Monday, November 9, 2015

Acquired Brain Injury Day 17

Today I want to talk about Travel Insurance and the importance of reading the fine print. Colleen continues to move forward, slowly but surely. The plan is that if she continues to improve over the next week, they will move her our of the "High Dependency Ward" and then discharge her to another unit of the Alfred Health group The Caulfield Hospital for up to three of rehabilitation, and then we will be clear (hopefully) to fly home.

We have a Travel Insurance policy that covers multiple trips of up to 35 days over a year and since we were going to be in Victoria, Australia for 42 days this trip we bought a top up policy from the same company. We also, when we purchased our tickets, purchased trip cancellation insurance. So I thought we were well covered. As they say, the devil is in the details and in Insurance policy fine pring

The representative from our travel insurance, once I reported the claim, has been in touch with me every day. I realized early on that she was asking questions about my wife's treatment, and her progress, not out of concern but out of a desire to minimize the risk for the company. 

I answered all of her questions but when she asked about Colleen's prognosis and how she was doing,  I always answered that I was happy with the progress. I explained every time that I did not believe that I could not comment on any medical progress because I was not trained in the medical field and always referred to the hospital for that information. The head office for my insurance was in Eastern  Canada and so there was a huge time difference and I felt the representations frustration in being able to talk with the hospital. 

Early on in this process, I had been spoken to one of the Doctors on the medical team. He told me that the insurance company was phoning every day and the medical team did not want to update them on a daily basis as things could change very quickly. 

He asked my permission to give the insurance company updates only if the medical team needed permission for a new or updated procedure or if there was a substantial change, positive or negative in my wife's condition. I agreed but I told the insurance company that the doctors would keep them updated when/and as needed. 

The insurance company did not like that response and put pressure on me to give them more information about my wife's status. I did not become angry but I am sure my voice showed my annoyance, and by today I started to shift the focus on how/when Colleen would  be allowed to go home. 

I  asked the insurance company about getting us back home. The insurance company had told me that  the reports the insurance company had received from the Alfred was that Colleen would be able to fly home without support when she was discharged from the hospital. I conveyed that information to the coordinator.

According to the Liaison coordinator at the Alfred, they had told the insurance company that Colleen could not fly home without a medical escort, but that status might change in two or three weeks. This was at odds with what the insurance company had told me.

The Alfred Health group puts patients first and in my wife's time at the Alfred, I was in constant communication with members of the medical team working on my wife, a Social Worker, a Hospital Liaison  Coordinator and a Spiritual Adviser. Each of these people had a role to play in making sure that Colleen got the best treatment at the Alfred and would get the best treatment when she was discharged. 

According to the Liaison Coordinator, the chief Neurosurgeon on Colleen's team had spent a fair bit of time talking to the insurance companies Dr.'s  in Canada and when the Coordinator reported what the insurance company had told me he was quite upset with their interpretation of that discussion. He had written one letter to them and he wrote another letter that he said would clarify the situation. 

In the second letter, which I have, and which was sent to the insurance company, he clearly states that at this time and in the foreseeable future, Colleen could not fly without a medical escort period. I was not expecting that news, as I was hoping that we would still be able to get home by mid November. 

The insurance company would not pay for a medical escort, if Colleen was discharged from the Alfred, but the Alfred was going to discharge her into a rehabilitation facility so she could recover enough to fly home. My insurance company would not cover the cost of rehabilitation, nor would they cover the cost of a medical escort back to Canada if Colleen was discharged. I had to make some tough decisions about what I would do when ilt was time for the next step. Should we go home with an escort, or should we stay 

On a more positive tone, Colleen was staying awake longer, seemed to be happier, and more aware of what was going on around her. The only issue was that she believed that people were out to get her, and that we had to be careful. 

When I left for the day, I was upset with the insurance company, but I was happy with the progress that Colleen was making and was trusting that the medication and care she was receiving would soon take her to the next step..

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