The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 18, 1986 · Page 18
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 18

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, January 18, 1986
Page 18
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The Salina Journal Saturday, January 18,1986 Page 18 Baby, mother fight regulations, red tape DANVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Tiny 16- month-old Megan Demchak, whose life began 12 weeks prematurely and has been a struggle ever since, is a classic medical "Catch-22," her doctors say. The ll-pound-5-ounce, 24%-inch baby has spent her entire life in the hospital, trying to recuperate from the severe lung problems associated with her premature birth. Finally, she is well enough to go home. However, because doctors were able to wean Megan from the breathing machine that kept her alive for a year, neither federal nor state money will cover the cost of her at-home care, unless an exception is made. In Megan's case, that exception came today. Denise Niedzielski, the Legal Services attorney who represents Megan's mother, said she had received a letter from the Department of Public Welfare. The letter said it had agreed to abide by a hearing officer's decision to make an exception in Megan's case and pay for the private-duty nursing the little girl needed to go home. Another section of the welfare department could appeal the decision, dated Jan. 15, within 15 days. However, Niedzielski said she believed that was unlikely. M^gan is one of thousands of so- called "high-tech" children. No one is sure of the exact number, though RALPH WEIGEL Bonds - Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron one national organization estimates there are about 10,000. Their lives literally are dependent on medicine's machines, but because public funds don't generally cover their at-home care, they remain hospitalized at a higher cost. Only about 10 states have programs in place to deal with the issue, officials say. Several bills introduced in Congress are trying to address the problem, including one that calls for flexible use of public money to allow for home care when it can be proved equal to or cheaper than the hospital. But none of that helped Megan. For Megan, the red tape meant life confined to a hospital ward for sick children. For Megan's mother, 21-year-old Maryellen Demchak, it meant months of sleeping in waiting-room lounge chairs and shuttling the 53 miles between her home and the Geisinger Medical Center. The trip that brings her together with Megan separates her from her 3-year-old son, David. Demchak, a single mother, supports her family on $493 a month in welfare and food stamps. She can't afford home care, and Megan's doctor says releasing a child with a tracheostomy and no at-home nursing help is a risk. "It's becoming a very, very recurring theme, not just here but all across America. ... we have the ability to take care of these kids at home at a more cost-effective way of doing it," said Stephen Wolf, Megan's physician. Megan's hospital bill so far is about $550,000 and growing daily. The bill is expected to be a mini"Farming can be complicated these days. Same goes for income taxes. So I go to H&R Block." "With farming, one wrong step and it could cost you down the road. The same is true with tax preparation, and that's why 1 always go to H&.R Block. My preparer is trained to know all the special problems that farmers face. And that saves me money. So I'll do the farm work while Block does the tax work." People who know their business go to Hours: 9 to 9 Mondty-f rlday 9 to 5 Saturday H&R BLOCK Sunset Plaza 827-5817 Also In SEAJRS 254 S. Santa Fe 827-4253 51 OS. Santa Fe Megan Demchak is held by her mother, MaryeDen. mum of $225,000 a year from now on. the hospital said. By contrast, Megan's home care would cost between (36,000 to $49,000 a year, depending on the duration and intensity of care, said Sandy Wright, the hospital social worker assigned to Megan's case. Home care would include the liquid oxygen that feeds through the hole in Megan's throat helping her to breathe, a heart monitor and other equipment and a fulltime nurse. Wolf anticipates Megan will need this care about 18 more months. But Pennsylvania's Medicaid program doesn't cover the cost of a heart monitor and nursing, the bulk of home-care costs. Although the state Department of Public Welfare had agreed to compromise on the $3,000 monitor, it took the department about six weeks to rule on the nursing issue, according to Miss Niedzielski. Ironically, if Megan were weaker and still relying on a respirator to breathe, her home care'would be covered under a special state program begun in 1979 for children requiring a ventilator at home, according to Dr. Anne Keller, director of the Health Department's division of rehabilitation. "The ethics of it stink," Wolf said. "I could've had Megan home already on a ventilator, but that's not the best for Megan. It's sort of a 'Catch-22.' By getting them better, they're in the hospital longer." The problem of what to do with Megan is not unique. It grows bigger daily as medical advances save more premature babies who either inherit or develop physical problems because of their early birth. In Geisinger's newborn intensive care unit alone, there are four other infants following Megan's path, said Dr. Robert Spahr, director of newborn medicine. Across the state, there are about 60 children like Megan who are not ventilator-bound, said Betty Wingel, head of the Pennsylvania chapter of SKIP Inc.