It was a big day for some people who came to News 8 looking for help after the state department of social services denied their request for motorized wheelchairs.
It’s a new day for Art Gallagher.
“You look at this electric chair and what do you see? I see freedom,” Gallagher said.
A hard fought freedom.
“The first denial was in August of last year and denials kept coming,” Gallagher said.
After a four-hour hearing last month, the Connecticut Department of Social Services reversed its decision, approving motorized wheelchairs for Art and Carol Runlett.
“we thought it was important enough to fight for and we won, and thats a good feeling.”
Carol and Art have Multiple Sclerosis, living at Branford Hills Health Care Center, where they relied on the staff for the small things in life.
“If I want to say hello to somebody I can just go now,” Carol said.
Aided by three legal services programs, they argued that medicaid covered this type of equipment, enabling them to better care for themselves.
Hudson Seating and Mobility is behind the customized powered chairs , which are also designed to improve their bodies’ ability to function.
“Either reduce the risk or prevent pressure sores. That can be a big deal and can be lethal, also by improving their positioning we tend to improve their respiratory capability, their digestion capability.”
“I hope there is a positive impact because there is a need out there.”
A need — now empowering them — to live more independently.