Sunday, March 7, 2010

Diapers and Care Coordination

Sometimes the little stuff just annoys all out of proportion.

One recent annoyance is actually probably a nice little step forward in Medical Assistance cost-cutting for the state... We learned toward the end of the year that Wisconsin had chosen a single supplier for home-delivery diapers through MA, so we were going to have to change suppliers. So I dutifully called our old supplier, Home Delivery Incontinence Supplies, and discussed how the change was to happen. We settled on a date for one final shipment (Jan. 28) to give me time to get things underway with the new supplier, J&B Medical.

To get set up with the new supplier took something like four calls, with some phone tag thrown in, some forms to fill out and mail back, a batch of diaper-samples for us to test and choose (because of course they had different brands than HDIS).

Then we got a week into February and hadn't received our final shipment from HDIS. The first customer service rep I spoke to confirmed that no shipment had gone out, but couldn't tell me why. Her supervisor was to call me back at work. No call came. I had to call again to discover that our "prior authorization" had run out Jan. 23, so they cancelled our shipment. Without informing us. No, they couldn't get a new prior-auth, because gee, they're not our supplier any more. Meanwhile, it turned out they had called my home number instead of work, and JoyDad spent 20 minutes on hold returning that call, not aware of all my phoning.

We had no leverage. What could we do, fire them? (Well, I guess I can tell the story on my blog... heh.)

But do we have any leverage with the new supplier? Well, no. We can't fire them either, they've been given the monopoly.

Fortunately the new supplier was nicely responsive. Diapers arrived promptly, and they're even brand-name (Luvs).

And... the annoying leakage problems that I wrote about a while back have been dramatically reduced! So there was a happy ending to the story. This time.

I sometimes feel that I'm not exactly grateful enough for the publicly-funded diapers, especially since we wouldn't qualify if it were an income-based deal.

But sometimes, it's the little things that take so much time and effort and tracking, and knowing that you're at the mercy of bureaucratic forces over which you have no leverage. Plus we learned recently at LEND that nearly 10% of families of children with special health care needs reported in 2006 spending over 11 hours a week coordinating or providing health care for their child.

I'm wondering if people were even counting this kind of stuff. Bleah.


jess said...

glad to hear that some good has come of it, but ugh .. sorry for the hassle!

Anonymous said...

Love your first sentence.

Blog-therapy session - no charge. Per usual, your post helps others, too.

I have read plenty of complaint regarding coordinating services in parent blogs in my relatively short time here in the online community. In my real life, care coordination is, yes, quite the annoyance all out of proportion to our sense of what is reasonable (or justice). Only 10%? Only 11 hours per week? Those are 4 year old figures.

Maybe, your state chose the best supplier for the monopoly, but there was no way to convince you (everyone) of the fact - just make the change. I'm thankful you did not have to move from less-competent HDIS to better-branded-fewer-leaks J&B. BRatK