Protect TX Fragile Kids (PTFK) is a grass-roots, non-profit organization 501 (c)(4) and (501(c)(3) founded and run by parents of medically fragile Texas children.
PTFK was founded in May 2016 by families in direct response to the changes made by the state of Texas which plunged this vulnerable population into an inappropriate and highly restrictive managed care nightmare, also known as the “STAR Kids Program.” In years past, medically fragile children had to remain in hospitals and institutions due to the nursing-level care requirements and significant daily medical interventions required to keep them alive.
Thanks to policies put in place by President Ronald Reagan, who recognized the moral need to keep families together and children out of institutions, as well as the cost-effectiveness of ensuring that children with disabilities could remain in the home and community, today individuals with disabilities are able to remain in the community with access critical life-sustaining services through home- and community-based waiver services.
It is easy to marginalize and invisible population. Recognizing that there was no one speaking for this population of children with complex medical needs in the policy and legislative process, families recognized the necessity of being present and actively involved with policy discussions and decisions that directly affect the daily lives of their children and families. PTFK was formed to support and educate families, and serve as a voice for families of children with complex medical needs and disabilities.
(a) To give a voice to Texas’ most fragile citizens; (b) To inform, educate, and support families of children with disabilities; (c) To fight for what is right for children with special medical needs and disabilities; (d) To champion public policy which supports and protects the well-being of children with disabilities and complex medical needs; (e) To monitor existing and proposed legislation impacting children with disabilities; (f) To empower families with children who have disabilities and complex medical needs to connect with elected officials in order to promote understanding of this life.
We are dedicated to advocating, educating, and informing families and elected officials alike about what it is like to provide a hospital-level of care in the home, and live with a child who has significant medical needs and requires constant care and medical intervention to stay alive. Above all, we are dedicated to advocating on behalf of the best interests of vulnerable Texans, who have no voice and desperately need someone to speak on their behalf and defend their interests. If the State of Texas is truly committed to a culture of life, then appropriate care for disabled Texans must be a priority. Morally, financially and politically, it is in the best interests of the state of Texas to protect their most fragile little citizens.
Hannah Mehta is a proud Texan, a mom and passionate advocate who lives in Flower Mound with her three mischievous triplet boys. With more than 25 years of professional experience in business and program management overseeing, implementing and managing intricate efforts for major corporations, Hannah also has a history of extensive community involvement and volunteer work with at-risk inner-city youth. More than fifteen years ago, her world was transformed when her son, Aiden, was born with a number of complex, life-threatening anomalies and medical disorders, some of which remain undiagnosed. In the process of trying to keep Aiden alive and finding a way to meet his needs, Hannah has experienced first-hand the crucial necessity of educating and advocating on all levels for children and people with disabilities.
Whether with medical professionals, school districts, policy makers, media, or elected officials, Hannah passionately believes that organizing and speaking for those who have no voice is powerful and changes outcomes with long-lasting results and implications. In 2016, she co-founded the non-profit organization “Protect TX Fragile Kids” (PTFK), a grass-roots family organization dedicated to raising awareness, educating, and advocating for Texans with disabilities. PTFK is committed to affecting meaningful legislative and policy changes, raising awareness of this marginalized population, and improving Texas’ policies and priorities while helping families understand and navigate the complicated state system.
As Executive Director and Co-Founder, Hannah has been invited to provide testimony for legislative hearings; works closely with lawmakers, state executives, advocates, and families, and collaborates with other organizations; is involved in health policy research and development; advances legislative and policy priorities; serves as a subject matter expert for the state’s STAR Kids Advisory Committee; and is an active member of the Texas Workgroup on System Redesign for Children with Medical Complexity. Hannah manages and oversees PTFK’s operations and Board of Directors, volunteers, and strategic initiatives; and teaches and trains families about effective advocacy and the political process, amongst other responsibilities. In addition to legislative and policy leadership, Hannah became extensively involved in disaster relief efforts when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the state of Texas, causing wide-spread destruction and adversely impacting many families with medically fragile children and Texans with disabilities.
