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Cigna, a globally recognized health insurer, shocked special needs family Kraig and Jennipher Beahn by referring to their newborn, Kennedi Beahn, as mentally retarded.
BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (PRWEB) July 08, 2014
The family immediately sprang into action, advocating on behalf of their own daughter as well as all other special needs families. Cigna's response to such advocacy, potentially affecting millions of their own policyholders worldwide, was immediate and almost as shocking to the Beahns as its original letter had been.
"We agree with you," Cigna's response read, "that 'intellectual disability' is much better terminology than 'mental retardation.'" Just days later, Cigna followed up with a second communication explaining the steps they had already taken and those that they intended to take on behalf of "all families that have a loved one with an intellectual disability."
Cigna representative Mark Slitt referred to the term "mental retardation" as both "outdated" and "hurtful," conceding that the only appropriate action would be for the company to abandon the usage altogether in favor of a less derogatory term.
Cigna has shown a commitment to making the change. As Slitt has publicly stated, "It's the right thing to do."
The Beahns, for their part, are hopeful that this trail-blazing initiative on Cigna's part will encourage others in the industry to follow suit. As they watch their daughter, Kennedi, continue to make strides, the couple remain deeply grateful to Cigna for taking the time to hear them out.
"We cannot begin to express how deep our gratitude reaches for simply taking the time to review our request," said Kraig. Considering themselves part of the Cigna family, they are equally appreciative that Cigna "took the criticality of our request seriously and committed to making a change.
Also appreciative of Cigna's efforts is Progressive Pediatric Development Center founder Tammy McKenzie, who said, Individuals and health care entities need to appreciate the connotation of those words. They wrongly assume these children cannot learn, nor should they be given the chance. As we have demonstrated repeatedly, these children do learn while becoming productive, happy, healthy human beings. Commitments like that of Cignas denote change, understanding and the intellectual provision of societal opportunity to those who might not otherwise be afforded a chance.
About Kennedi Beahn:
Against all odds and under some of the most extenuating and unusual circumstances, Kennedi entered the world diagnosed with Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, as well as a congenital heart defect that mandated open-heart surgery at the tender age of 76 days. Throughout the first 10 months of her life, however, none of the couple's friends, family or health care providers had ever used the words "mental retardation" in reference to Kennedi.
The family was truly inspired to act by the recent success of globally recognized blogger Tara McCallan of The Happy Soul Project. Happy Soul Project is on a mission to break down the unnecessary negativity surrounding the diagnosis of Down Syndrome, while showing that different can be beautiful. Working with schools, hospitals, the Special Olympics and others, Happy Soul Project has spread their mission through ABCNews, The Huffington Post, FoxNews, MSN Canada, and many other global news and Media outlets.
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