New program would help give tools those who need rehab after insurance runs out

Regaining your strength, skills and confidence after a debilitating accident or illness can take a long time.

Your insurance money could run out before you’re done, however, there’s now a new effort to cover that gap.

Michael Augustine and his wife. (Provided to WINK News)

Michael Augustine went from enjoying the newlywed life to this: “Just after Hurricane Irma, I lost my legs; started losing them,” he said. “Within two years, I wasn’t able to walk anymore.”

The cause of Augustine’s illness is still unknown. His insurance allows him to receive physical therapy three times a week, but eventually, coverage will stop and he’ll need to keep going.

That’s where Collier County entrepreneur Stephanie Gomez comes in. She’s the CEO of “Stabilized Steps,” a company aimed at giving people with limited mobility access to more experiences.

“Whether they’re being discharged during home health, during physical therapy, we’re going to be the next step for the home,” Gomez said.

She’s looking to fund a home workout routine to help the rehab process.

“We’re going to start basic with the classes for stability and fall prevention, and then we can build from there,” she said.

She’ll also use technology to keep patients on track.

“We have hardware and we’re going to have those videos via our software display that will have the classes…Our hope is eventually to be able to have some live, one-on-one coaching,” Gomez said.

The idea gives Augustine hope that even when his insurance runs out, he’ll still have the tools he needs to someday get back to the things and the people he loves.

“Now I don’t walk yet, but I will,” he said. “I’m doing this for me, trying to get back on my legs, but I really miss taking care of my wife.”

Gomez says she still needs the money to get this program off the ground. She’s competing in a national competition to win that money and the final round kicks off Saturday.

You can follow along with her progress on the Stabilized Steps Facebook page.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Briana Harvath
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