State budget cuts are putting some of our state's most vulnerable in jeopardy and a group of Valley people are calling on lawmakers to make a change. After a ten percent cut in Medi-Cal reimbursements last year., companies that provide wheelchairs to children and adults with disabilities are now in danger of going out of business.
Joe Callandri is an outgoing and funny little boy. He's in preschool and he just started playing t-ball; normal, everyday perks of childhood that wouldn't be possible without his wheelchair.
Joe's mom Kim Callandri says, "With his chair at least he can be somewhat independent."
Joe has a fatal form of muscular dystrophy and is unable to walk. He relies on wheelchairs, walkers and other equipment to get around everyday, but his mobility is being threatened by cuts in state Medi-Cal funding.
Peter Horkin with National Seating and Mobility says, "We are supposed to provide the same technology at a ten percent reduced rate than we did at this time last year."
National Seating and Mobility is one of the largest custom wheelchair providers in California, but because of reimbursement cuts it's services could be slashed, leaving many families with no where to turn.
Katrina Oh says, "We don't know how long he'll be here and we want to make it the best that we can."
Katrina Oh's five year old son has Cerebral Palsy. She's already taking action, reaching out to Sacramento and demanding funding be restored. Some lawmakers are also on board saying the state could eventually pay more in long term care for the patients if cuts aren't rescinded.
Assembly member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) says, "We're heading toward very high spikes in cost overall and we're heading toward what amounts to rationed care and I think that is an unacceptable set of circumstances for California."
A bill is in the works to restore the ten percent cut for next year's budget which takes affect July first.