18 February 2014

It shouldn't be this hard

Liam needs total support and that means without a wheelchair accessible van, he has to have a good car seat that provides proper positioning and sufficient support.

 We were approved, easily, for a special needs car seat last year. So what could be a problem?

The DME (durable medical equipment) company we work through, NuMotion, had recently merged or bought out a company that had recently bought out another company. With Numotion, efficiency would be more streamlined, the steps of the process would be posted on your account on their website after you log in so you could always see exactly where you were in the process and what next step was needed to get the equipment to your door.

It's lovely.

However, NuMotion doesn't carry the different types of special needs car seats that are available on the market today for you to try out. They can't show up at my door, have Liam try out 4 or 5 different models and then we pick which one works best for him and our truck. They may be able to get one or two but if those don't work, you are still stuck with trying to figure out if the one in the catalog is going to be the one that works best or not. Some car seats are too big for certain vehicles, some are too wide, some don't provide the proper positioning for Liam, etc.  It's all a guessing game if you don't have one in hand.

Back in 2012 we picked the Special Tomato car seat. When we tried it out Liam did seem to sit in it well, it provided proper positioning, and it fit well in our truck. Fast forward 8 months to when we actually received the car seat. Liam had had a huge growth spurt and the brand new, $1500 car seat just barely fit him. There was no way once winter hit and he was wearing thicker clothes or if he hit another growth spurt that this car seat would last the expected 2-3 years. He just fit in it.  I had his PT check it out and she was concerned as well.

After letting NuMotion know, they ordered the next size up in the Special Tomato. When we received it, our DME guy and I were shocked to see such a huge difference in sizes. This one was too big. So big, in fact, that we couldn't even get the chest strap to come within the 2 inches of Liam's neck that is required for proper safety positioning. He was even trying to position foam inserts over foam inserts to get him to sit in it right. At that point I was saying huh uh. That is not going to work. We need a different seat. The Special Tomato is not the one for Liam.

After getting approval to order a new car seat that was not Special Tomato, our DME guy was able to find a car seat that he thought might work for Liam.  He brought it out to our house, we tried Liam in it and put him in the car and it was a beautiful thing. He fit perfect. It fit like a dream.  We finally had one that would work. And for years to come too. He said he would get it ordered and it shouldn't be no time at all to get it in.

Fast forward to yesterday. My DME dude had to come to the house to fix Liam's stander. I asked when we were getting the car seat and he told me he had bad news. NuMotion won't let me get a new one. After getting over my shock and finding words to say, I asked him, "So you are telling me NuMotion said that Liam has to use a car seat that is too small for him because they don't want to get us a new one?" He said that was not what they were saying. Just that we couldn't get another one. So I said the same thing again. NuMotion won't allow a new car seat, that would provide proper positioning and safety in the event of an accident because they don't want to. NoMotion said we could get a new car seat, fitted us for one, and then said they had changed their minds and we couldn't get one. I asked for the corporate management's number.

Liam is fortunate to have a Medicaid case manager who has his back. She will fight to get Liam what he needs and she does a lot of dirty work in order to get things done. I can't say enough good things about her. It was a hassle on her end to go through the process of getting this car seat paid for in the first place and to have it not be right and NuMotion not fix it was going to have her on the phone with them immediately.

After I put in my call to my case manager I called the the corporate number and spoke with a very nice lady who took down everything I said. She said she was forwarding the information on to our regional manager and I should get a response within 24 hours. If I don't hear within 24 hours a formal complaint is auto-logged with corporate so she said I should definitely hear something today.

We started this process back in 2012.

Liam deserves a car seat that fits right, keeps him safe in the car, and provides proper positioning. It shouldn't be this hard to make that happen for him.

His normal smiley self on the way to school. Sitting in his way too small Walmart seat because it's easier than the too small Special Tomato.