More From the Diabetes Blog Week:
The Healthcare Experience – Thursday 5/19
Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!
Wow, that’s a big topic! Coming from personal and professional experience of working in endocrinology offices, I have seen the good and the bad.
Doctors and Diabetes
First, from a personal standpoint, we have had the best experience with our endocrinologist. He is so wonderful. Over the first few years of my children’s diagnosis, he called us personally every week or so to go over the bg logs and adjust the pump. From that experience I learned how to look for patterns in bg’s and manage the pump settings. This was so valuable. Just knowing that I would have the chance to talk to him if a question came up was like gold to me. Many times I would hear his kids in the background so I knew he was “off” work. He also was so compassionate. I remember when after Josh was diagnosed, Sara was diagnosed 10 months later and how he hated to tell us that, even though we already knew from her high blood sugars. He even asked the next week how I was doing and if I needed any antidepressants/anti-anxiety meds to help me because he knew it was alot.
Several of the doctors I know that work with children with diabetes give the parents their cell phone. One even has meters that send the bg to the cloud and then send him a text message and he can text the parents if needed. It’s amazing what technology can do!
Know their philosophy!
From my experience with the many doctor’s I have worked with, they are for the most part very good and knowledgeable in my area of the country. When looking for an endo, I think it’s important to know their philosphy on children and diabetes so you know it’s a good fit. If you are interested in a pump, you want a doctor who is ready to write the prescription when you are, not wait a year or until you get the A1C down to goal. If you are not comfortable changing pump settings, you want one who is knowledgeable about pump settings. (Yes, there are some who have no clue about that.)
Healthcare Offices and Diabetes
Although most of the doctors are great, frequently it is the office management that is the problem. I hear so many complaints about people who have a problem and need to get through to the nurse for a prescription or a question and it’s so hard to do. That is my main frustration with the offices. That is also why I believe that the patients and parents need to know what to do for emergencies without the instruction of the doctor and keep up with their prescriptions and make sure they have plenty of refills for what they need.
Health Insurance and Diabetes
I’ve had good experience with our insurance so far. I’ve had multiple insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors go through our insurance with no problem as far as coverage. Cost is another thing! We have a high deductible so they are very expensive and I usually have to get a monthly payment plan. I’ve heard of some insurances denying claims for pumps or requiring people to get a preferred pump. While a preferred meter is not that big of a deal to me, a preferred pump is. I want people to have an educated choice in what pump they get, because each pump has it’s pros and cons.
My Wishlist of What to Improve
I’m satisfied with our healthcare other than the cost. Our durable medical equipment insurance pays 80% after a $1000 deductible. So the first of the year is always tough. Our prescription insurance is another thing! We pay 50% of prescriptions which equals $100 a vial for insulin and my two children use a total of 4 vials a month so that gets very expensive! We were blessed for 3 years with a grant from United Healthcare Children’s Foundation to help pay for diabetes supplies and insulin. Check out that site if you need financial help with your child.
My Suggestions for Your Care:
- Get to know the office staff and endo and their policies and philosophies.
- If you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor, it’s ok to change!
- Ask other healthcare workers who work with the endos as well as other parents who they know is a good doctor and office.
- Call your insurance company to find out about preferred doctors, meters, insulin pumps, insulins and where the contract is to fill your prescriptions and order supplies.
- Learn all you can for your diabetes care, because in the long run, you are the one managing diabetes on a day to day basis. You need to know what to do for a high blood sugar, ketones, low blood sugar, sick days, and other problems.
- Get a good support group who can help you along the way!
What are your experiences with healthcare? Comment below to let us know!