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The challenge is that doctors don’t always know how to express the supportive services that help keep the child healthy. It’s clear what medications or treatments might aid a physical disability, but behavioral therapies and in-home aides to help with bathing and quality of life are often not considered in an assessment of medical need. That’s where Goico often has to step in.

“If a physician says this child needs behavioral supports in the home because it’s impossible for the parent to stay up 24/7 just to keep their child safe and healthy, then I would say that’s not a convenience. It’s medically necessary,” Goico explained.

Once that need is identified she says, “the state not only has to provide these services or have these services available, but they have to help the families access them. It’s not enough to say, give a mom or dad, here’s a list of providers with some phone numbers. Call 50 and see what you get. That’s not going to work,” Goico said.

Yet Manning says that’s exactly what she’s experienced. If that’s the case, Goico says Georgia is breaking the law. The reality, there are no consequences when states fail to meet the needs – outside of a lawsuit by a family fighting for services.

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