Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

My Bet Is on the Underdog

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

My Bet Is on the Underdog

Article excerpt

TRICARE wants to instill the belief that we should be happy with what we receive and that it is good enough, but I'm not so sure. Don't write off the underdog just yet.

Rudy Ruettiger of Notre Dame, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, and Colonel Sanders all have something in common. They are all famous people inked in our history books who have impacted our lives in some way, but they were also known for being the underdog. The odds were not in their favor to succeed. People say that Colonel Sanders was rejected 1,009 times before he got his first "yes" to the idea of starting a little franchise entitled Kentucky Fried Chicken. Just think, if he would have quit after the 1,008th rejection. We would have never experienced a warm buttery biscuit with creamy potatoes and fried chicken for lunch as we promised ourselves that we would have salad for dinner.

These stories go through my mind as I think about military families fighting for better services for their children on the spectrum. Are we the underdogs in this fight? I think we are. With every small step we gain crawling up the mountain of TRICARE policy debacles and bureaucracy, we slip two steps down. We continue to dig our fingers into the side and pray for a tight enough grip in the hopes of not having to lose too much ground. Our military families have experienced loss in care that is often due to politics and a sense of complacency for treating children who have serious behaviors that continuously debilitates their quality of life.

What makes it so complicated about changing policy with TRICARE is that there isn't one point of contact that can make those changes. If you don't like your lawn service, it's advertised that if you call a certain number, you can speak to someone to voice your concerns. Many times I will drive behind a truck that will say, "How is my driving? Call this number if you see me driving like a maniac." The numbers are out there and, generally, your opinion is that if you call that number, you will speak with a human that will work with you to fix the problem. With TRICARE, this isn't the case and, in my opinion, they use this to their advantage to tamper with policies that affect our children.

With military families, it's common to be notified of a policy change after it happens or they will be told, "This is happening. Brace yourselves for the change." People not associated with the military may think, "Just make a stink. …

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