Some medically fragile children receive waivered daycare costs through Medicaid insurance
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Becoming a parent can be exciting. But once the baby arrives many parents bear the brunt of finding childcare, let alone the expenses that come with it.
However, there is help available for parents with special needs children who typically face a more stressful search for the perfect daycare center.
“It would not be possible for most parents to pay for this out of pocket,” said Christy Kimbrough.
Christy Kimbrough is the director of nursing at Pedia Trust in Hattiesburg, where nurses and technicians tend to special needs children day in and day out.
Pedia Trust is a daycare for medically fragile children that is completely paid for by Medicaid.
“We are 100% covered by Medicaid. We are staffed with nurses that have pediatric experience as well as techs that help us care for the kids,” Kimbrough said. “And we also have transportation to serve kids not only in the Hattiesburg area but outside counties,” said Kimbrough.
“That’s one of the things I was initially worried about,” said one parent, Symone Leverette. “I was like how we are going to be able to afford it.”
Leverette is the mother of two-year-old Nori who was born at just 28 weeks. Leverette said her early delivery caused her daughter to spend five months in the NICU and she’s still battling health complications to this day.
“She had NEC and that caused her to lose 75 percent of her small intestines,” said Leverette. “Now she has a G-tube (gastrostomy tube). When she first came home, she was totally dependent on the G-tube feedings, she couldn’t take anything by mouth.”
For the past two years, Nori has attended Pedia Trust and hasn’t had to worry about childcare expenses.
Throughout the daycare, there are healthcare staff members, which limits the stress and worry of parents.
Kimbrough said facilities like this allow Leverette and other parents to work without worrying about their child’s wellbeing.
“Like if we were to try to take her to therapy outside of here we would have to miss work because she gets occupational, speech and physical therapy,” Leverette said. “It’s good to have all of these things at one place.”
Kimbrough said there are other daycares like this across the state. Pedia Trust has a total of five locations, two in Mississippi and three in Louisiana.
Pedia Trust not only waivers childcare cost through state insurance but also work with school districts to meet educational needs. Most of the children spend nearly 10 hours here each day and Kimbrough believes it’s her job to always welcome them with open arms and make them feel at home.
“One of our points is that kids come first,” Kimbrough said. “What I always say especially when we’re looking for nurses or anybody positioned that we need feel. I want this to be a fun place when they walk through this door they need to be excited about being here. This is the best part of their day.”
“They’re great,” said Leverette. “I couldn’t ask for a better staff. They’re amazing and Nori loves them. She talks about them all the time and she’s always thrilled to come here and be with them. They’re all professional and know what they’re doing. Very knowledgeable.”
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