The last two days I’ve been watching live feeds of the family forums. I use forum loosely. It’s more we blow smoke up your ass, and you take it. And that’s exactly how I feel. I feel like I’ve spent a couple hours the last two days getting more Army smoke blown up my ass. If you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably gathered this already. Color my cynical, but I’ve been at this Army wife gig for 10 years now. We are AVID users of Tricare thanks to several chronic conditions between myself and the boys. Frankly, I mostly ignore my fibromyalgia because I just haven’t heard any good solutions from doctors for dealing with it, and anything that helps, like the chiropractor, is paid entirely out of our pockets.
I still hear the battle cries of “we WILL improve behavioral health care for our families.” I can’t tell you how many times I snarfed my tea during that section. I’ve heard it all before. Let’s stop talking about it, and do it, shall we? I know you can’t take back that it took YEARS to correctly diagnose my oldest son with Asperger’s. You can’t take back that we had to pay out of pocket and go out of network to get him that diagnosis, or wait TWO YEARS after referral to see a developmental pediatrician. You can’t take back that my younger son has been jerked around by the system as well waiting to see if he too has ASD (autism spectrum disorder). You can’t take back that I’ve had to be *that* mom and *that* spouse. Since I brought up autism, WHY is the rate for military kids 1 in 88? Just food for thought.
WE CAN make it better for the soldiers and their families behind us. We can work towards better continuity of care like was mentioned today. I heard my post mentioned as doing a fantastic job of this. News to me. In the two years we’ve been here, I’ve seen my PCM (primary care manager) ONCE that I can recall. Maybe twice. Every time I call it’s a different doctor, whoever has an appointment that day. Our clinic is small and taxed by a large retiree population in our area. I don’t begrudge the retirees their benefits, but it seems to me our clinic could use some more doctors and staff.
I also heard a lot of lip service about continuity in education for the kids. That’s fantastic if it’s working in practical application. What irked me is that gifted children and continuity for them kept being mentioned. What about our other kids with IEPs and 504 plans?
What are we doing to make the EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) work better? Make it more standardized? What are we doing to make sure that when it’s time to PCS, our soldiers with EFMP family members are being sent where there are the doctors their family needs? Being an Army family is stressful enough. Being an Army family with special needs kid(s) adds a whole other dimension of stress I’ve not heard any of these “experts” touch yet.
Where does this leave me? Disheartened. Cynical. Jaded. Pretty much status quo. The last two days I’ve heard a lot of the same lip service from the live feeds at the #AUSA2010 conference. What I’d like to see is action. Action not only at the largest installations, but across the board. ALL installations. ALL of our components to include the National Guard and Reserves. THEN I will believe these paper pushers really give a damn.