Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Post picking up Bella's prosthetic, I called our insurance to talk about finances a bit. In the conversation, the lady on the phone asked why we had not gone to somewhere closer. She said "Hanger is very close to you and you could have gone there. They are an in network provider and would have been covered."
I proceeded to explain to her our experience with Hanger. Hanger had ME call our pediatrician to discuss with her Bella's needs and my concerns regarding Bella's limb difference and safety when it comes to sporting and gymnastics activities. I did talk to her and she asked the Hanger call and talk with her about the different options. The staff at Hanger told me that according to insurance, they couldn't do that because that would be considered soliciting. I asked how to educate her on the options and was left with not much information. Since when is it my job as her mother to educate the pediatrician? Surely there was someone more educated on prosthetics and options for Bella than me! I knew of what could be helpful for her but that by no means means that I am the expert!
There are several options for prosthetics. I am not well versed on any one prosthetic. I know a little bit about the few I've seen at Camp No Limits or that friends have used. That's the extent of our experience. Just because I've seen them, does not mean they will work for Bella. This is why I was consulting the experts.
I then talked to Hanger again after our appointment at Shriners. I asked them to get our notes from Dr. Ackerman. I left several messages with NO return call. Can you sense my frustration here? Did they not want our business? Do they not have time to get her records? What is the problem here?
The weird thing is that last year, Hanger provided Bella's scholarship to attend camp. I couldn't be more appreciative of that! I was disappointed that although they provided our scholarship to attend Camp No Limits, I was being left with a bad taste in my mouth after their service to my child as a customer and patient was neglected. Why would they provide a scholarship and then not want our business? I was confused and I still remain confused.
In the end, our business went to where Shriner's referred us to start. The problem with that is the location is a 3 hour drive each way (Ugh, Chicago traffic how I hate thee!). Scheck and Siress provided us with a prosthetist that was an expert in Bella's needs. He presented options and talked about how each would or could benefit her. In the end, we went with what insurance would approve as well as what his recommendations stated.
Why am I sharing this all with you? I'm sharing it because as a parent of a child with a limb difference, YOU are your child's biggest advocate! You must be the voice of your child. You must not back down. You must speak up to get the needs of your child met. You are the only one that can do this. Know that you are enough. You are doing the best job you can for your child, though at times, it may not seem like it. At times, you may feel like you've been knocked down. Pick your ass back up and prepare to be strong once again! You've got this, I promise.
If you feel like you are struggling, know that there is a community of others out there to help you. I reached out to Mary (CNL Director) and Keegan (CNL Mentor) more times than I can even remember. Each time, they helped me, they encouraged me, they made me feel good about what I was doing for Bella. They lifted me up. I'm here for you. Reach out if you need me, I'll help you! No one should struggle alone. Reach out to your community!! It takes a village my sweet friends.
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