayudaron con su síndrome de Asperger.

Todo iba bien hasta agosto de 2011 cuando Jason comenzó a experimentar algunos cambios en su comportamiento. Jason pasó tres semanas en la Unidad de Manejo del Comportamiento de San Antonio donde le cambiaron los medicamentos.

“Él regresó a la escuela y desde entonces ha estado bien”, dijo Doris.

Doris dijo que su marido tiene Alzheimer y que, en la actualidad, viven de sus beneficios del Seguro Social y la jubilación estatal de Doris.

“No podríamos haberlo logrado sin SoonerCare y todo el tratamiento médico que le proporcionaron a Jason”, dijo. “SoonerCare nos ha ayudado a mí y él tremendamente.”

"Latrita tiene dificultades para contener su asombro al describir a un niño que ahora tiene la autoestima no sólo para hablar, sino que es ahora diácono junior en su iglesia y se postuló para presidente del cuerpo estudiantil. Y en un claro contraste con unos años atrás, Anthony ahora es tutor de otros estudiantes en su clase." 


Anthony Burke siempre caminaba de puntillas, pero su madre dijo que trató de conseguir ayuda médica cuando él empezó a quejarse de que le dolían las rodillas.

“Lo llevé de médico en médico –dijo Latrita McFadden, la madre de Anthony– “y todos dijeron que lo superaría con la edad”.

Su madre dijo que miraría hacia el suelo y no hablaría con otras personas debido a un impedimento del habla.

“Él caminaba con la cabeza baja y como tratando de evitar a todos”, dijo Latrita. Anthony volvió retraído y no leía en voz alta en clase. “Él era objeto de burlas y su autoestima era baja.”

Cuando su madre lo inscribió en SoonerCare, Anthony recibió ayuda muy necesaria para sus problemas de salud. Los médicos descubrieron que los tendones de Aquiles de Anthony eran más cortos de lo normal. Anthony tuvo una cirugía y recibió tratamiento médico para sus pies más la terapia del habla.

Anthony ya terminó con la terapia física y del habla, y su madre dice que su autoestima se “disparó”.

Latrita tiene dificultades para contener su asombro al describir a un niño que ahora tiene la autoestima no sólo para hablar, sino que es ahora diácono junior en su iglesia y se postuló para presidente del cuerpo estudiantil. Y en un claro contraste con unos años atrás, Anthony ahora es tutor de otros estudiantes en su clase.

Anthony no ganó las elecciones de la escuela, pero dice que se va a postular el próximo año y que la carrera seguirá hasta que gane.

“Es gracioso porque, dice, literalmente, la carrera seguirá. Sabe que puede correr y sus pies funcionan ahora como se supone que deben hacerlo”, dijo.

Ahora Anthony puede hacer carreras en más de un sentido.

"A medida que los problemas médicos aumentaban, también lo hacían los gastos. Brady iba a necesitar cuidados las 24 horas del día, incluso después de regresar a casa. Wells tuvo que dejar su trabajo como enfermera para cuidar a su hijo." 


Esta es la historia de un chico de 15 años de edad, cuya vida cambió gracias a una familia determinada, a dedicados cirujanos, a un Jugador Más Valioso de la Serie Mundial y a SoonerCare.

Cuando Brady Wells nació, los médicos y los padres sabían que tenía un grave problema cardíaco. Su madre, Valerie Wells, dijo que fueron “83 días de montaña rusa” de no saber si su hijo iba a sobrevivir y ser capaz de volver a casa.

El ventrículo izquierdo del corazón de Brady era deforme y el personal médico utilizó un procedimiento de “contrafase” para corregir el problema, dijo Wells. “Pensaban que era sólo sus pulmones”, dijo. “Pero después de algunas pruebas, descubrieron que su problema era más de su corazón que de sus pulmones.”

A medida que los problemas médicos aumentaban, también lo hacían los gastos. Brady iba a necesitar cuidados las 24 horas del día, incluso después de regresar a casa. Wells tuvo que dejar su trabajo como enfermera para cuidar a su hijo.

“Yo tenía un seguro en ese momento –dijo Wells – pero yo no podía trabajar debido a la enfermedad de mi hijo, así que fui a SoonerCare.”

Ella dijo que Brady tuvo que tomar medicamentos durante unos siete años y se retrasó en el inicio de la escuela un año. Para entonces, los médicos pensaron que Brady había mejorado. “Fuimos a las citas anuales después de que tenía unos siete años y pensamos que todo estaba bien”, dijo.

En el verano de 2009, después de haber estado sin medicamentos durante varios años, el chico Brady de 15 años de edad asistía a la escuela y jugaba béisbol, su pasión.

Brady tenía alergias y asma, dijo Wells, pero por lo demás parecía estar bien. Fue a sus chequeos anuales con el médico, tuvo visitas de rutina con su médico de alergias y fue cada tres meses a ver a un especialista en asma.

“Le encantaba el béisbol –dijo Wells– y jugaba béisbol mucho. Tomó toneladas de medicamentos para el asma, pero Brady tuvo que usar su inhalador una sola vez, en todos los años que jugó béisbol.”

