Where to go from here...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by flsunset, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. flsunset

    flsunset New Member

    Hello all...I've posted on and off for several years, previously as "CAmom."

    A brief history: My son's diagnosis started out as ADHD and was later thought to perhaps be bipolar and has now has been confirmed as such. He's been on medications for bipolar twice in the past but never really bought into them and didn't give them a long enough trial. In the meantime, he's experimented with various substances over the years including alcohol, Oxy Contin, and even heroin (not injected) and has subsequently successfully quit each, preferring marijuana as his "drug of choice." In CA, he had a medical marijuana card. However, when we moved as a family to FL two years ago where it's illegal, he, having learned the hard way that he can't escape the long arm of the law, began using the synthetic version which is in the process of being banned in Fl but is still sold and has had a disastrous effect on his mental health, particularly his bipolar.

    When he finally decided to ask for help for his bipolar a few weeks past, I got him an appointment with our family doctor who prescribed specific bipolar and anti-anxiety medications which my son has abused in the past. He did so again and ended up over-medicated, falling down at least one flight of cement fire stairs, severely breaking both ankles.

    I've been dreading this day for a long time. He's had many consequences of his poor choices in the past: juvenile hall and a group home at age 17 and jail time and numerous penalties for a DUI last year. However, this consequence is the worst yet and could and probably will impact his life from here on out.

    Obviously, there are lots of issues here, but my main concern for him at the moment is finding out what can be done to make sure he gets whatever services are available for him as a medically uninsured young person who's likely to be disabled for at least a half year and probably even longer. His orthopedic surgeon has told me that he has "a long, and very difficult road ahead of him."

    He still lives at home, and, despite his various problems, is a loving and caring son to his dad, my husband, who has early Alzheimers and is under Hospice care. There's no way we can cover what will likely be huge medical bills for our son’s hospital stay, surgeries, and rehab. The hospital has already called, asking for information about my and my husband's income (SS only), and I pointed out that, since our son is over 21, we can't be held responsible for his medical bills, and, because of our situation, they need to look to other sources to pay his bills. Of course, if we were millionaires, I wouldn't hesitate to pay them myself because he's going to need extensive rehab, and I'm afraid that that won't be offered to a basically indigent young man with no job and no chance of getting one for the indefinate future...it could be months before he can even bear wieght on one foot, much less both.

    Does anyone have any advice for me as to how to best advocate for him as far as assistance for his medical care and rehab, specifically in Florida? He in no way, is mentally or physically able to deal with all this himself at this point.

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I truly wish that I had an answer for you but I don't. I do know that difficult child#1 had a brain injury at age 18 and he had BCBS at that time via his bioMom. Following his surgery at ORMC he was transferred to a Rehab hospital in Jax where he stayed for quite some time. When the immediate medical crisis was over (and a little time had passed) he received bills that were for many thousands of dollars. Obviously he couldn't work and had no earnings. The business office at the Rehab hospital called about the balance due and told me...much to my surprise...that HE was the one who was responsible and that we had no obligation to pay the debt. Based on that I don't think you and your husband will be held accountable.

    If I were you I would get comfortable with a pad and pen, pull out the phone book and call every single medical service in your City asking for referrals for help. Depending on where you live it could take days, I know. Write down the name of each person you speak to (even if they say nothing of value) as well as the phone number and facility. Call the hospitals and ask to speak to the social services representative, the financial office...anybody and everybody. You might find one or two people who will suggest a difference resource.

    I'm sending hugs your way. Your plate is full for sure. I will send prayers your way. DDD
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gosh, I am so sorry. You have a lot on your plate. Since your son is diagnosed with bipolar, I would contact the local NAMI (national alliance on mental illness) they may be able to put you in contact with all the appropriate resources. Here in CA. they have been an invaluable resource for me. They have offices all over the US and you can look them up online and get info for your local chapter. They also have support groups for parents. It's a long process, but perhaps NAMI can assist you or give you information on Social Security or disability............I don't know a lot about that, like DDD mentioned you may have to call around to every agency to find out what's available out there. I've done that as well, and I did in fact, find folks who helped me. Hang in there flsunset, with some diligence and time, I think you'll find answers.............I wish you peace along the way.............(((HUGS))))
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Both good suggestions. I have no other ideas but wanted to say I'm really sorry you have both husband and difficult child to care so intensively for. Please be sure to carve out a little time to care for yourself. Wishing difficult child complete healing......
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Most hospitals have social workers to handle these situations. Given that he has no income, he is actually probably going to receive medicaid to cover these expenses. The amt of income to be ineligible is very low, but it is still probably a couple hundred a month. Often after a major crisis or trauma, people are given medicaid so that some expenses are covered. Often this isn't granted until after the crisis and is retroactive.

    They cannot legally harass you no matter how big the debt. If you/he pay as little as $5 per month, they cannot do much. If you do get billing/collection agencies calling you, you have the right, as does difficult child, to insist they only contact you by mail. If they are abusive in ANY way, report it to the FCC. Don't yell, don't curse, just tell them to only contact you in writing or you iwill file a complaint with the fcc. If they don't leave you alone? That report comes with huge fines.

    IF worse comes to worse, difficult child can declare medical bankruptcy after the treatments are completed.

    In the meantime, to access services, try contacting area churches. Catholic and Jewish charities are very large and generous and you do not have to be a member of their congregation or faith.

    You can also contact ortho specialists and ask them if they do pro bono work. You will make a lot of calls and be told no a lot, but if you are persistent and ask each person you talk to how you would find someone who could help, eventually someone will give you a helpful name or number. I think I once filled three legal pads with notes on places as I tried to get help with a residential placement for Wiz. I had just gotten approval from one excellent place when my parents decided they had to try to help before we had him placed. As I wsn't sure this excelelnt place would be a good fit, and my parents were very determined, I let them try. It took the better part of several weeks, and I had a LOT of people say 'no, no one helps kids like him' nd some that even asked what I, as his mother, did to him to make him act that way. I let that go and kept trying.

    From what I can see, if he is eligible for SSI then he gets medicaid automatically. I would start there and apply for that. He may or may not get SSI, but he can get info and resources and go from there.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he ever applied for disability? You get medical coverage if you are considered disabled, at least in Wisconsin. Sometimes you have to apply more than once. A diagnosis of bipolar, at least in Wisconsin, really helps speed things along towards getting disability. Unless he is considered disabled, the truth is, the government help just won't be there. in my opinion you have to try really hard to get it. Then he can get housing, psychiatric services and everything else, but he needs to be deemed disabled first. He certainly sounds disabled to me. in my opinion you have no choice but to try to get him disability help. That's the only way his services will not cost him anything. I'm talking about more than just his medical expenses now...I mean his services in the future too. It does not appear that he is able to really work, possibly due to his bipolar. by the way, if he is considered a disabled adult and lives with you and you do services for him, you can get paid for it, at least here in Wisconsin. I'm sure Florida is a little different...it varies state to state.