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Help My Friend Ken

You can’t put a price on a human life, but Molina Health Care can. They will tell you what kind of medication you can have, or what type of treatment you are entitled to. The will tell you what type of medical equipment you need despite what a physician will prescribe. Of course, once you have reached a certain level of care they simply stop paying the bills and refuse to assist you in any fashion. This is the state my friend Ken finds himself in.

Ken Webster was a hard working man. He worked for General Motors in the later 60‘s and spent his time with friends and family. In the 70‘s Ken chose to give up his position in General Motors to pursue a different job, one with God. He would spend the next two decades doing the work of a Pentecostal Minister and raising a family. However, he would be tested in this new vocation. In 1980 Ken would be diagnosed with Nero-Muscular Dystonia, one of the many thousands of Muscular Dystrophy Diseases we hear about every year.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, which force certain parts of the body into abnormal, contorted, sometimes painful, movements or postures. Dystonia can seriously impair patients’ quality of life. The severe muscle contractions that characterize the disease can interfere with basic daily functions such as walking, sitting, sleeping, eating, and talking. Due to awkward postures and the inability to control certain muscles, some dystonia patients may find it embarrassing to go out in public. While dystonia can negatively impact patients’ motor functions, the disease does not impair cognition, sometimes making patients feel like prisoners within their own bodies.

In Ken’s case he has progressed to the point where he can not move or speak without extreme assistance. He can not go to the bathroom, he can not roll in bed. He can not even work the remote to change the channel or turn the television up or down. Communication is an exercise in patience. Each word is either memorize as a guttural sound or is deciphered letter by letter. Yet, Ken goes on in this horrible prison. Why? Because he firmly believes that God uses people in two ways. He tests some to see if they are fit to serve, and he uses others as an example. Every day he shows others that their lives are not as bad as they might think.

Molina Health Care however, would deny him that simple dignity. Molina Health Care is one of the Primary Insurance Providers in the State of Michigan for the Medicaid Program. Those on public assistance, or in the case of Ken on State Funded Medical Disability receive such insurance. However, in the case of Ken, he receives only what they deem as cost effective. Treatments are not necessary because of their cost. Equipment should only be utilized by those who will recover quickly and pain management medication should only be given to those who will one day not need them.

He is not even entitled to a wound care bed unless and I quote “he has bones protruding threw his wounds.” If such a condition were to exist those taking care of Ken would be accused of neglect. Home health care nurses, who formerly visited twice a week, have been determined to be a luxury. His case worker not only works diligently to have Ken placed into a nursing home, but denies him essential pain medication to encourage him to do so. Why? Michigan has recently passed a law that states if a patient is in a nursing home at the time of death, no matter how long, Molina and other companies like them can recover monies and properties from the family. If Ken remains at home, with the people who have loved and cared for him all these years, the State and the Insurance Company receives nothing.

Each day Ken’s family is forced to make extreme decisions. Do they pay the electric bill or pay for his pain medication? Do they get him a new mattress or attempt to make equipment for Ken or pay the house payment. His wife, a former C.N.A. has dedicated her life to making Ken’s just a little better. She has spent the past 10 years doing nothing but caring for Ken because Molina Health Care has never seen the need for constant care. In this attempt she has actually broken her back. His daughter has given up her job as an E.M.T to take care of him full time. She has given up jobs, positions in the community, family time, and even risks her own home on a monthly basis just to make sure her father has what he needs in these final days. However, each day requires a little more, because the insurance company pays much less. This is where you can help.

Ken is currently in the hospital with pneumonia. Your words of encouragement and donations would greatly help. Perhaps you can not donate a dollar. Do not feel bad, Ken has never been one to beg, and would most likely be offended that he can not take care of these things himself. You can however, drop a line, and forward this to others who feel like you do, that a kind word and a prayer goes a long way. The more people who know about this situation the more we can help my friend Ken.
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