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AARC Mourns Loss of Katie Beckett

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May 31, 2012

AARC was saddened to learn of the death last week of Katie Beckett, a young girl who helped focus our nation’s attention on the problems of home care reimbursement policy, and a partner with AARC in the 80s to expand this coverage.

Katie’s name was given to a new policy in the 1980s–the Katie Beckett waiver–when her plight was detailed in the media. Insurance would not cover her care at home, only in an institution. AARC got involved because of the ventilator care and other respiratory support she needed at home and our desire to make a change in that reimbursement arena.

Katie lived to the age of 34 and died last week in Iowa. Her legacy was that her situation called attention to the plight of thousands who could not receive home care services because of what President Reagan called “hidebound regulations.” Through intervention of the Beckett’s congressman, a waiver program was established and she was eventually allowed to receive her care at home. This became known as the Katie Beckett waiver. Since then it is estimated that over 500,000 children have been able to receive care at home at a result.

For AARC, working with the Beckett family became the beginning of a great tradition of patient advocacy. Putting a human face on a problem has been what AARC has stressed in all of its government relations work.

We invite you to read the stories of Katie in the 1985 issues of AARC Times and remember the involvement of our organization in the establishment of this waiver program.