^ "This is a national problem," agreed Karen Shannon, founder of the Maryland-based SKIP, which stands for Sick Kids (Need) Involved People. Currently, only 10 states have any kind of provision to allow these "high-tech children" to use Medicaid dollars for their recovery at home, Shannon said. AN OUT-OF-DATE ATLAS COULD BE WORSE THAN NO ROAD ATLAS AT ALL. ROAD CLOSED Every year there are thousands of changes in the U.S. Road System. Routes are added, extended, re-routed, renumbered and closed. Towns pop up. Towns disappear. Information about airports, hospitals, and shopping areas change. Last year there were over 20,000 changes. And at Rand McNally, we kept track of them all. bonus discount coupons to save you time, gas and money. Rand date. McNally keeps you up-to- With the new 1986 Rand McNally Road •Atlas you get the most accurate, most reliable, most useful travel information available anywhere. Up-to-date information to get you where you want to go. Detailed, easy-to-read maps, valuable travel aids and Only Plus $1.00 rebate OPEN Monday-Friday 9:00-5:30 Thursday 9:00-8:00 Saturday 9:00-5:00 SCHOOL SPECIALTY SUPPLY, INC, Woman chases thief,, recovers handbag CENTRALIA, IB. (,\P) — Joyce Neaville saw a purse snatcher grab a woman's handbag and got so angry she recovered the purse and got the name and address of the person accused of stealing it. Despite her success, bo wever, she said she might not do it again, given the chance. Neaville, 38, said siw wss living a sjrvoery store Thursday afternoon when sJw ssw a yvuns wwtiun run up behind socneooe else, grab {be pens? A:\5 bop into a van that drove away. Cta the way isocse, si>? saxi, sJjf s*w :i*> V&B and "I pclied my csr owe. <o lixyr v\x;).fc v . jw fartiwr js."4 <xs aad ni&ie '.bee-. c.\-t •;.•>( '± But she turned over the purse and also supplied her name and address. ' 'It surprised me later when I thought about it that they had turned it over to me," Neaville said. ' "The only thing I was thinking at the time was that they could have all this old lady's money, papers and everything, and she wouldn't have anything left." Police Chief Kermit Justice said the woman was arrested on a theft charge later in the day. The purse was returned to its owner. "It took a lot of courage to do this. I wish more citizens would be involved," Justice said Friday. "My husband chewed me out for it pretty good," XeaviUe said. "He and my kids said: 'Why did you do it? You could have been killed!' "At the moment, I wasn't thinking. I was just so mad I did it. But I think I would think first before I did it again.'' 214 S. Santa Fe Downtown Salina 825-1641 The Church... '.THE HOPE OF OUR COMMUNITY, OUR NATION! Thursday Ephesians 2:1-10 It can be pretty disturbing the first time you realize that your baby really isn't yours at all — that you do not possess him. Yet the sooner you do realize it, the better. We can't possess another person no matter how dearly we love them. And in the case of our children, we are custodians, not owners. You take him for a walk around the block and people stop you to say, "What a beautiful baby!" You try to be modest about it, but your heart is bursting with pride. He is the most beautiful baby — and — he's yours! Or is he? Start going to church this Sunday. Chances are that they've even got a nursery for beautiful babies! He is a beautiful baby — and you, naturally, want nothing more than for him to grow up into a fine young man. It is your responsibility, in the years ahead, to help him do so — and you will find the strength and guidance to aid you in your task in your church. Scriptures Selected by The American Bible Society Copyright 1986, Keisler-Williams Newspaper Services, P. O. Box 8005, Charlottesville, VA 22906 The Sponsors Of This Feature Do So With The Hope That More People Will Attend The Church Or Synagogue Of Their Choice On A Weekly Basis! Royal Tire Co., Inc. Robert Pickrell & Employees Warta Buick-Subaru, Inc. Lawrence Warta & Personnel Truck ft Auto Service Center, Inc. Chuck Parnell & Employees Village Inn Pancake House Steve Coffey & Employees Salina Concrete Products, Inc. Lyle Morgan & Staff Elmore Sundries ft Gifts Jim Anderson & Employees Wood Fashion Cleaners ft Pete's Laundry Employees Brown's Shoe Fit Company 122 S. Santa Fe ComputerLand of Salina John Gunn & Staff Horizon Realty of Salina, Inc. Mary Lou Steele Waddell ft Reed, Inc. Doug Champan & Staff ' Twin Valley Garden Center, Inc. Marvin Prater & Staff American Fire Equipment Co. Headquarters for Fire and Safety Equipment Gary L. Weis Anywhere Travel Ann Greene & Staff Central Appliance Bill Rodgers & Staff Bob-Kat Kwik Print Bob & Kathy Reynolds Del's Alternator ft Starter Service Del Herbel Bennett Pontiac Jeep ft Mazda, Inc. Ralph & Jeff Bennett Hassman Termite and Pest Control, Inc. Howard Hassman & Staff Traylor Travel Service Jewell Traylor Pierson & Staff Jilka Furniture and Carpet 132 S. 5th, Downtown Salina Webb Johnson Electric, Inc. Lucille Johnson & Personnel J-J Chevrolet Jerry Grammar & Employees McCoy Christian Supply Rex Miller & Staff National Bank of America Officers, Directors & Staff Land Title Services Charley Griffin and Staff Key Rexall Drugs Tom Phillips, Fred Trawny, Jerry Franklin Prudential Insurance Co. of America Ralph Bullard, Rhea Bess, Pat Mages, Paul McDaniel, Bill Spann, Dale Peck, Roland Craig, Steve Fredrickson, Randall Mai — McPherson Treasure Trove Sue Polak & Staff Western Sizzlin Steak House Dub McElroy & Employees J. T.'s Heating ft Air Conditioning John T. Mick 827-7932 Tox-Eol Termite Service Jim Jan/is & Employees Both your FAITH and your-CHURCH GROW through REGULAR CHURCH ATTENDANCE

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