28 June 2012

Bureaucracy Strikes Again: Autism Funding. Again.

My brain hurts. Just when I figure I have the ins and outs of autism funding bureaucracy figured out, they throw me a curve ball.

Snap is going for neurofeedback. Autism funding covers neurofeedback for children over 6. Snap is over six. Therefore, Snap is covered. Right? Wrong. I filled out the Request to Pay to have them pay for her treatments. They informed me they need a referral from someone else to do it. In particular, they need referral from a physiotherapist, occupational therapist (OT), GP, behaviour consultant (BC), or pediatrician. Snap had a BC, but she played the asshole card and refused to refer - after much runaround. So based on that final straw, we fired her. Our GP was on mat leave. We have no pediatrician or OT. So we went to her physiotherapist and got a referral. Nice guy. If you need a good PT in Victoria, get hold of me, I'll send you his way.

So, I sent in the referral. Done, right? Well, no. First, the autism funding unit needed to lose it and ask me to resend it, telling me that once it was in, we'd be good to go. So I resent it, by email. No one got around to it, and I found out today, from the neurofeedback clinic that they hadn't gotten a billing number. What? I sent that email back in April. What gives? So I phoned the Autism Funding Unit again, and guess what? "There's no indication that this was received." So I told him the date it was sent, and lo and behold, he found it. And then said he'd put a rush on it, and that I'd hear if it was approved sometime in the next few weeks. WHAT? I told him I was under the impression that if I had a referral, it was an automatic approval. "Oh no. That's not how it works." But but but! So I told him how the last person told me that yes, that is infact how it works, and he told me he'd look at the call log. And guess what, there it was. "Oh. Oh... well, I'll send this log along with the referral form."

OMG. We've already started. We can't afford this kind of treatment. And seriously, how do bureaucrats think they know better about what my kid needs than all the medical professionals they need to get a referral from? And WHY can't that office manage to process anything the first time? How do they keep losing faxes and forgetting email? I'd send it all by registered mail, but it's a PO box, so that they can avoid giving a signature. They even turned off their email receipts. They do not answer email, ever. And they get really assholish quickly if I call to check if they got it. They give me some crap about giving them 30 days to process it, but I swear, they lose stuff about 50% of the time, and if I wait 30 days to call, it'll take another 21 to process it!

Neurofeedback is so cool. I'm going to be learning lots about it. I could see today that Snap's frontal lobe is a screaming mess. Poor kid. No wonder she's so anxious and scattered. The doctor compared it to having 10 radio stations playing at once and trying to focus on just one of them. I'd go nuts, for sure.

So... here's hoping they approve it. Because I don't want to be on the hook for $2500!