A seventh generation Texas, Jennifer Hall graduated from Texas A&M University with a BBA in Accounting and an MS in Marketing. After working in public accounting as an auditor at KPMG for several years, she felt called to drastically shift her career path to one that she was passionate about and would allow more work-life balance as she looked forward to motherhood. Jennifer studied to become a licensed medical aesthetician, and has been working in medical aesthetics in the Dallas area for over 14 years.
Jennifer is married to Randy, whom she met in grad school at Texas A&M. They have twin boys, Preston and Luke, who are 14 years old, and a daughter, Avery, who is seven. She was a member of the Junior League of Dallas and an active volunteer at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for five years.
In 2016, Jennifer became one of the founding board members and Vice President of the non-profit organization, Protect TX Fragile Kids (PTFK). Jennifer’s son, Preston, has two rare medical disorders and multiple diagnoses. Preston is one of many Texas children that Jennifer advocates through her work with PTFK. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending quality time with her family, working out, and trying her hand at the occasional Pinterest craft.
Natalie Gregory graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Construction Science from Texas A&M University in 2005. She was the top graduate in her class, receiving the distinguished Outstanding Student award. She began a career in construction management starting as an estimator for a home builder. Natalie then transitioned into commercial construction as a lead project manager for a heavy civil contractor managing millions of dollars in projects with private, municipal and federal entities, concentrating her work mainly with DFW Airport.
Natalie married her college sweetheart, David. They have two children, Grace (10) and Christina (8). As soon as her second daughter Christina was born, her whole life shifted. Christina was born with a rare, spontaneous genetic disorder which requires mechanical ventilation at all times. Natalie transitioned from managing large construction projects to managing her daughter’s intense medical care. While more challenging, this role was much more rewarding and opened up her world view.
Due to her daughter’s unique medical condition, Natalie saw a great need in assisting the fragile population that faces the same issues. She joined Protect Texas Fragile Kids (PTFK) as a founding board member in 2016. Natalie has assisted in political rallies, meeting with government representatives locally and at the state capitol, fundraising, and educating the public through local media reports and general advocacy. Her daughter, Christina, has even spoken at a hearing at the capitol, giving her personal testimony.
Natalie enjoys volunteering at her children's school, reading, running with her 100 lb german shepherd, volunteering her project management skills at her church and spending quality time with her family in her free time.
Rebecca Galinsky was born and raised near Kansas City, MO and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science from Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, MO in 1993. Rebecca came to Texas to complete an internship in cardiac and pulmonary rehab at a Fort Worth rehab and fitness center, not knowing what a life-changing decision that would become. During her internship, Rebecca fell in love with both the great state of Texas and her husband Mark, who was serving in the Texas Air National Guard. Rebecca became a proud Texas transplant when she and Mark married in 1994.
From a very early age, Rebecca had an interest in the medical field and discovered her true life’s passion of caring for and serving others, particularly in the healthcare setting. For the past 25 years, Rebecca has worked in direct patient care as a Senior Physical Therapy Tech at a large Fort Worth hospital, developing and implementing the hospital’s first indoor aquatic program until her third son, Sam, was born with a rare genetic syndrome and she was unable to work full-time due to his extensive needs.
In 2016, Rebecca joined the grassroots volunteer organization, Protect TX Fragile Kids. Rebecca currently serves on the organization's Board of Directors as Secretary, and has an active Leadership role in advocating for and supporting Texas families. As an advocacy mentor, she assists families who are struggling to navigate new diagnoses, a complex and broken system, and the challenges of accessing and maintaining life-sustaining care for their child. As family advocates, Rebecca and Sam frequently attend hearings at the State Capitol, provide Legislative testimony, educate lawmakers and legislative staff, and advocate for policy reform for thousands of Texas children with disabilities.
Adrienne is a grateful mother to a blended family of five children and wife to a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. Adrienne got to Texas as fast as she could, relocating from Denver in 2005, after completing her MBA from Regis University with Honors. She has been an Austinite for more than 17 years. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico and an Associates Degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho. None of her degrees or corporate positions produced the education that ensued with the 15-year abrupt “residency” as a medical advocate, breaking down barriers for families, caretakers, and individuals with profound disabilities.
