BLOOMINGDALE — Time nearly ran out on the Bloomingdale library rape victim. For three months, she had received extended care from Children's Medical Services. It had paid for and administered treatments since an attack three years ago left her in a near-vegetative state.
But when the young woman turned 21 on April 22, she was no longer a child, and the state's obligations to help with her medical care ended.
Children's Medical Services agreed to extend her care by 90 days, but then the $186,000 of annual medical costs would fall to her family.
Earlier this week, Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, helped secure a solution that would cover the majority of the woman's medical expenses: the Aged and Disabled Adult Medicaid Waiver.
"We've been working at least the last four months on trying to secure a permanent solution for her," said Audie Canney, Storms' legislative aide.
The program didn't have funding for the past six years, so no new patients were being accepted. She remained on the waiting list.
It wasn't until the waiver received an additional $36 million from the legislative session that ended in May that she had a chance to enroll.
"We didn't know until five days ago when Gov. (Rick) Scott signed the budget," Canney said. "From where we were to where we are now, it's leaps and bounds."
The waiver won't cover 100 percent of the woman's medical care, and the family will have to pay for some treatments, such as aquatic therapy, out of pocket, Canney said. However, the family will have complete control of who they are going to hire rather than having mandated employees from the state.
"We're very grateful that the government approved this," Canney said. "This will keep her at home."
An attacker assaulted the woman in April 2008 as she tried to put books in the after-hours drop box at the Bloomingdale library. A little more than three years later, she remains brain damaged and requires round-the-clock care.
Last month, a judge sentenced Kendrick Morris, who was 16 at the time, to 65 years in prison for the crime.
Biz Carson can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2441.