patty Civilian Sister
KY United States
My sister has suffered from mental illness (MI) and severe depression for many years due to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a car accident. Medication alone did not keep her from deteriorating. She was only able to begin a quality life once electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was recommended to subside her relentless suicidal intentions (SI).
However, we were informed that she could only receive her ECT treatments inpatient (IP). This meant a life of practically "living in a hospital". Even though outpatient (OP) treatment was more efficient and MUCH more cost effective for the state, Medicaid would only cover the treatments inpatient (IP). For the record, private insurance already covers this treatment OP. Required IP treatment caused her to lose employment and her support system. We were repeatedly told by the treating hospital, as well as other professionals, that we would not be able to change this policy.
I am happy to report that after an intense nine (9) month struggle, we were able to successfully plead our case and obtained a Special Contract from the State of Kentucky (KY) Medicaid Program for her to receive the treatments OP. We were told it's the first in the state for this type of treatment.
I am writing this message to advise you to "trust your gut" when you are repeatedly told that something "can't be done". You may also be told that your loved one cannot receive services from a particular agency, from multiple agencies, or various support systems. DON'T BE AFRAID TO CHALLENGE AUTHORITY. Even when you're weary from your efforts/struggles, don't give up. Stand up (respectfully) to anyone/anything that presents a roadblock, even if it's a hospital or a government bureaucracy.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX with each precious detail or piece of information that you have painstakingly acquired. While my family is not powerful or wealthy, through vigilant perseverance, we were able to achieve our goal of providing a more appropriate treatment plan for my sister. We never lost sight that the greater good must prevail.
On a brighter note: My sister is now living a quality life in her own home and will soon return to employment. She is volunteering in a supported work program and is a contributing member of society who donates her time to "Meals on Wheels" and yearns to "fit in" again.
Her continued recovery is due, in no small part, to acquiring outpatient ECT services. Also, by achieving this change of treatment policy for my sister, the state immediately saved tens of thousands of dollars per month on one patient alone.
To this day, I'm astonished it was such a tremendous fight. My message is "Don't Give Up". Keep advocating for your loved ones/clients/patients. I share this information with you in hopes that it will someday help others so they too can live a more fulfilling, fruitful life.
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patty 11 months ago
In light of recent reports that suicide amongst active-duty military personnel has spiked, I thought perhaps it might be helpful to share some additional details regarding my sister's story (listed above). The goal is to provide hope to anyone who may desperately be seeking relief. FYI: my sister's car accident occurred in 1982. She was awakened by meds in 2005. She remembers her life - before the accident - and after the awakening, but has little to no recollection of the 20+ years in-between. (Update: My sister has made tremendous gains since the initial posting and ECT is no longer necessary for HER individual treatment plan.) Please know, there are supportive people who will help - without judgment. There is relief. Keep the faith.
Kelly K over 1 year ago
Great news. To win a battle of that magnitude is encouraging to all. God Bless!
Teresa over 2 years ago
I'm so impressed with your commitment and tenacity, Patty. It just shows that behind all the bureaucracy there's just another group of people struggling with the constructs from their end. How touching that you conquered this (and many other, I'm sure) hurdle for you sister. She is blessed to have such a loving advocate.