Thursday, February 3, 2011

From Insurance Labyrinths to Benediction

Richard was up early this morning as is his usual at home.  He savored his coffee while he sat in his recliner wrestling with finding thoughts to organize.  He is such a high-output person that the slow-down on expressing himself is an agony for him.  His activities of daily living, like hygiene and eating, kept him occupied enough of the day.  Drop in a catnap and his day was complete.

My day was another matter.  I started my day by contacting the home health care agency of our local hospital to initiate home-based speech therapy for Richard. They agreed but said the therapist was snowed in at home because of an impassable icy road.  They apologized but assured us she could be here by Monday.  All looked fine.  Until...about 3 hours later the financial person for the home health care office called to break it to me that they were out-of-network with our insurance, thus the insurance would not pay for them.  She had already examined the in-network options our insurance offered and could find none to refer us to. She helped me understand just how to address the insurance spokesman. I was off on the quest.

I telephoned the insurance to face the dragon.  After getting through a labyrinth of computer decoy commands, I reached a real speaking person.  She explained to me that the local service could be approved if  all other options within 50 miles were unable to serve us.  There was only one alternate option within 50 miles - Sullivan, Missouri.

"Fine," I said, "I'll call them."  I dialed.

"No," they said, "we don't even have a speech therapist on our staff."

Back to the insurance company with a hope of getting the local provider approved.  Transversing through the labyrinth of computer barriers again, I arrived at the mercy of a new face-less voice who informed me that the last person was incorrect that the service should be within a mere 50 miles.  On January 1 the rules had changed that the service was to be within 100 miles.   The face-less voice then led me through the insurance company's website to a list of 49 providers within the 100 mile range.  She told me I needed to contact each one to confirm their availability before I could petition to use the local provider.

Two hours and 49 phone calls later, I'd enjoyed a chase through valid home health care services who did not serve the Rolla area in addition to numbers for nursing homes without physical therapy departments, dead phone numbers and housecleaning services for invalids. I called the insurance company back.  It was minutes before their 4 p.m. closing time.  The person I got this time wanted to start me over with the list of providers in that 100-mile range.

"No," I said, "I have already called each and every one. There is no service available in that list."  The line grew silent. I waited.  Finally, she spoke and said she was reading my file for the day.  The other face-less voices had recorded the proceedings. She said it was closing time so she would take the case to the supervisor tomorrow.

"What time can expect to I hear back about this in the morning?" I asked, "Nine o'clock?"

"No, I don't get in until 8 a.m. and I will need to call the supervisor," she replied.

"That gives you an hour," I pointed out.  She was not amused.

"That is too early.  We will get back with you as soon as possible," she said closing the conversation.

So we are at the mercy of the insurance company.  Even if I call in the morning, that last face-less voice must have been keenly aware that I most likely would not arrive at her phone since in today's three calls I'd reached a different voice each time. So I realize that the Lord is working His will in all this.  I am sensing His will is that I develop graciousness and patience while being assertive and caring.  

Meanwhile, Richard took a step toward his own rehab plan.  After breakfast, we had an abbreviated family devotion with a song from the hymnal followed by Luther's morning prayer.  Richard chose the hymn "Hail, O Source of Every Blessing" from the Epiphany section and then he took off leading us in the song using the family favorite tune "Ebenezer".  He was not expressively challenged as we sailed through all three verses with gusto.  Then we melded our voices in Luther's morning prayer. At the close of the prayer Richard traditionally has a blessing, but he could not recall it.  His singing triumph was marred for him.

After supper he suggested we have devotions again.  A different hymn and Luther's evening prayer blended our hearts before the Lord.  Then the time came for Richard's benediction - HE DID IT!

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