After receiving a catastrophic diagnosis in-utero and being a part of the first National Institute of Health in-utero fetal surgery study (MOMS Trial), her son Hayden was born. Adrienne’s corporate career path halted when she became a full-time caretaker while her son endured 29 surgeries and 26 diagnoses. As an outspoken advocate for medically fragile kids, she learned to manage chaos and crisis to effectively develop a complex care team with numerous hospitals, educators, school districts, dozens of doctors, therapists, home health nurses, equipment providers, medical agencies, non-profit organizations, and multiple insurance providers, while also learning ADA/disability policies and laws. As a result, she has the unique ability and self-determination to navigate complex challenges in unfamiliar arenas.
In 2016, she became involved in advocating for Medicaid reform at the Texas legislative governing bodies, working to build bi-partisan relationships for policy changes. After years of advocacy work, she was invited to the signing ceremony with Governor Abbott of SB1207 to protect Medicaid patients’ rights signed into law in the 86th session, and continues to work to push further promulgation and enforcement of the law.
Mrs. Trigg’s current full-time employment is in the home health long-term services medical industry. She has testified in numerous Texas HHSC Committee meetings in both the House and Senate, including at the federal level OS/IEA at the White House and U.S. Department of HHS. She has guest lectured at the University of Texas (UT) regarding access to health care and the social determinants of health in the Department of Public Health.
In 2020 she completed Financial Acumen for Health Care Leaders at the Value Institute for Health and Care in partnership with UT Dell Medical School. She also serves on Dell Children’s Hospital advisory board and other state non-profit organizations that serve the rare and medically complex pediatric community. Currently, she serves on the Protect Texas Fragile Kids board as an active leader with the Capitol advocacy team.
Josh comes from a long and distinguished line of Texas public servants. With a lifelong connection to community, he has always endeavored to treat others as he would want to be treated, and to wholeheartedly serve his community. Josh has been actively volunteering for his community since the age of 10. He graduated from Navasota High School in 1996 and attended Sam Houston State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. He worked for the Judicial District Community Supervision and Corrections Department before returning to his passion for service in hospitality. Josh is Director of Conference Center Services at Camp Allen Conference and Retreat Center in Navasota, which puts him in contact with over 54,000 guests a year. He is currently serving as a Councilman for the City of Navasota and president of the Stone Ridge HOA.
In 2007, Josh was blessed with a beautiful daughter, Jadyn, who was born with Charge Syndrome, which led Josh to become involved with the Texas Chargers in 2008. He serves as the Vice President of the Chargers organization, whose mission is to Educate, Encourage and Enrich the lives of families living with Charge Syndrome.
In 2016, Josh joined Protect TX Fragile Kids, and became involved with the leadership team and Board of Directors, dedicates his time to serving families living with special needs, including testifying in Austin and meeting with state legislators to improve the health care dissemination and state policies for Texans with disabilities and their families. Josh advocates for special needs families through numerous projects around the state and has spoken to groups and given many talks about parental perspectives regarding education, medical care, and living with CHARGE syndrome and other disabilities.
Terri Carriker, a multi-generational Texan, whose family hails from “The Old Three Hundred”, holds a Masters of Education in Counseling and Guidance from Texas State University as well as licensures in Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapy. Terri and Wayne married in 1990, have 4 children and are active long-time members of their local church in Austin.
In 2010, Terri co-founded the ministry, Moms of Special Kids, now called Embrace Moms, a spiritual support group for women who are mothers to children with a broad range of ages, disabilities, and medical diagnoses. She also directs and facilitates a monthly support group for families of children with epilepsy.
In 2014, Terri entered the world of legislative advocacy, now working to help reform the Texas Medicaid system for the Medically Complex, Medically Fragile, and disabled population of Texas. She is a Board member for Protect Texas Fragile Kids and is an appointed member and Vice Chair of the Health and Human Service Commission’s STAR Kids Advisory Committee, also participating in related subcommittees working to develop new systems of Medicaid service delivery for this population, and is an active member of the Texas Workgroup on System Redesign for Children with Medical Complexity.
Most importantly, Terri is mom and fierce advocate for her youngest daughter, Catherine, who has cognitive and physical disabilities as a result of severe, uncontrolled epilepsy. Her heartbeat and passion are serving, educating, and equipping fellow parents and families who struggle to navigate the world of medical complexity and special needs.