‘I can finally breathe’: Local grandmother with dementia won’t lose critical care, credits Channel 9

ORLAND, Fla. — After 10 grueling days of uncertainty, one family told Channel 9 they “can finally breathe” knowing their 84-year-old mother and grandmother won’t lose critical care.


For more than a week, Jacqueline Bell said she was given the runaround over a dispute with the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Since 2018, Bell’s mother Thelma Jackson has received Long Term Care through Medicaid.

Jackson is bedridden and has dementia.

For years, she’s had fulltime caregivers at her Orlando home partially paid for by state program.

“My mom can’t fend for herself. She can’t fix herself a meal, she can’t change herself. She can’t do anything that you and I take for granted,” said Jacqueline Bell.

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On January 22nd, the family sent Medicaid renewal documents for Thelma Jackson to Humana, which has overseen Jackson’s long-term care since 2018. That same day, Humana sent renewal paperwork via fax to the Department of Children and Families.

But on February 19th, the family received a notice of non-renewal from DCF saying Jackson’s Medicaid benefits would end February 29th.

DCF said they never received the documents needed to renew Medicaid, but a fax report shows DCF got those papers from Humana 25 days ahead of the deadline.

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Despite plenty of calls to DCF Bell wasn’t making progress until Channel 9 got involved.

“As of midnight on February 29, there will be no caregivers that show up. And when I asked, what am I supposed to do? They said you’re gonna have to figure that out,” said Bell.

After Eyewitness News contacted DCF about the family’s case Wednesday, Bell got a call from DCF.

The agency told her it does in fact have the documents needed and that the system should show a fix within 24 hours.

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