KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) - A military family in Keller won a five-year battle with the government to cover the costs of therapy that is keeping their daughter alive. Tricare, the military's healthcare system, had refused to pay for therapy for Kaitlyn Samuels since 2010, because therapists were using a horse.
The family said it received funds today from a settlement reached last month with the U.S. Department of Defense. It's enough to cover about five years of therapy going forward. They will continue an effort now to pass legislation that will include horses as a legitimate therapeutic tool.
The family's fight started when Tricare denied nearly a year of therapy claims for Kaitlyn Samuels, now 18. The healthcare program considered the use of a horse to be an unproven treatment, called hippotherapy. CBS 11 first brought you Kaitlyn's story in 2013.
Samuels was born with severe mental and physical impairments. Due to her scoliosis, she needs therapy to continually lengthen her spine, to prevent the compression of her organs. She didn't respond well to the use of traditional benches and balls. On the horse, however, therapists were able to actively engage her in sessions.
After a series of appeals an administrative law judge sided with the family. An administrator though overruled the decision, and required the family to pay back more than $1,300 that had already been paid out.
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