To the Editor:

A few weeks ago, I learned the governor's new budget includes big changes to the Ohio Department of Health's Children with Medical Handicaps program, reducing the income eligibility and available services.

CMH helps pay medical costs not covered by insurance for 40,000 Ohio children, including my son, Fox Yocum, who is 15 years old and has cerebral palsy. Fox's Medicaid pays only for 20 physical therapy sessions per year, and CMH fills the gap by paying for weekly sessions for the rest of the year.

These sessions allow Fox to stay mobile and hopefully keep him from being wheelchair-bound as an adult. But for me, this goes way beyond just what Fox needs. Kids on CMH have cystic fibrosis, bleeding disorders, rare brain disease or juvenile diabetes.

These kids need multiple weekly or even daily therapy sessions, complicated surgeries, countless medications, medical equipment; the list goes on.

These are working families, many of whom already pay for insurance which simply won't cover their children's high medical costs. Our legislators must keep CMH intact to support these vulnerable kids -- their lives depend on it.

Amy Hurst

Columbus