Of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S, every year, six to eight are born with a birth injury – as reported by the National Healthcare Quality Report. The most common birth injuries include Erb’s Palsy, bone fractures, intracranial hemorrhage, spinal cord injuries and cerebral palsy. Some of these conditions (including cerebral palsy and spinal injury) can involve complex needs that require integrated support from seasoned professionals. Parents who receive a diagnosis may wonder where to start. Fortunately, there are many organizations aimed at providing the information and support that you need to create a well-planned strategy for your child.
Getting A Clear Picture Of Your Child’s Condition
Before taking any further steps, your child’s doctor will most probably undertake a series of tests which can include a CT scan, MRI, EEG, genetic testing, and/or metabolic testing. A diagnosis of CP usually takes place during the first or second year after birth, though this may take longer if symptoms are subtle. You can have a free evaluation by visiting the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA). If your child is aged three or older, contact your local public school system or board of education and request an evaluation.
Getting Legal Matters Sorted
If a birth injury has occurred because of medical malpractice, then you may have been advised to embark on a cerebral palsy lawsuit. Some firms offer their services on a contingency basis – meaning you will only need to pay them if and when compensation is obtained. Legal matters will undoubtedly be the last thing on your mind when you first receive a diagnosis, but receiving the compensation your child is entitled to will play an important role in ensuring they receive the long-term care they need. States have different statutes of limitations, though most require that cases be filed within two years from the time the disorder manifests itself.
Choosing The Right Health Insurance
Choosing the right insurance plan will help reduce the financial burden on your family. Speaking to an insurance coordinator or benefits administrator is key since there are quite a few options – including private insurance, indemnity insurance and managed care insurance (in terms of private insurance). Non-private insurance options include Medicaid (for low-income families) and Children’s Health Insurance Programs. However, many benefits are not covered by insurance. These include long-term care, alternative medicine (e.g. acupuncture) and therapy (physical, speech, vision, occupation and recreational therapy).
Further Financial Support
There are other types of financial support you should look into – including birth injury grants (offered by non-profit organizations), the federal program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Medicare will also cover some home care, doctor visits and prescription medication. Medicaid, meanwhile, covers services such as psychological services, treatment programs, medications and communication devices. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can ensure your child is following a sound nutritional plan. You might also look into Home Modification Assistance, which helps families reduce the barriers that a person with disabilities might experience at home.
When your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it is important to find out the cause and extent of the injury so you can plan your child’s future. From finding a good lawyer to receiving advice on insurance, the plans you make now can determine your child’s well-being in the long-term. As you meet other parents and talk to your medical and legal team, you will find out all your options and discover sources of support that will be vital for many years to come.