Navigating Medicaid for the Cummins-Bakko Family
In 2009, with nowhere else to turn, Katie Cummins-Bakko of St. Paul called Senator Franken for help. Her 6-year-old son, Owen, had been unable to digest most food for about a year without becoming violently ill, and the stress and the $11,000 in medical bills were overwhelming the family.
Owens' crippling condition stumped doctors and forced him to spend weeks at a time in the hospital and eat through a special tube. The family was denied help from Medicaid because, without a firm diagnosis, officials said his condition didn't qualify as a disability.
For months, the family not only had to deal with the trauma of Owen's illness, but also with the demands for payment by the doctors and hospitals who treated him. "I canceled our home phone because we had collection agencies calling 15 times a day," Katie said. "Some of them even found my cell phone number. It was very stressful."
Senator Franken's staff responded by helping her through the intimidating Medicaid appeals process. After several months of work, her appeal finally succeeded and most of the family's bills got paid. "It really meant so much to have Franken's staff spend so much time helping me," Katie said. "He listened and helped when no one else would."