Thousands of central Florida children to be affected by Medicaid changes



CENTRAL FLORIDA - More than 200,000 children in central Florida could be affected by changes to Medicaid.

Children under 5 years old make up half that number, including 2-year-old Jahmell Tracey of Altamonte Springs.

Jahmell was born with an abdominal defect called ompholece. He also has clubbed feet, trouble breathing and other medical issues.

His parents hold on to hope after watching his progress in physical therapy sessions, but they said that progress will be slowed by changes in Medicaid.

“He has therapy three times a week for one hour. Now we are told it will only be nine times within three months,” said Jahmell’s mother, Octavia Tracey.

She said her state-funded health care provider recently broke the news to her family.

WFTV contacted state officials who said in an email that there are no cuts to Medicaid, but changes from restructuring.

“It’s hurtful. You don’t know where to reach out, what you’re supposed to do,” said Jahmell’s father, Jahmell Tracey.

Physical therapist Cheryl Hill has been working with Jahmell for a year.

“He was not sitting up. He wasn’t moving from side to side,” Hill said.

Jahmell’s movement has greatly improved from the therapy sessions.

A spokesperson for Medicaid said the changes went into effect Aug. 1, but there’s a 60-day grace period.