The Road Ahead

If you’ve been following #hqoproject on Facebook or Instagram, Monday we chronicled our trip to Pensacola for Tan see a urologist. Why Pensacola? Well, there are no urologists in Panama City that are accepting Medicaid insurances anymore; they have all refused accepting Medicaid patients because, as they are all very vocal about telling inquiring patients, Medicaid doesn’t pay. A terrifying reality as doctors from all expertise continue to refuse patients with a disability, most of who all rely heavily on Medicaid insurance to pay the ever exorbitant cost of healthcare. It took three months for Tan’s primary physician to find a urologist nearby who would accept Tan and his insurance, a specialist that became even more important to see as Tan’s ultrasound report came back last week with some puzzling and potentially scary anomalies in his kidneys.

Without safe, working personal transportation to make the trip, some 662 miles round trip, Tan utilized a benefit in his insurance that pays for medical transport to doctors appointments. It was a first for Tan and his wife to use this benefit, but it was necessary. What we learned was that medical transport comes with its own set of problems. Patients are completely at the mercy of the transportation company and their schedule. Yesterday, the transport company found themselves understaffed, overbooked, and with patients whose doctors were running late. After two weeks of planning between Tan and the transport company, attaining medical proof of need for insurance, and a prescription later, medical transport came two hours late to picking Tan up…for a drive that takes 2 hours 32 minutes one way. Knowing they were running late, the transport company notified Tan’s doctor that he would be late to arriving–not a good thing when doctors are dropping Medicaid patients quicker than flies and Tan has yet to have a first appointment with this new physician. Though very nice, the physician didn’t hesitate to leave us with the parting message that arriving late for upcoming visits and tests was not tolerable. And there are many more tests and visits to come.

Tan’s abdomen ultrasound results yielded some unusual information that made the doctor question what the ultrasound images were showing. The dosage of one of Tan’s medicines, a medicine to control muscle spasms, also caused him concern as it is known for causing kidney failure–information that we only just learned about a few months ago. A visit with Tan’s neurologist will be in the works in the very near future to discuss that bit. Now, the urologist has ordered a test that uses high contrast resolutions and tracks the function of the kidneys, their input/output, and determines reasons for function loss, if there is any. These images will also help determine if there are kidney stones or fat deposits in his kidney, another potential result showing in the ultrasound that had Tan’s primary physician worried. This test can only be conducted at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola; the only hospital in the area to have the imaging equipment for the full test. So, what we’re looking at is several more trips to Pensacola in the immediate future.

Medical transport has proven in its first run not to be a viable source of transportation. We’ll have to look into methods of making the van Tan currently has safe for these next few trips, but it’s not a solution. The solution is this campaign; it’s purchasing a new van for conversion. Please continue to support, to share our campaign ( with your family, friends, coworkers, even your employers. Many companies support causes that their employees support, holding drives, fundraisers, or gift matching opportunities for those causes. Every little bit brings us closer to achieving our goal. Share. Donate. Advocate. Tan needs us all now.


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