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Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services

IPAS > Special Education > Overview > Rameisha - Communication: Independence through IPAS Rameisha - Communication: Independence through IPAS

RameishaWhen pediatric rehab nurse Cheryl adopted her daughter, Rameisha, at the age of four, she was already a million dollar baby.

A slew of health problems had left Rameisha on a ventilator and with a feeding tube.

"It was actually a blessing that we adopted her out of Pennsylvania, because she was new to the Indiana Medicaid system," Cheryl explained.

However, Medicaid expenses for Rameisha added up quickly. Recently, the family's claim to get Rameisha a communication device was denied.

"Since she doesn't speak, we felt it was critical to get Rameisha a Springboard to help her communicate," Cheryl said.

The family had prior authorization from Medicaid to purchase the small, handheld touch screen device. But, the amount Medicaid was going to pay would have created a loss for the company that makes the device—and they didn't want to take that loss. The family's claim was denied.

In response, one of Rameisha's speech pathologists directed Cheryl to IPAS. "IPAS helped negotiate, and worked with Medicaid to agree on an acceptable amount," Cheryl said. "Our case was actually successfully resolved in six to eight weeks."

Cheryl says that their experience with IPAS was a tremendously positive one.

"There was never a thought that we couldn't get this accomplished, it was just a matter of when," Cheryl shared.

Today, Rameisha is 8 years old and doing well. She uses her Springboard every day to increase her ability to communicate at school and with her family. In fact, a recent update to its software has further enhanced this augmentative communication device.

Cheryl feels it is important that people are aware IPAS is out there.

"IPAS is all for individuals who have disabilities and helping them get what they need to be independent and have good quality of life," she said. "There are so many people who need so much help, but don't know how to do it. In our case, the fact that I was willing to fight helped, but it's nice to know there is someone ready and able to help us in that fight."

Note: Rameisha's experience with IPAS led to positive life changes not only for her, but for other Hoosiers needing this communication device. The 8-year-old's case allowed IPAS to trail blaze an entire systems change to benefit many other individuals with disabilities. On behalf of Rameisha, IPAS contacted Prentke-Romich, the vendor who manufactures the speech device. In response, the company contacted Indiana Medicaid, which decided to set a higher Medicaid reimbursement rate for the device. Prentke-Romich then went back through their records and made contact with all individuals who had previously received denials for the device due to the low Medicaid reimbursement rate, offering to provide those same individuals with the device.