LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Many accident victims across the state would soon lose their nurses or aides after today. This comes as agencies that provide those services will see a huge cut to funding due to the recent auto insurance law.
John Wicke, a 52-year-old man left paralyzed from a car accident needs 24-hour care, and starting today he can no longer get that.
Now, his home health care agency is on the hunt to find a facility that can give him care but they say everywhere is booked.
“Kind of makes me angry. These are the funds that I paid to the whole time I was driving and now somebody comes along and says sorry but you don’t deserve this money,” said Wicke.
His nurse and aid help him get his daily activities done.
“They basically do everything for me. They even help me blow my nose,” said Wicke.
Michigan’s new auto insurance law will cut 45% of reimbursement from agencies that provide these services.
“Up to 70% of our reimbursement rates go directly to our field staffs, payroll costs, so immediately we are underwater,” said Chris Miller, owner of BrightStar Care in Lansing.
Wicke says he’s worried.
“Because it’s basically everything’s up in the air nobody has the answers. The Home health care company is saying well we’ll stick around as long as we can but we don’t know how long that’s going to be,” said Wicke.
Lawmakers introduced a bill that would extend the 200 percent reimbursement, but it was not voted on. They say they have to see the impact of the auto insurance law before they can make any changes to it.
“They want to see how the numbers are. The problem is these families and these people are not numbers on a spreadsheet they’re people. You can’t measure someone’s quality of life on a spreadsheet,” said State Senator Curtis Hertel (D). “We begged the insurance companies to come in and negotiate they refuse to do so. I just want something to happen that would help protect these families and I’m worried about what would happen as the law goes into effect now.”
For Wicke, he can’t afford to pay out of pocket and his mother cannot physically take care of him.
“Outside of disability, insurance is all I’ve got,” he said.
His home health care agency says they’ll continue to provide services for all their clients as long as they can.
“A lot of people like me that have got to wind up somewhere. And right now that’s looking like a state-run institution. We’re going need more money from the state government to pay for it and taxes will go up,” said Wicke.