Autistic Child Turned Away From Clinic Because It Was Over State Lines

FORT MILL, S.C. (CBS Atlanta) — The invisible line that separates states kept a young, autistic child from receiving the care he needed after falling down a flight of stairs.

WBTV reports three-year-old Liam Adams took a tumble down a flight of brick steps inside his family’s home in Fort Mill. The incident left him bleeding a swollen, prompting is mother, Brooke Adams, to rush him to the nearest medical facility.

Upon arriving at a Carolinas HealthCare Systems Urgent Care facility in Ballantyne, N. C. the front desk turned the family away.

“They said they couldn’t see him because of the South Carolina Medicaid,” mother Brooke said.

After being turned away initially, Brooke’s husband offered to pay for the medical coverage with their United health insurance or cash out of pocket.

Eventually a doctor saw the family but only to let them know they had to go back to South Carolina.

The doctor only reported that that child looked “stable.”

Brooke and her family left the medical facility and headed back across the border.

“It was a scary drive, from North Carolina to South Carolina. Those minutes were crucial, especially with a head injury, you never know,” Brooke said.

Fortunately, Liam received the care he needed and turned out okay, but Brooke still isn’t happy with her family’s treatment across the state border.

“My son’s life was not worth that stress and that risk,” she said.

For their part, Carolinas Healthcare Systems released the following statement:

“Patients are always our top priority, and our leaders reached out directly to Ms. Adams last week to discuss and resolve the issue. Regarding the Medicaid question, patients may only have Medicaid in one state, and hospital systems may independently determine if they will accept out-of-state Medicaid. At Carolinas HealthCare System, all of our North Carolina hospitals and some of our practices accept South Carolina Medicaid. Our urgent care location in Ballantyne is not currently enrolled in South Carolina Medicaid, but is able to accept alternative payment sources should a patient have them. We are working to ensure staff at this and all applicable practices are informed of this fact and that they act accordingly. Additionally, for the benefit of our South Carolina patients who live near the North Carolina border, we are exploring having our urgent care locations near South Carolina enroll in South Carolina Medicaid.”

However, Brooke’s rebuttal speaks more about the issue of morality.

“Morally it wasn’t right. They shouldn’t have treated anyone like that and we don’t want it to happen again.”

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