It’s Monday. We are still in the Insurance boxing ring! The ignorance of the individuals that make determinations for a patients progress never ceases to surprise me.
We; myself, the Bryn Mawr therapy team and case manager, have been presenting documentation each week showing Corey’s “functional improvement”. Last week, the therapists submissions were not enough. The clinical manager assigned by the insurance company asked me to list the incremental and notable functional improvement we have witnessed at home that could be a direct result of the exercises and practices our therapy team is performing at Bryn Mawr.
(I can feel you all shaking your heads and I believe I heard a few of you yell “WHAT!!??”)
We complied with the request only to be granted 5 additional visits. Typical Monday; the clinical manager stated “I understand your patient is walking with the BoBath pole but how is that helping her function at home independently”? “It just seems that she has not had significant progress in 3 years”.
(Did any of you hear my scream this morning?)
This person does not understand that Corey’s mere existence is the sole benefit of her long term therapy. The debate, documentation and arguments will commence.
I share this with you primarily to lay the ground work that there may be a few missed posts this week and/or a few well worded entries venting our frustrations! Advocacy work is NOT for the faint of heart nor is it an option to roll over. However, stamina is waning and I need to reach deep within myself for composure as well as the ability to articulate a well thought out factual response as I proceed to discredit the qualifications of the person that is holding the reins for the advancement of Corey’s progress…for instance;
Despite the Insurance’s moronic requests, our girl IS progressing. This weekend she articulated an emotion for the first time. We have been discussing Kate’s emotion cards and how to properly use them. During a random discussion, Corey stated “Mom, I’m angry”. “I do not like ….” I asked Corey to expand on her feelings. We had our first rational conversation that ended with a compromise. (I think that was a first EVER…including her teenage years prior to the accident).
We would also like to share another exciting announcement. Many of you have been asking and we’re happy to say that this weekend we began the outline for our first book. We will keep you posted as it develops but Corey is very excited. In fact when asked how the weekend went when she saw Kate and Natalie, Corey told them Aunt Diane came to visit and we are writing a book! This was the first time she shared a short term memory without a verbal que from me.
If only the ‘decision makers’ could see the ID# on the paperwork is actually a person.
Our person, Corey Beattie, walked 400 feet today in 6 minutes. Yes, she was assisted by her therapists for a moderate assist but 18 months ago her left leg was paralyzed.
Our person, Corey Beattie, held onto a rail today as she pulled her body to a standing position and then reclined to her seat for a sit to stand exercise 15 times in succession in just over 2 minutes. She pulled her self to a standing position for the first time 4 months ago and it took her almost 5 minutes for a single stand.
Our person, Corey Beattie, sat in her wheelchair today propelling her self 100 feet using her right foot and right hand to guide her direction in under 2 minutes. She has had her new wheelchair for 3 months. That same timed test was initially recorded at 8 minutes.
Our person, Corey Beattie, completed her timed progress report by climbing a flight of stairs. As she returned, exhausted, she then “tried something new”; climbing the same flight of stairs sideways. Leading with her right leg, lifting her left to pause before she ascended to the next step.
How has the therapy received directly reflect how the patient performs at home?
Corey Beattie, 21, a young woman who survived more then any of us have experienced in our lifetime, began standing 3 years ago strapped to a table that tilted upright, sat in a custom wheelchair, with a headrest to hold her head as well as at contoured cushioned seat back to secure her torso because she could not sit independently. Every movement, every thought, every word, every bite of food and drink is a sign of ‘functional improvement’.
We can not ask a double amputee and an olympic athlete to compete in the 100 yard dash and expect the same results.
Traumatic Brain Injury is not an event. It is not an orthopedic injury that heals in 6-8 weeks. It is a life altering, life long recovery. Long Term Rehabilitation Therapy to a TBI survivor is the same as chemo to a cancer patient or insulin to a diabetic.
I believe the next step is to re-define the standards of ‘functional improvement’ when looking at the PERSON not the national average of reported statistics reflecting the spectrum of patients from concussion to severe injuries.
Finally, as the client that pays my premium, I have a question for you Ms. clinical manager…I would like a copy of your resume for my records. Let’s begin with your Neuro-Rehab experience, shall we?
Pray for my patience…xoxo