Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Finding help in a broken system

As many of you know I have kids, who I love more than life itself even when they drive me insane. This blog is about one of my kids...my 15yr old. Now my son is a wonderfully, amazing, loving child who would give the shirt off his back to help everyone. He hates seeing people upset or mad especially at him. My son has Aspergers along with severe depression, adhd and a few other things. He has struggled with these problems for many years and it sucks trying to get him help with a medical system that seems broken with every turn we go. 

We have Tricare(which we pay a premium for) thanks to my husband's military service but Tricare isn't accepted at a lot of doctors office due to their practices of not paying the doctors a fair amount for their services.  Hence where the problems show up, because doctors can refuse certain insurance companies a lot of doctors that my son needs won't even see him and the ones that do take Tricare are booked as far out as 4 mos. So do we struggle and wait 4 mos or do we pay a ridiculous amount of money to have my son treated...for us it's a struggle to come up with anywhere from $100-225 a month to cover medical treatment that is desperately needed for him to have a normal life.  As parents we will figure it out and go with out a lot of the times for our children's well being. 

But let me start at the beginning of our  journey to find help..we started taking my son to a wonderful therapist about a year ago to help him with his problems. We had discussed several times about putting him on meds but I was very worried about him being over medicated after seeing that happen several times. But as we noticed my son didn't get better in fact he continued to slide deeper into depression until his sister noticed that he was cutting himself. After that discovery we decided that for his safety and mental well being we needed to get him in to see someone for medication. We went the correct route with Tricare, referral from our PCM and once we got the approval I called the doctor we were referred to. I called the 1st day, left a message..called the 2nd day, left a message..called the 3rd day. left 2 messages and called the 4th day and left about 5 messages requesting to schedule an appt. to this day that doctors office NEVER called me back. So I called Tricare to get a list of doctors to see if I could schedule something immediately. I called every doctor on that list of about 4 and out of the 4 I left messages for only ONE called me back. So we waited the month to get in and went in to see this doctor's nurse for the initial intake which didn't go to well since my son admitted that he had been feeling suicidal for many years, which had taken us all back because he never told anyone. We left knowing that we needed to discuss this with his therapist which we did and we waited  for the following week to see the actual doctor. Well the day of that appt came and it was a wreck. The doctor REFUSED, yes refused to see my son because "he wasn't stable". So my son felt like he had been abandoned by this man who is supposed to be there to help him. I called our therapist who recommended that I call Coastal Harbor Hospital and take him there. Which I did, after the initial intake from them it was decided that my son be hospitalized for his safety. Let me tell you having to leave my son there was the worst feeling I think I've felt in a very long time. But I knew he needed the help to get better. So my son spent 7 days there working on a good plan to help him heal and start working on himself. Upon his release he had an appt with the doctor that refused to see treat him for medication monitoring....well the following week we went back up there and yet again the doctor REFUSED to see him, he sent his nurse out to talk to us because he couldn't even be bothered to come out and talk with us. So 2 times this man who is supposed to be a professional screwed my kid over. So back to the phones I went, begging and pleading with the doctors on the Tricare list to squeeze my son in for his meds...instead I was being told 3 to 4 mos wait for him to be seen. Did they not understand that my child was in need???? 

I finally broke down after a month trying to find a doctor, any doctor that could get him in and we are now paying out of pocket for my son's medical needs. I sit here knowing that we aren't alone in this process...we have a serious breakdown in the mental health care system and no one seems to care until someone who needed that care harms a group of people. Than it makes the news for a minute and than it's right back to the latest celebrity gossip or some other random thing. When do we have a voice to say enough! We have children in desperate need committing suicide, hurting themselves and others screaming out for help...we have adults who need help and can't afford it and we have families that have to choose either bills or mental health care. What good is having this affordable health care act or insurance when doctors can pick and choose what insurance they'll take?  How do we as parents find help for a our child in a system that is broken and seems to be out for themselves instead of helping their fellow man?

I challenge my state reps in Georgia to step up and help change this practice...I challenge Jack Kingston, John Barrows, Jack Hill and others to help change this. I also challenge Gov Nathan Deal to step up and not allow this to continue in our state...will they hear this? Most likely not but I have to hope I'm not the only voice!

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