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The Mounting Paper

A little while ago I had to file applications for the kids for a special program in my state for kids who aren’t covered by the Medicaid. Gage and Quinn had been kicked off the policy because they weren’t sick enough, often enough. They didn’t require (planned) hospitalizations nor “skilled nursing” and so that was the check box that kicked them off of the program.

The applications I was filling out required a copy of the denial letters (from 1 and 2 years ago) from Medicare, current IEPs, a letter from the kids’ doctor stating diagnosis and an application for the program for each child. While I hadn’t filed any paperwork over the last 8 months I knew I had all the documentation. Since I was going through the binders anyway to find previous year’s paperwork for the application I decided to get the loose paperwork put away. I spent 2 1/2 hours of a work day separating the paperwork into 5 piles; medical for each child, education for each child and one very large stack of medical bills and EOBs (Explanation of Benefits) from the insurance company. I’ll still have another few hours of getting it in chronically in order, 3-hole punching, and putting in binders.

For me the easiest way for me to fight against the growing amount of paper is to pile it up until I have an extra 5-8 hours to organize it which comes about every 6-8 months. I’ve found binders the easiest to deal with because I can flip easily between the sections when I’m trying to find something quickly (usually sitting in an appointment with a doctor). I file so current papes are on top and therefore most relevant to current care. Doctors marvel at the binders and sometimes they are a little grateful. Like the time our son was being evaluated for a kidney transplant and their computer system wasn’t allowing him to look at the previous lab reports.

Turns out that was the day to have them, because as the doctor’s eyes were widening he was explaining that the lab reports I had compared to labs they’d taken that day just hours before meant our son would soon start dialysis. He did, just some two weeks later.

I get the paperwork from doctors as I go and throw them in a pile until I need them and have time to hole punch and file. I didn’t start out collecting paperwork as I went. It took me about 6 months into the special needs world to know that having all their medical documents in my possession would work in my favor. It must have been the multiple copies of all medical charts/reports/results/letters for each of the kids that I needed to file for funding. Or maybe it was driving to multiple offices to collect them because I was on deadline. Then I began to notice it was just easier when I was at the doctor to get what they had in the file (and they won’t usually charge you for a copy here and there, but they will when they need to copy the entire chart for you).

Being organized takes practice and I’ve found raising special needs kids makes you practice a lot.

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