Readers may remember our story on Finn Bullers, the Prairie Village man who lost his Medicaid coverage and nursing care at the first of the year. At our last report, Bullers appeared to be well on the way to getting back on track with the state’s new KanCare system that took over Medicaid services on Jan. 1.
However, Bullers has not been able to get skilled nursing care restored. On Monday Johnson County Med-Act emergency responders were called to remove a blockage from his airway and restore his breathing. Bullers says he was choking on his own phlegm and “gasping to breathe.”
Bullers relies on a ventilator to breathe, has Type-1 diabetes and muscular dystrophy and requires 24-hour care. He said rescuers performed deep suctioning to remove accumulated phlegm blocking the airway. He previously had skilled nursing care that provided suctioning twice daily and care for wounds that are a result of the diabetes.
Bullers reported to shawneemissionpost.com last week that his case manager had advised the family that skilled nursing was no longer needed based on a evaluation of his wound care. “I continue to contribute to my community and my world,” Bullers said. “The need for skilled nursing will not go away. To contribute without being a healthcare cost drain, I need to breathe. I need skilled nursing to suction for tracheostomy care.” The ventilator is a result of the degenerative muscular dystrophy.
In the first week of January the KanCare ombudsman intervened to get Bullers assigned a provider in the system and his attendant nursing care was restored, but not skilled nursing.
Bullers said this morning that his case manager recognizes the need for skilled nursing and they are trying to get a primary care appointment to sign off on restoring the service.
Previous Medicaid recipients were assigned private managed-care companies for their health care management.
Bullers is a former Kansas City Star reporter. He lives with his wife and two children.