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Not unless you’re rich


Last week I heard Dr. Allen Lewis, MD, of Integrative Pediatrics of Ohio speak at a seminar at the OU Lancaster Campus.  He spoke of the great success rate he’s having with children of all ages in treating their behavioral and neurological problems with nutrients.  This includes the higher functioning children with an ASD.  He spoke of the lack of nutrients – REAL nutrients – in the food we are eating as a society and why it was no wonder autism and other neurological diagnoses are on the rise.  Dr. Lewis has an autistic son as well, so he is passionate about helping.

A lot of what he had to say made excellent sense.  I would love nothing better than to be able to get Eli off the chemical medications he is on to help him get through each day and feel in control of himself.

So I called.  I called to find out what we would need to do to have Dr. Lewis see our precious son.  Our child.  Our Eli.

The receptionist was extremely sweet and very helpful, but she didn’t really share good news.  Insurance does not cover the visits nor the nutrients.  We would have to pay up front for the first visit and the testing (about $400).  They will submit a claim, and any part of the visit which insurance would decide to cover would be reimbursed directly to us.  There’s a chance insurance won’t reimburse a dime however.

The nutrients are a separate cost, not included in the $400 and we didn’t even discuss that part.

We would then need to bring Eli back about every 3 months and again pay up front for the visit, about $325 each visit.

So despite his claim to being passionate about helping, apparently the only people who can be helped by Dr. Lewis’ discoveries are those who are rich.

And despite the excellent success record Dr. Lewis has, the insurance companies are making far more money off big pharmaceutical companies than going with a healthy, sensible treatment option…so they aren’t willing to work with or cover integrative medicine at this point.

I asked the receptionist how people actually pay for this.  I asked nicely.  She was very sweet and did put me on the path of finding out about some programs which might help financially – none of which I’d ever been told about before.  So that IS a plus.  But – as she put it – they are County run programs and agencies.  In our very rural county, chances are slim that we’d be able to receive much more than a couple hundred a year.  Which would help with co-pays for our current Dr. and therapist visits, so I am pursuing those avenues.  However it is unlikely they will actually be of much help.

And that doesn’t get my baby off all these harsh chemicals.  He cannot function without them.  So I was very upset after I got off the phone.

We are not slackers.  Ben worked for 30 years and dedicated his entire body to his job.  Now that he’s retired he’s left with a broken body and about 1/2 of his pay, and insurance keeps taking more and more of what he does make.  I work 40 hours a week, and up until a year ago, even had a 2nd job.  We pay our bills on time and our taxes on time and are productive, well-behaved members of society.

But we’re not good enough to be able to pursue treatment for our child, a treatment that might really help him.  A treatment that would be a healthy alternative to spending life on harsh chemicals.  Nah.  You can’t have that choice.  Not unless you’re rich.

There’s something terribly wrong with our society.  This is not a political commentary, and I’ll thank you for not turning it into such.  But even those who swear – who take oaths – to help people, to make things better end up being swayed by the lure of money.  Their passion to help becomes overridden by luxury.  They lose their desire and dreams to help and really don’t want to get their hands dirty anymore.  And they sit in their nice sterile offices and treat only those who are wealthy enough to pay up front.

Meanwhile…my precious child, who might really benefit from this treatment….isn’t able to obtain it, simply because our family isn’t rich.

My heart is broken. It’s angry, disgusted, frustrated, HURT!  I look at him and see such a beautiful person.  I see that smile and hear that laugh and watch the sparkle of his beautiful blue-gray eyes when he’s being ornery.  I feel his little arms around me when he’s willing to be touched and how he holds on so tight because he sooooo needs that hug right now.  I rush to him when he can’t take another moment of this world and sit beside him while he struggles to focus and get through simple tasks and hold him when his emotions overwhelm him. I touch and kiss his soft, red hair, kiss his freckles and love him with my whole being.  And I wonder who got to decide that he wasn’t good enough to be able to have that treatment option.

I’m so, so sorry buddy.

I’m sorry that the country we live in is so messed up.

I’m so sorry that this door is closed to us.

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Comments on: "Not unless you’re rich" (4)

  1. This post nearly made me cry. What kind of society allows health care (and education) to become less about serving people and more about the bottom line?

    I could answer my own question, but…there’s not way to do it without political and economical discourse. What I will say is this: somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten that we are responsible for taking care of each other.

    Love your neighbor as yourself. One simple teaching that could change everything if we’d really start living it out.

    I’m so sorry that we’ve let Eli down.

  2. If I had it, so would you! We need one payer – socialized MEDICINE!!

  3. Rachel Jeffers said:

    I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better, but I know there isn’t really. You’re right that this country is messed up. Working where I do, I witness it every day. Just trust in the fact that you’re doing everything that you can right now and you’re doing a great job. Love you!

  4. Sadly I know the feeling you describe so well…… (hugs)

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