A finales de junio, Brady terminó su temporada de béisbol y luego a mediados de julio tuvimos una visita de rutina con su médico de alergias.

El examen resultó ser todo menos rutinario. Las radiografías indicaban que el corazón de Brady se había agrandado mucho. Su médico de alergias dijo que no tenía idea de cómo Brady podía jugar béisbol; su cuerpo recibía muy poco oxígeno.

Se ordenaron más pruebas, pero los resultados no fueron buenos. Su médico programó un viaje para que Brady fuese al Children’s Hospital de San Luis para ver a un especialista en trasplantes durante una semana de pruebas.

La conclusión al final de la semana de la pruebas era que Brady estaba en la etapa final de  insuficiencia cardíaca congestiva.

Además de los graves problemas cardíacos, los médicos habían determinado que Brady tampoco tenía arteria carótida en el costado derecho. La arteria es un importante proveedor de sangre y oxígeno al cerebro y el cuerpo.

Los médicos estaban asombrados por la magnitud de los daños y aún más sorprendidos por la resistencia de Brady. Un cirujano le dijo a la madre del adolescente: “No me explico cómo no se cayó muerto en el campo de juego.”

Brady tuvo que permanecer en San Luis y esperar un trasplante de corazón. Él y su madre se quedaron en la Casa Ronald McDonald de la calle Pine mientras esperaban un corazón disponible. El día después de salir del hospital, el padre de Brady tomó un autobús de regreso a Claremore desde San Luis.

Los días en San Luis fueron difíciles para la familia Brady. Valerie dijo que Brady estaba en una posición de prelación en la lista de trasplantes, pero ella y su familia sabían que otra familia tendría que sufrir una pérdida para que Brady tuviera la oportunidad de vivir otra vez.

“Hemos tenido personas y oraciones de todo el mundo para Brady”, dijo. “Brady tenía un hermano en el ejército, y nos pusimos al teléfono con todo el mundo y les pedimos que oraran aquí, en el extranjero y en todas partes.”

Pero lo único que ellos podían hacer era esperar, dijo Valerie, y orar por un corazón y por la familia que perdería un ser querido para poner el corazón a disposición de Brady.

Ingresa David Freese, un jugador de béisbol de los Cardenales de San Luis y Jugador Más Valioso de la Serie Mundial 2011, y su madre, quien trabajaba como voluntaria en una Casa Ronald McDonald cerca del hospital donde Brady estaba recibiendo tratamiento.

La madre de Freese, Lynn, se interesó muy especialmente en Brady. Supo que le encantaba jugar béisbol y le preguntó si le gustaría conocer a su hijo. David Freese se reunió con Brady, hablaron de béisbol y de su entusiasmo por la próxima temporada en que iba a jugar de tercera base para los Cardenales de San Luis.

David fue a visitar a Brady y le llevó un bate. Balanceó el bate y se lo dio a Brady. Llevó también otros objetos del equipo de los Cardenales de San Luis para Brady y habló de béisbol con el adolescente que extrañaba mucho su casa y el béisbol.

Cuando recibí la llamada, el día después de Acción de Gracias de 2009, Valerie dijo que ella y Brady pasaron las cinco señales de parada entre la Casa Ronald McDonald y el estacionamiento del hospital en 22 minutos.

“Teníamos la opción de volver a casa para Acción de Gracias, pero eso habría significado que Brady fuese retirado de la lista de trasplantes mientras estábamos ausentes”, dijo Valerie. “Le di la elección. Sabía que echaría de menos a nuestra familia en casa.”

Pero Brady tomó la decisión de quedarse, y tenían en San Luis algunos de los platos tradicionales de la familia para Acción de Gracias.

“Si no nos hubiéramos quedado, él no habría obtenido el corazón”, dijo ella. Valerie dijo que el corazón que recibió provenía de un joven de 18 años de edad que había perdido la vida el día de Acción de Gracias. “Oramos mucho por la familia de ese joven y por su decisión de dar a alguien un regalo.”

¿Y la primera pregunta que Brady le hizo al médico después de la cirugía?: “¿Cuándo puedo ir a casa y cuándo puedo jugar béisbol?”

Valerie dijo que Brady recibió su último tratamiento el 18 de diciembre y que se fueron a casa en Claremore el 19 de diciembre de 2009. Pero antes de irse a casa, David Freese volvió a visitar a su amigo, Brady. Llegó con una gran bolsa de regalos para su joven amigo y un PlayStation de 8 gigas con una variedad de los juegos más recientes que entrarían en escena en 2010. Y Brady y David tuvieron una agradable visita antes de que el adolescente reversara a casa.

Desde su regreso a Claremore con un corazón nuevo, Brady ha estado poniéndose al día con los trabajos escolares que perdió y obteniendo créditos para que pueda graduarse con su clase de secundaria. Brady no pudo jugar al béisbol con el equipo de la secundaria durante su primer año, pero su madre dijo que pudo ponerse al día con sus créditos escolares y cuidar de su salud.

