Thankfully I have had a very bright spot in my otherwise frustrating morning. I could not be more frustrated with one particular neurology office! Let me make that two offices since it has to do with the main office and the local satellite office. My three year old grandson came to spend the morning with me while his mom (my daughter) and my husband took my mother-in-law to a long awaited appointment with a new neurologist for her Alzheimer's.
I had done all of the business needed following the retirement of her previous neurologist to begin treatment as a new patient at a new practice in our area. Referral was approved, authorization to have her medical records was sent to the new place, and the new patient forms (all 11 pages) completed! Keep in mind that my mother-in-law needed to be seen six weeks ago to monitor a new medication that her previous doctor had started her on. My sister-in-law flew in from Florida for the appointment, and my daughter at her grandmother's request took time out of her busy schedule to be there for the appointment. I sent them all with a medical / personal notebook I have compiled for just such appointments for my mother-in-law. I thought I had covered every possible base and included every piece of information needed for her 9:20 appointment.
My husband and my daughter left to pick up the other family members then head to the appointment. My grandson and I were having a great time playing. We already had the train set running, the toy fire department ready to go, a pretend lake with fish and fishing poles, boats, trucks, trailers, and boats filled the middle of my living room floor. Our playful imaginations were working together beautifully. Life was so fun!
Then a phone call came. It was my husband. The new office had recently noticed (after seeing other patients with the same insurance being denied payment) that they were NOT actually contracted to work with my mother-in-laws insurance as they had ASSUMED and as we were told. Assumed? Excuse me? My husband learned that she could be seen but it would be out of a pocket cost and it would be anywhere from $300 to $500 for the 30 minute appointment. My blood does not boil very often but it was quickly approaching a full boil! I instantly called the main office to voice my disappointment regarding our first appointment experience while the rest of my family was trying to find answers in person at the satellite office. The main office had nothing to say except that they understood my frustration. In the meantime, some email appeared to the satellite office that said they now accept my mother-in-laws insurance and she was allowed to see the doctor with just her co-pay. But wait, there is more. The medical records that they had six weeks to look over. They did not have them! No one had taken a minute to look over her medical history before she arrived.
One thing I know for sure is that families that have family members with Alzheimer's do not need the added stress of this kind of service! Today was a good reminder on just how thankful we need to be for health insurance if we a blessed to have it. Health insurance takes a lot of the financial stress off of adult children whose parents need financial assistance. My own parents pay hundreds of dollars a month for their prescription drugs. My mother-in-law could never afford that. Thankfully, her coverage includes "Medicare Part D". She also qualified for extra help that pays her Medicare Part D premium for her each month. I have learned a lot about such things with the care of my parents and now my mother-in-law. It gives us peace of mind as caregivers to know that despite knowing what financial needs tomorrow may bring that her medical care and prescription drugs are manageable with her insurance coverage (as long as we go to an authorized provider). Lesson learned!
My little bright spot is still here. I am going to go continue our play date and everything will be all better again. That's the magic of grandchildren.