February 19, 2010

February 19, 2010
Benefits Hell

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Friday and we have almost made it to another weekend. I hope you have had a safe and great weekend.

With most of the country still dealing with snow and freezing temperatures, it is even chilly here in southern Florida. While our conditions are not nearly as bad as most of the country, the locals would make you think conditions are as bad because the temperatures at night are in the 40s where are rare for this part of the country. But luckily, we are having a warming trend starting tomorrow and temperatures will soon be back to the high 50s at night and 70s and 80s during the daytime. I feel sorry for any tourist who came this past week thinking they would be escaping to beach weather.

I had to be up early this morning to meet with my new case manager at Broward House. His name is Jean Alexandre. Of course as with any AIDS Service Organization, there is a two tons of paperwork to fill out and sign. Then we discussed the services I am needing which are Ryan White for medication co-pays, AIDS Insurance Continuation Program (AICP), food bank, transportation, vision, dental and HOPWA.

Today, I discovered the difference between Duval and Broward Counties. See each county does Ryan White funding and programs differently. I have several appointments after different organizations (NOVA, Department of Health, Chiq, AICP etc) to get access to all the different benefits. In Duval County, it is much easier and is basically ran through two organizations (NFAN and LSS) who are both very helpful to the clients.

I was in contact with Beth Parker of NFAN since I will need to transfer my AICP down here since I will be here for at least a year. With the AICP program, the administrator has to see you in person at least twice a year and with all I am going through I could not guarantee I would be able to make it up to see her. So she is helping me get transferred on my services for AICP down here. Beth is also a close friend who I think the world of and miss terribly.

So far I have not heard much about any support groups, monthly luncheons or seminars from people with HIV and AIDS here in Broward county. In North Florida, NFAN does the monthly luncheons and through my support groups and a couple of pharmaceutical companies, like Pfizer and Tibotec, we had information seminars with info on a regular basis.

The only plus I have seen down here so far is the dental is better. In North Florida, they only offer xrays, cleanings, fillings and extractions. Here the dental coverage seem to include almost everything as long as it is medically necessary. And with all the many things I am needing done which would cost thousands and thousands of dollars otherwise, I will take advantage of that program while I am here.

I will also have to make an appointment with the Department of Health to renew my Ryan White eligibility through the Department of Health by May 9, 2010 when my current eligibility ends. Unfortunately, all of these offices are miles and miles from where I live in Wilton Manors and I do not know how to get around in this city yet.

But all in all, I am just trying to keep my stress and anxiety levels down as much as possible. The last thing I need is another stroke. God forbid.

So I am very tired from all the antibiotics I am currently taken so going to head to bed. But wanted to get today's blog done and fill you in one what is going on in my life. Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab