Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sadie's new wheelchair

I want to start at the beginning... back in May I learned that our private insurance will cover a new wheelchair 100%.  This was really exciting news, because the wheelchair we have doesn't really support Sadie completely.  1. it's too big, 2. it's basically a giant stroller, and 3. we need something that tilts.

So, I went on a hunt.  I found 4 or 5 wheelchairs that I liked, sent links to Denise (who was our PT at the time), and we agreed on which one we thought would be the best.

Then I had to find a provider.

You can't just buy a wheelchair from the company that makes it, you have to go through a company that provides seating and mobility services.  The wheelchair clinic, provided for kids who are supported by state insurance, is in the building of a company called United Seating and Mobility, so naturally I called them first.

USM told me that if Sadie was enrolled in the CRS program (that provides the wheelchair clinic) then we HAD to go through the wheelchair clinic.  Why?  We're not using state insurance, it's purely private, so why do we need to even access the state program?

Then I had a LONG talk with the guy at the wheelchair clinic who basically told me that even though my insurance says they'll pay 100%, they won't.  And if we don't go through the wheelchair clinic, which allows the state provided insurance to "pick up the tab," then we'll be stuck with a bill.  However, to qualify for a new wheelchair through the wheelchair clinic (and they have available the one we want), we have to turn in the wheelchair we already have...and we weren't sure we wanted to do that.

If you remember, up until about a month ago, I drove a little Volkswagen hatchback.  It barely fit our current wheelchair in the back, and that folds up like an umbrella stroller.  If we traded that in for this other one we wanted, we'd basically never be able to take Sadie out, because we could never get Sadie and the wheelchair in the car.  Plus, we know that Sadie will grow, and having basically a giant stroller that folds up will be easier to travel with like if we fly somewhere on a plane.

So, I called my insurance company back and asked them again.  They said as long as the provider I choose is in-network they will pay 100% of the cost of the wheelchair.  Then I asked them to lead me to a list of in-network providers, because obviously USM and the wheelchair clinic just wasn't going to be easy to work with.  I found another company on the list that we work with often, they got us the Chill Out Chair and various other equipment, and they provide us with Sadie's tube supplies each month.

However, they've also been known to NOT be A+ in customer service, order the wrong thing, and take TOO long to get something to you.

They had to schedule someone to come out and measure Sadie, and fill out the order form for the wheelchair.  Luckily Denise had already gone through the order form and provided all the codes and things for what we wanted, so that made it easy for him.  And I explained to him that if we DID NOT get our wheelchair by October 1, we WOULD NOT be covered 100% by insurance because our year would renew.  He was very understanding and good at his job, and even though I worried and worried over the whole thing, we did what he was supposed to (oh, and I was diligent and called and nagged) and we got our wheelchair just in time!!

Mama wins again.

My favorite thing about the new wheelchair?  It's pink.

Sadie seems to fit in it really well, too.  We took it for a walk down the street and she seemed to be really comfortable.  It pushes like a jogging stroller with handbrakes and everything!!  Oh, and the seat spins so she can face me if I want!

Oh, and she has a tray!  So, since she actually is comfortable and likes sitting in here (as opposed to her other wheelchair which is basically a stroller, you use it to get from here to there), she can do activities for therapy or she can use it at school!!  yay!!

But the best thing, really, is that it's pink!

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