Brady se ha mantenido en contacto con David desde que regresó a Claremore. Valerie dijo que Brady iba a menudo a casa de sus abuelos para ver a los Cardenales de San Luis jugar una temporada que terminaba con el Campeonato de la Serie Mundial.

“Para cuando llegó la Serie Mundial –dijo Valerie– yo también iba a ver los encuentros.”

Valerie bromeó diciendo que estaba bastante segura de que David Freese podía oír a sus mayores fans gritando desde Oklahoma. Y por si fuera poco, David envió un texto a Brady con una foto suya con el trofeo de Jugador Más Valioso de la Serie Mundial.

“Es difícil creer lo mucho que ha hecho por Brady”, dijo. “Y llamarlo un amigo significa mucho para Brady.”

Para Brady y su familia ha sido un camino largo y de mucho trabajo. Este verano, Brady está jugando béisbol, el deporte que le fascina.

En cuanto al futuro, su madre dijo: “Brady está entrando en su último año, ¡y jugará a la pelota!”

"SoonerCare, gracias por ayudarnos a satisfacer las necesidades físicas, emocionales y de desarrollo de nuestras hijas que –por causas ajenas– fueron traumatizadas antes de haber nacido." 


En 1999, mi esposo y yo nos hicimos padres de crianza de dos niñas pequeñas que son hermanas biológicas. Ambas niñas estuvieron expuestas al alcohol y las drogas antes de nacer. Como resultado, ambas tienen problemas de salud médicos y conductuales que están directamente relacionados con este trauma.

Los estudios indican que las niñas que están traumatizadas por el maltrato y/o descuido están en mayor riesgo de problemas de salud, problemas de aprendizaje, retraso en el desarrollo, discapacidades físicas y dificultades mentales en grados moderados a graves.

En 2001, cuando finalizamos el procedimiento de adopción para nuestras hijas, continuamos recibiendo los beneficios de Medicaid como una prestación de asistencia de adopción. A pesar de que tenemos un seguro de salud particular, que proporciona la cobertura de seguro primario a las niñas, el conocimiento de que teníamos la red de seguridad de Medicaid como seguro secundario alivió nuestras preocupaciones con respecto a nuestra capacidad de pagar la atención de estas niñas con necesidades médicas complejas.

En 2002, nos mudamos a Oklahoma desde Illinois, y la cobertura de Medicaid continuó en Oklahoma como una prestación de asistencia de adopción. Con los años, nuestras hijas han requerido los servicios de cardiólogos pediatras, endocrinólogos pediatras, psiquiatras infantiles, patólogos del habla y el lenguaje, neurólogos pediatras, fisioterapeutas, terapeutas ocupacionales, psicólogos, urólogos pediátricos, cirujanos ortopédicos y pediatras. También se han beneficiado ellas de la cobertura de medicamentos recetados.

Tener SoonerCare (Medicaid Oklahoma) como una cobertura secundaria para nuestras hijas les ha permitido beneficiarse de experiencias adicionales que no habríamos podido pagar si no hubiéramos tenido tanto nuestro seguro médico particular como, sobre todo, SoonerCare.

SoonerCare, gracias por ayudarnos a satisfacer las necesidades físicas, emocionales y de desarrollo de nuestras hijas que –por causas ajenas– fueron traumatizadas antes de haber nacido.

"Por encima de todo, sólo agradece a Dios que vivimos en un país que todavía cuida de los necesitados durante los tiempos difíciles."


Hace un par de años, el ingreso de mi hogar estaba apenas por encima del punto de corte para calificar para SoonerCare. Estaba obligada a pagar un seguro particular, con primas por las nubes, ridículos co-pagos y deducibles y abusivas cláusulas de condiciones preexistentes.

Cada vez que mis hijos se enfermaban, pensaba: “¿Realmente es necesario llevarlos al médico?” Cada enfermedad fácilmente me podría costar entre $ 75 y más. A menudo me encontraba yo misma autodiagnosticando a mis hijos y tratándolos con remedios de venta libre, algo peligroso para los niños pequeños.

Hoy, mis circunstancias financieras son un poco más difíciles, pero soy muy afortunada de saber que la salud de mis hijos es atendida. Hace unas semanas mi hijo de 10 años de edad tenía dificultades para respirar y dolor en el pecho. No lo pensé dos veces antes de llevarlo a la atención de urgencia más cercana, donde le hicieron un examen completo y le tomaron radiografías que indicaron que tenía neumonía.

En cuanto recogí la receta médica, recuerdo que agradecí a Dios y el farmacéutico porque todo estaba cubierto: el inhalador, las terapias de respiración, los antibióticos, la visita de atención de urgencia. No tuve que preocuparse ni por un solo centavo. Es curioso, porque tuve esta misma conversación con la empleada de la farmacia mientras los trámites de salida después de esa muy larga noche. Sus palabras fueron: “Por encima de todo, sólo agradece a Dios que vivimos en un país que todavía cuida de los necesitados durante los tiempos difíciles.”

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