STAR Kids program raising concerns for special needs families

Many families, such as Colton Wendell's family, are worried they will lose their current doctors and care.

On Monday, thousands of families in Bexar County received a letter asking them to choose a health plan for their special needs child under the state's new STAR Kids program.

However, not all families are eager for the change.

Thousands of special needs families are sending a letter to Governor Greg Abbott asking him to revise the new program, because for them, this is a matter of life and death.

Since the moment he was born, 5-year-old Colton Wendell has been fighting.

"He was born with several issues,” said his mom Jenifer Wendell. “They actually didn't think he would make it past the night. They gave him a 5% chance of survival."

Wendell is taking on a new fight with the state.

Starting November 1, 2016 all special needs families in Texas will transition from their current healthcare program under Medicaid to STAR Kids.

Wendell worries what will happen under the new network.

“My concerns are losing doctors, having to start over with someone who doesn't know him, have the quality care, knowledge, or bedside manner of current doctors,” Wendell said.

Wendell says she called her doctors and many aren't even aware of the program.

“We are 90 days out and they don't even know it's going to be taking,” she said.

Under STAR Kids, families in Bexar County must choose a plan between two care organizations: Superior Health Plan or Community First Health Plans by October 12.

If they don’t, the state will automatically enroll them into a plan.

Community First is aware of many concerns, but directors insist families won't lose their current benefits.

"We are operating in the best interest of the child and the child's needs, so it is not in our best interest to come in and disrupt everything," said Kelly Longhofer with Community First.

Community First advises parents to make sure their current providers are in the network.

If not, it's possible they can still be enrolled.

"It's very stressful right now for all of us involved," said Wendell.

Community First adds that even though the program starts November 1, families will actually be protected for an additional 6 months under their current health plan.

For more information about STAR Kids, go here.

For more information about Community First, go here. Superior Health, go here.

To learn more about the group sending the letter to Governor Greg Abbott, go here.

There will also be several information sessions about the program before October 12.

They are as follows:

September 19, 2016 - Provider Information Session

2pm-4pm

AACOG AI J. Notzon III Conference Room

8700 Tesoro, Suite 100

San Antonio, Texas 78217


September 19, 2016 - Family Information Session (Translation services will be provided)

6pm-8pm

AACOG AI J. Notzon III Conference Room

8700 Tesoro, Suite 100

San Antonio, Texas 78217


September 20, 2016 - Family Information Session in English

9am-11am

AACOG AI J. Notzon III Conference Room

8700 Tesoro, Suite 100

San Antonio, Texas 78217


September 20, 2016 - Family Information Session in Spanish

1pm-3pm

AACOG AI J. Notzon III Conference Room

8700 Tesoro, Suite 100

San Antonio, Texas 78217

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