Johnathan Goes to Washington!
Johnathan, age 14, advocated on Capitol Hill for increased reimbursement for cochlear implants. He received sequential bilateral cochlear implants in May and July 2011 from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Johnathan, who is in foster care, received the first cochlear implant through the state Medicaid program, which reimburses only $11,000—half of the cost of the device. MUSC paid for the cost of the second device, and provides 100 cochlear implants annually to children covered by Medicaid.
“I wanted to get a cochlear implant because I was not doing well with hearing aids. I wanted to be connected to the community and follow a conversation. I was so excited to hear music,” said Johnathan who also noted that he could follow the beat after activation. As part of the whirlwind tour, Jonathan met with the senators and representatives from South Carolina and went on the House floor to vote with Rep. John Duncan. He also met with Michael Tecklenburg, chief legal counsel in Nancy Pelosi’s office and former AG Bell president who also has hearing loss. “We have never had a child meet with senators and representatives that has made as big an impact as Johnathan,” said Pat Votava, director of government relations at the MUSC Children’s Hospital.
Pictured at right: Johnathan debriefs AG Bell's Executive Director Alexander T. Graham on his Capitol Hill meetings.