Crash victim pushes to keep care threatened by Michigan’s no-fault auto reform

Nearly 18 thousand people would lose their care as early as Friday

Michigan’s no-fault auto reform has meant more options for drivers, and it can translate to savings for some. But what about the thousands who suffered catastrophic injuries in car accidents before the law went into effect? There are nearly 18 thousand people who would lose their care as early as Friday (July 1), and according to a New Boston woman, this decision is a matter of life and death.

NEW BOSTON, Mich. – Michigan’s no-fault auto reform has meant more options for drivers, and it can translate to savings for some.

But what about the thousands who suffered catastrophic injuries in car accidents before the law went into effect?

There are nearly 18 thousand people who would lose their care as early as Friday (July 1), and according to a New Boston woman, this decision is a matter of life and death.

Krystal Guzman is one of thousands of Michiganders who does not see savings and flexibility with Michigan’s no fault auto reform. In 2020, she was rear ended at a stop light by an impaired driver. The accident severed her spine and resulted in a traumatic brain injury. She’s been a quadriplegic ever since.

After about a year in a nursing home Guzman was able to get at home care. She has been thriving at home where she has been receiving around the clock care for more than 10 years. That could change on July 1 if lawmakers don’t add protections to grandfather in 18,000 or so people who suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident before the law came to be in 2019.

“Not everyone can get good care, I have wonderful care every moment of my life because of the wonderful caregivers and nurse today but I know if they don’t fix auto reform I may not have that tomorrow,” said Guzman through a special device she uses to speak. “For her, returning to a nursing home and having that care taken away would be “a death sentence.”

“If you ask me before my accident about no fault, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything,” said Guzman

“Krystal never imagined she wouldn’t be talking after that day,” said Wendy Edwards.

Edwards is Guzman’s care manager and nurse. She says it’s been harder to find nurses to provide in home came because of the money that once was there, isn’t anymore. The law reduced the reimbursement fee for home health care providers to 45%. The total cost for Guzman (which includes doctor visits, physical therapy and other medical needs) are well over six figures each month. Her home care nursing team amounts to about $55,000 of that cost.

It would mean no more crafts or around-the-clock, personalized care.

“For me to see her go back into a nursing home would break my heart,” Edwards said.

“People don’t know that because we have no-fault, we’re able to have caregivers that take me to appointments and therapies, but I’m also able to go to the grocery store, get my hair did,” Guzman said. “When you’re in a facility, you miss those special moments.”

They never had to worry about it before, but lately, It’s all they think about.

“Without auto, she wouldn’t have this chair, this staff, the device to talk,” Edwards said.

They want to see injury victims, like Guzman, grandfathered in so they don’t lose the benefits that provide a higher quality of life.

“I just want you to know these changes may save you a small amount of money but is it worth putting your family and friends in a nursing home,” Guzman said.

Guzman is sharing her journey with everyone on her TikTok, Facebook, and Youtube page, but meantime, they want people to know that theirs still time to help.

You can call your state lawmakers to let them know that protections need to be put in place for people like Guzman, who were injured many years before the new law was implemented.


About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.