RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/CBS Charlotte) — The father of a Smithfield teen who has been in a coma since a wreck last year has been given more time to file the paperwork to get Medicaid benefits.
A hearing officer decided Wednesday to give Frederick Lempe until July 25 to file the paperwork. The officer was considering a request to replace the father as guardian.
Eighteen-year-old Freddie Lempe has been in a coma at WakeMed’s Raleigh hospital since the wreck.
Lempe was in the passenger seat of a car that spun out of control on Route 39 in Johnston County, throwing him out of the car. While the driver walked away with only minor injuries, Freddie has both brain and spinal cord trauma.
The hospital says Lempe was denied Medicaid coverage because his father failed to file the paperwork. His father says he’s gotten conflicting information from the Johnston County Department of Social Services about what was required.
“The intent of the guardianship request is to secure Medicaid coverage for which we believe Freddie is eligible, Heather Monachey, spokesperson for WakeMed told ABC News. “As written in the court documents, the father has not followed through in filing the appropriate paperwork to get Medicaid approved.”
His attorney says the hospital is moving too quickly to get a new guardian. WakeMed says it can’t talk about the details.
“In this case, it is the patient’s right to have the financial resources offered by Medicaid. Our intention is seeking a guardianship change is to make sure that the patient has access to these resources,” Monachey added.
According to ABC News, Monackey said that WakeMed will withdraw the guardian modification request if Mr. Lempe completes the Medicaid application.
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