Thursday, February 4, 2010
GET ANGRY! I AM!
My sweet cousin, Cohen, is in desperate need of ample medical coverage. Cohen was diagnosed with Autism at an early age, he's non-verbal and has terrible digestive problems associated with this diagnosis. He and his parents are having a awfully difficult time affording life, medical bills, therapy, medication, speech devices, etc. The government office responsible for taking care of the disabled and under-insured, MS Medicaid, has blatantly lied to my wonderful family. LIED!
Cohen's family keeps a beautiful blog of his progress but unfortunately, their most recent post is horrific!
I've included below both the text from today's post and a link to Cohen's blog.
Become a follower, post your comments, help us take a stand!
Please, don't pity them. FIGHT with them; FIGHT FOR THEM! THEY DESERVE BETTER!
Let's help their voice be heard!
Thanks in advance sweet friends.
Part 3 of the Medicaid/Disability Battle
I apologize in advance for the rant... So, yesterday morning, I was on the phone with the Director of the Madison County Medicaid Office.
Let me back up, in order for Cohen to be eligible for Medicaid, he first has to be ruled disabled by the State of Mississippi, which I think is ridiculous. He has been ruled disabled by state twice already - once for the First Steps program (which was about as big of a pain and little of a help as this has been) and the public school system. Madison County public schools already ruled him somewhat disabled, because he has been placed in a school strictly for special needs kids. Anyway, once ruled disabled, the application passes through the department of Maternal Child Health (I think that is right, they are never really clear on this), which has something to do with the fact that our income is greater that the maximum allowed for Medicaid, which is outrageous. (Chad and I would BOTH have to quit our jobs, get on unemployment, all 3 of us on Medicaid and food stamps in order for Cohen to be eligible based on income alone. Ridiculous.) Then it is passed on the Medicaid office - this whole process is supposedly a 90-day event.
Anyway, back to call... to make a long story short. She told me that the application and mounds of paperwork and photocopied of SS cards and birth certificates and doctor's notes and evaluations - all the information that took me around 4-6 weeks to prepare had never been filed, and that she somehow was lacking a gray form and a copy of Cohen's birth certificate - both of which I knew I had included in the original documentation. I was so angry, I was shaking, but I tried to keep my cool on the phone... his paperwork was never filed. His application was never filed. Never filed. All those calls and visits I made to the office just to check in and see how things were going in the process, I was lied to. Flat out lied to. They told me to wait my 90 days... it is Christmas holidays, things get backed up... I am sure it is being worked on... you'll hear something, etc. Well, 90 days passed and I had not heard the first thing, not the first thing other than what I had called and requested information on. So 90 days, I called my liar of a caseworker, and he told me Cohen was denied. Another big, fat LIE, because nothing was ever filed. On top of that, he told me I couldn't file again within a year, which is absurd. I guess he was just hoping that I would forget about it or perhaps he would another job by then and not have to deal with me... boy, was he wrong.
So, I told the director, I would be glad to drive all the way up to Canton and bring Cohen's birth certificate and fill out that one form she was lacking. So, I did... I also took Cohen's 4-inch notebook of medical records with me, just in case. And surprise, surprise, I needed that as well.
I got to the office, and (I will try to keep this short, but it was a lengthy visit) come to find out, they "lost" all of the paperwork - all the mounds of paperwork and applications and doctor's notes and evaluations and copies of my driver's license and our SS cards and birth certificates. ALL OF IT. All of the information that took me weeks to prepare. It just vanished. UGH!
And they lied to me about it for 90 days. Flat out lied to me about it for 90 days. All they had to do early in the game was give me a call and let me know the paperwork had been misplaced and let's get another set together. I would have been a little upset, but nothing like this. Instead, I was lied to for 90 days, and then another 2 weeks actually. Our lives literally hung in the balance in for 3 months... awaiting medical coverage for our son for his speech device and therapies and an MRI next week. Things that are not covered by our private insurance due to his autism diagnosis. Things that we cannot afford. Yes, Chad and I both work, but we don't make enough money to manage our lives and pay our cost of living bills and the exorbitant amount of medical and therapy bills for Cohen that insurance does not cover. I have said before, and I will say it again, but we are hard working, well educated, tax paying citizens, and WE DESERVE medical care for our child in some form or fashion.
Back to the meeting, our lives hung in limbo for those 3 months... we were waiting to get Cohen his AAC device and trying to figure out how were going to afford therapy all summer, since there is no option for summer school for him. Therapy at $65/25 minutes adds up quick, and Medicaid would cover that, as well as the speech device we already purchased out of pocket and everything else we deal with on a day-to-day basis, the medications and therapies and tests. While we were checking the mail everyday, hopeful that something would tell us we were approved (we have been told by every doctor, therapist and specialist that Cohen is eligible and should be on Medicaid), they never even filed it, and LIED the whole time.
And now my paperwork is missing... I guess I need to get our social security numbers on some sort of watch list for identity theft, because no one knows where all my paperwork is. All of Cohen's hospital records and test results and doctor's notes are gone! Violation of HIPPA? I think so...!
To wrap this up, the director let me basically yell at the liar for about 15 minutes. He barely even apologized. He should be fired. Actually, no, he should have wait in fear that he is going to be fired for 90 days, and then told that he was going to get to keep his job, and lied to about that for a couple of weeks, then he should fired.
Not sure how the director was notified of the situation - she said someone called her, but would not give her source. So, I guess I did something right.... wrote a letter or made a phone call somewhere along the way that sparked some initiative. So thank you to whoever is helping me. I really appreciate it.
But the situation is not resolved. Is this how we have to get health care for our kids? Cohen still is in the same boat as he has been for the past couple of years. Chad and I still have to pay the majority of his medical expenses out of pocket. I still work three jobs to make that happen. This is not how it should be. We are still in limbo not sure what we need to do, what is best for Cohen... it is looking like a move to Florida to a private school for autism. Did you know Florida passed the Autism reform bill... forcing private insurance to pay up to $36K/year in autism-coded medical bills? They also have a scholarship for kids with special needs to utilize in the event the public schools don't meet their needs. They give you money to send you kid to a private school just for their special disability. Sure would be nice if the state with one of the worst schools systems and worst America's Health Ranking in the US would step up and make a difference in the lives of these kids and their families.
Ok, must get to work now… have to pay the bills.