After initially being told that UC Davis was the nearest medical center for a stem cell transplant, the plan changed 10 days ago to UCLA. Early last week, however, my insurance company told me that UCLA was not one of its “centers of excellence” and that therefore my benefits would not cover me to go there for treatment. Rather, the insurance company had approved it as a place to go for a second opinion. I asked them if they were requiring me to get a second opinion; they said no. My wife and I talked with our doctor about whether it was still a good idea to go to UCLA and get evaluated. “Not if you’re not going to get treated there,” she replied. This is because, wherever I get treated I will be getting evaluated and, in essence, receiving a second opinion. “Going to UCLA will just waste time.”
I requested to the insurance company that we just get going with the transplant and that they connect me to a hospital where they will cover the cost of treatment. That place is at the University of Arizona’s research hospital in Tucson, known as Banner University Medical Center. I have a consultation with a doctor there on Friday morning. I’m looking forward to Friday because my understanding and hope is that we’ll come out of it with a treatment plan. That may include things that I have to do before transplant (perhaps a particular drug regimen), or he may decide to kickstart the transplant process. Until we have a treatment plan, there is no search for a possible donor.