The “Providers”

dme co

Oxygen, trachs, suction machines, catheters, g-tubes, extensions, syringes, chucks, diapers…. If you had to choose one, which could you make do without?? I bet your answer is: NONE! When you are parenting a child with special medical needs you know how important ALL these items are.  You set reminders on your phone, tell your family members to remind you, save bulky packaging and leave in a place so it’s in your face and you don’t forget to place that re-order. The next day you watch the clock closely to be sure you make that call before 5 o’clock eastern standard time because you live in the west coast…. After a brief debate with yourself as to whether you can hold off the ordering one more day you pick up the phone and call. The nice automated lady asks you to clearly state your date of birth; logic tells you she’s really asking for your child’s DOB. After carefully enunciating Maaaaay-eiiiiiighteen-two-thousaaand-niiine she doesn’t understand and instructs you to hold for further assistance. The smooth jazz music begins and you are officially in a Que. The nice lady gets back on and says, “We apologize for the delay. Please continue to hold, we will be with you shortly”. After several minutes a live person gets on the phone and immediately begins the verification process. You give your child’s name, DOB, address, phone number listed and whether or not you’ve traveled outside the United States in the last 6 months. “Are you calling to place an order?” she asks and you say “yes, I need to order more diapers”. “Okay, one moment”. Then there is dead silence. Something tells you the diapers you desperately need will not be shipping anytime soon. The representative gets back on the phone only to bear the bad news: “we will need to get authorization from your insurance company and a new prescription from your doctor”, “how long will this take?” you ask, hoping you don’t have to try to find supplies in the medical supply exchange page on Facebook or Craigslist. As the conversation ends the lady asks if there is anything else she can help me with…. Really? I’m not sure she was any help at all! I hang up and mark my calendar to follow up in a couple days. Most likely my next conversation will escalade to the point of speaking to a supervisor and in about two weeks I’ll get my diapers. Unfortunately this is how it goes every month. Some of our medical supply companies are easier to deal with than others but not by much. I feel bad for special needs parents. Not only do you deal with the “normal” challenges of having a medically sensitive child but you have to face these “providers” EVERY SINGLE MONTH! They provide much more than medical supplies, they provide stress, financial hardships and anxiety.  Lord help us!


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