Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Mental Healthcare Reform Isn’t an Option: A Cross-Post from”Pecan Does Parenting”

I write this blog to vent my frustration, provide support for other parents in similar situations and to chronicle my experience parenting a child with pediatric bipolar.

I’m a political person; loud, opinionated and a die-hard liberal. I don’t intend to make this a political blog, but today I am fuming mad.

Yesterday, we had an appointment with a psychiatrist who specialized in pediatric psychiatry and mood disorders specifically. An hour long appointment cost our family $300. A price well worth it to get our son stabilized.

The doctor is out of network and even though she is a MEDICAL doctor helping our son with a brain disease, his care by her is considered “mental health care”, whatever the fuck that means.

Our “regular” healthcare is adequate. A reasonable copay and when “out of network”, the percentage paid is realistic.

Our “mental health” care (in-network) has a $2000 deductible. So, even if we choose the doctors our insurance company has approved…it will never be reached unless he is hospitalized and even then, it may not be.

We used the Cigna approved doctor. What we wound up with was a BPD kid put on anti-depressants at first. Those of you with BPD or have a loved one on that spectrum know that this is a powder keg scenario. I knew my child was not depressed…at least not in any normative way. But, I trusted our physicians advice.

Then, Seroquel. 25 mg once a day which did nothing but put him to sleep, which he did not need. We went back, saw an incompetent nurse practitioner who AGAIN attempted to put him on ADs which I rejected. Another $100 wasted.

After that, we were rarely able to get in touch with the office, couldn’t get a change in medication on the phone and were rebuffed for asking for a refund for the clusterfuck appt.

My son got worse. He began having auditory hallucinations, panics attacks and more instances of depression along with manic raging.

I called EVERY pediatric psychiatrist I could find. The ones in our network could not see us for months.

Living with a child with bipolar is a minefield. Everything is met with defiance, annoyance, overreaction. It is IMPOSSIBLE to provide healthy family life for other children and spouses or partners. There is no “wait until 2 months from now”. Help must come NOW.

I got ONE call back. A pediatric psychiatrist, a specialist whose office manager met my frantic call with “oh, no, that medication is wrong. We will help you fix it.”

Finally someone who thought I wasn’t “overreacting”.

So, I made the $300 appointment and called my insurance company.

“We’re sorry, your out of network deductible is $4000. Can I help you find someone in network?”

“There is no one in network.”

My son needs MEDICAL CARE. He is not crazy, he has a disability that should not have to define him. I should be able to get him the care he needs without worrying if, after we have FINALLY gotten our sea legs financially, we will be broken and scrambling again.

Mental health care IS medical care. To treat it as something that is somehow fundamentally different from other types of health care is to break the finances of families and individuals, to stigmatize those in need and to deny treatment to those who desperately seek it.

Get it together, America. My son deserves better.

Written by thelittlepecan

April 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.. Very frustrating. I’m a school social worker and I work with families all the time who are struggling with the “system” to get the right doctor to help their child. The channels and manevers it takes to get the right care is so frustrating! The expense and BS one has to go through is aweful!! I’m so sorry. Know you’re doing the right thing. Keep going when it’s hard and don’t give up. You will get there.. Change only happens when people stand up and fight. I’m fighting for my families and I believe change will happen, but it doesn’t happen over night, keep going!


    April 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    • Thank you so much Sarah! Know that your work is also appreciated and so very important.


      April 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm

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