From the perspective of S. Denise Kullman, Mom
Yes, it can be a battle. Insurance companies have the power to cease payment immediately. This means an immediate cease in treatment for your child too—unless you can pay it all. I hope you can learn from our experiences. Here’s our story…
Round 1: Insurance Agency vs. Us
We took Tyler to a behavioral health hospital for his safety and spent several hours in intake. The hospital staff interviewed, assessed, discussed, and evaluated us (yes…John and I too). Tyler is covered under Medicaid since we adopted him through child welfare. John also carries him on his employer insurance. So I guess the hospital contacted Medicaid at some point that night. Two Medicaid agents suddenly arrived and immediately separated us from Tyler.
One spoke with Tyler while the other talked to us with jargon that was straight out of a textbook. Next, the two agents spoke privately to one another and then returned to us. They “informed” us that Tyler didn’t need to stay at the hospital.
“Children pick up all kinds of bad habits in these places”, they said. “He’ll be fine. Just take him home. We recommend you read this book.”
I could see the hospital intake person standing behind the Medicaid agent. He looked very concerned and was pacing. I knew this was wrong. I felt like the Medicaid agents didn’t want to spent the time and money on our son.I was shocked at her recommendation. Our son is threatening to kill himself and his family and you want us to take him home and read a book?!?
We said, “No, he’s staying here.”
The hospital staff seemed relieved. The Medicaid agents left as quickly as they arrived. Tyler was admitted and stayed three weeks.
Lesson learned here—don’t allow people you don’t know and trust to separate you from your child for questioning or assessment.
Children with attachment disorders will lie to make themselves like the victim. Doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and insurance agents who don’t understand attachment disorder believe them. As a result, they won’t believe you.
Round 2: Another Insurance Agency vs. Us
A few weeks later, we transferred Tyler to a residential treatment center. Around the sixth week of his stay, his doctor got his meds balanced. Tyler appeared to have progressed by week seven. Since the doctor sent weekly updates to our insurance company, the insurance company decided Tyler was stable. As a result, they also decided that Tyler should be released—that week.This was another case of the insurance group not wanting to pay for the expensive residential treatment center care any longer.
It was so sudden—no one was prepared.The doctor and staff put together a quick discharge packet for us. They simply handed it to us the day we picked him up. No transition home training for any of us. Tyler was home one week. Had a depression filled melt down and cut his arm up. We took him back to the behavioral hospital that day.
Another lesson here…fight for your kid’s health care! Speak to the people higher up. Send the doctor supported documents. Hire an attorney to protect your rights and support your efforts if necessary.
In the end, we lost that battle with the insurance companies. Tyler received no beneficial treatment those first three months. We just spent a lot of emotion, time, and money moving him around.
But then we found the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. The staff at IACD addressed every aspect of his being in a loving and empathetic way. We cannot express our deep gratitude for this group enough. They saved our son and our family.
My advice to you?
- Educate yourself as much as possible before you begin any treatment with your child. Forrest talks about this very topic in an interview entitled “What To Do If Your Child Has Attachment Disorder”.
- Always advocate for your child’s health care. Be in the middle of everything. Don’t trust insurance agencies, doctors, hospitals, or therapists to do it on your behalf or in your best interest.
Image courtesy of phasinphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you have any tips to share about how to work with insurance agencies? Please share them with other parents below.