Member Update: Good News for Athletes

December 10th, 2018

If you are a parent of an athlete, you know that injuries are inevitable. Hopefully, most of them are minor and only require rest, but some injuries can cause significant damage and cost a fortune after it's all said and done, let's not forget that it can take months to heal which keeps your athlete off the field. For a junior high school baseball player interested in pursuing a spot on a college team, any amount of time off the field could be detrimental to his athletic career, and that was the concern of Tom B. when his son fractured his foot in P.E. class this November. Tom reached out to us to explain how thankful he was that they were able to find the care Tommy needed in time for him to heal before baseball season starts.

Here's what Tom had to say.

How did Tommy's injury occur?

"Tommy landed awkwardly on his foot in a P.E. class, he heard a “pop," and it immediately began to swell. He was taken to the nurse's office at school, and I picked him up there about 20 minutes later. His foot was extraordinarily swollen, and he was in a good deal of pain. We immediately went to one of the local emergency clinics, FastMed, here in Phoenix. We are familiar with the doctor on-call there, as he is one of the sports med specialists at my son's high school. Convenient, to say the least. Tommy has seen this Doctor for other issues, and he was able to order an x-ray and diagnose the break inside of 1 hour."

How were you able to find the care Tommy needed so quickly?

"The Doctor told us that there are 3 or 4 well-known foot/ankle sports med orthopedists in the greater Phoenix area. He gave me the names of them, and I started researching and calling as soon as we came home. By the way, this injury happened on Friday, 11/9. After calling around, I was able to schedule an appointment with an orthopedist for Tuesday, 11/13 - remarkable. The specialist agreed with the original diagnosis and stated that surgery was by far the best way to go, for him to heal correctly and be able to compete by February. The operation was scheduled that same Friday, 11/16.

Now, the key part was to align the surgeon, care facility, and insurance to make all of this happen in 3 days. That’s when I called Liberty and spoke with Leah about the sense of urgency, and she was extraordinarily kind and asked that all communication go specifically through her fax machine, as not to incur any delays. I then connected the surgeon’s office and the facility’s office to Leah, and we received the approval and go-ahead on Thursday morning. Absolutely unreal how quickly we were able to gain approval and do the surgery.

By the way, the surgery was successful, and all the milestones so far point to Tommy being ready by the February start of the season, as long as things continue to progress at this rate."

What would you tell other parents who have athletes if they are on the fence about joining Liberty HealthShare?

"My goodness, I can’t imagine being at the mercy of an insurance company, specific in-network doctors, and specified protocols. I love the fact that we can go anywhere and find the best providers for the situation. Secondly, the Liberty employees are friendly and really do care.

As a side note, this is Tommy’s 5th surgery in 18 months, and Liberty has been there for all of them. Two on the right elbow, two on the left knee, and now this one on the right foot. Yes, we should make him wear a bubble wrap suit for now!

In all seriousness, one story, in particular, stands out to me, and it was on Tommy’s first elbow surgery in 2017. We had just joined Liberty, as a matter of fact, and Tommy was pitching in a ballgame, and his right elbow went “pop” after throwing a pitch. He was in extraordinary pain. It turns out, he had broken the elbow at the growth plate and needed to have it surgically repaired. Being new to Liberty, I didn’t know what to do, so I called and spoke with Amy Frank, the Provider Relations Manager. I’ll never forget this as her first question was “How is your son? Is he going to be OK?” The compassion was remarkable. She honestly cared about my son’s well-being first, and I still tear up thinking about that. I knew I was talking to the right person and the right organization."

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Tom. We hope that Tommy has a successful baseball season and that he is injury free!

Being able to choose your provider gives you the freedom you need to make your own health care decisions when it really counts. If you are interested in learning more about Liberty or wish to speak with a representative, call us at 855-585-4237.