Meet Zachary, 2, from Milwaukee

Zachary from Milwaukee as one of Medicaid's faces

Zachary is a sweet, loving little boy who loves to laugh and wants to be silly to make his mom, dad and three older sisters smile. Zachary was born at 32 weeks and spent the first six weeks of his life in a local hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. During his first weeks of life, Zachary experienced apnea along with drops in his oxygen levels. His mom, Cheri, noticed he was irritable and was having trouble focusing his eyes; he soon begun to have seizures. Zachary's pediatrician referred him to Children's for an MRI.

Specialists at Children's found that Zachary had suffered an injury around the time of his birth, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, resulting in brain damage which was causing some of Zachary's symptoms in addition to developmental delays. Zachary receives nutrition through a gastrostomy tube as he cannot swallow on his own. Zachary requires many different types of ongoing care due to his conditions and sees more than 17 providers and specialists at Children's, including cardiology, ophthalmology, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, and neurology.

Zachary's family did not have access to commercial insurance, and due to his long-term health needs and complex care, he is eligible to receive Medicaid coverage. Medicaid coverage allows Zachary to see the specialists he needs to help him thrive, and especially important is the care he receives through Children's Wisconsin Special Needs Program. This program helps coordinate services and care amongst Zachary's various providers, ensuring that children with complex medical conditions are getting the best care. With Cheri leaving her job to care for Zachary full-time, Medicaid helps the Pfeiffer family afford Zachary's specialty care.

Zachary's mom, Cheri, says "We are very impressed with the quality of care Zach has gotten right in our area. Medicaid has been the biggest staple in my family's life. We rely on Medicaid to cover Zachary's health care costs – without it, Zachary would not be able to see the doctors that are helping him live."

Please keep Medicaid strong for kids like Zachary!