True to form, everything took longer than expected. ::snort:: We were glad to have come early. We have been repeatedly told Michael's care would be uninterrupted and the transfer from active duty to retiree would be "seamless." We were told this as late as Tuesday.
|Michael logged off the government computer for the last time|
We called TriCare to switch over on Tuesday and they told us Michael had to turn in his CAC card and then they would transfer him to TriCare Retiree and it would be "seamless." We turned things in.....switched our cards from active duty to retiree....and then
|Michael tries to hold his finger still so they can get a print|
Michael met with a man who is advising us with our VA claim. He was shocked that AFPC had retired him rather than put a hold on his retirement until he could stabilize treatment. Also on Wednesday, Michael was made aware he could appeal their decision. We talked that afternoon and really, really wanted to retire - we're sort of done with it all. We decided we'd rather retire, work the VA claim as we are - and of course our care would be seamless anyway. We'd switch our residency to TX, come back as needed for appointments and all would be well.
Then he called TriCare again. Oops - seems you CAN'T reside in TX and be seen in CA. He would have to start all over with a PCM they chose out of a hat....and try to get that man to give him a referral, get a new TriCare referral now that he's RETIRED and then wait for a new neurologist to have time to see him - originally this took MONTHS to get an appointment.Michael has had a bad week. The instability and tremors are increasing, he has a hard time sleeping. He wants to start treatment. We agreed starting care was the new priority - not retiring, seeing America, or establishing residency in TX. We researched states in the West region - because then we could get a referral to UC Davis....We gave them our OR address - which resulted in frustration. The NEAREST doctor which would take TriCare is in FLORENCE, OR. We are Alaska residents and have seriously thought of simply staying Alaska residents...Alaska is also in the west region. That's still a thought - but the idea of being called to jury duty and having to fly up there - because it's too late in the year to drive is daunting.....we kept researching.
We also decided to appeal the RILO decision. We asked them to put Michael on medical hold for 3 - 4 months so his care could be stabilized. This set off a lot of things....bottom line...the local doctors would like to see him on hold until care is stabilized but AFPC (personnel headquarters) will have none of it. If he is ambulatory; he can retire. ::snort:: The whole process was not even a little bit about looking at what would be the best care for him - it was about what would be best for the Air Force. So it is. You can understand why those removed from the situation would be able to be impersonal. We really planned to file a congressional but the honest (frustrated) assessment of those in the system is it won't change anything and would leave us in health-care limbo even longer.We had a nice discussion with our doctor when he told us the news. He said, even though they denied the request to put a hold on his retirement, he really thinks it is best if we stay here and continue care with UC Davis until Michael is stabilized and we are sure he won't have complications on the meds. He said it makes no sense at all to begin this medication and then be trying to find a new doc if there are complications. It also makes little sense to wait another 3 - 6 months for the system to allow treatment in a new region.
We plan to give TriCare a CA address, Beale family practice will be our PCM (not the doctor we love as retirees can't go to Flight Med), they'll submit a new referral, and our doctor will help push it through the system, so Michael can keep his appointment and TriCare will cover it. Our "job" during this time is research to find names of a good PCM and neurologist/Movement Disorder Specialist in TX whom we want to be switched to. Our doc said after he's ON THE MEDS no one would be stupid enough to take him off of it cold turkey. We can call TriCare when he's stabilized and ask for a PCM by name rather than take one they pick off a list.We've talked to Fam Camp and they will allow us to stay for four months. SO....we ARE staying in CA - we are focusing on the VA claim, stabilizing medical treatment, doubling up on school and working to establish our residency in TX (I believe).