When a Florida child is adopted out of foster care they come with health care coverage courtesy of the state. No one told a Pinellas mom with a special needs 5-year-old there would be exceptions to that rule. We set out to find out why she got hit with a $900 ambulance bill.
At first sight, Joshua appears to be a typical 5-year-old. His mom, Laurie adopted Joshua out of foster care at 3-months-old. Born to a drug addicted mother, he started throwing fits of rage as a toddler.
The violent outbursts became impossible for Laurie to control in spite of therapy and medication. In July, she took Joshua to Mease Countryside Hospital for an assessment. The hospital quickly Baker Acted the kindergartner and transported him by ambulance to a mental health facility in Lutz.
The ambulance bill which arrived in the mail came as a shock. Laurie said she was told Medicaid would cover any and all costs associated with Joshua’s healthcare.
We did some checking and found that Medicaid's own rules say ambulance rides are not covered related to a Baker Act but they are if it is in the best interest of the patient.
We contacted Children's Medical Services and asked that the state review this case. Days later, CMS told Laurie the bill would be taken care of.
Now this single mother can return to the full-time job of caring for and seeking the best treatment for her son.