Jacob gets his first haircut

Well, the time has come for Jacob to have his locks sheared off.  Kristen said on Saturday morning that she finally agreed his hair was too unruly and it was time to get it cut.  We talked about where to go and when, but never really took it any further.  Then Kristen took Jacob over to visit with Aunt Jamie today, and I guess they passed a place in Burlingame that specializes in kids haircuts.  So they popped in and he got his first cut.  I wasn’t there and for that I’m a little sad.  But there are pictures so that helps.

I’ve also included a few other pictures from the last week:

Jacob gets his first haircut, while sitting on Kristen’s lap.


The finished product – looking sharp!  Aunt Jamie walks with him in Burlingame.
Sammy tries on some cool new shoes.
Pool time for Jake.
Jacob proves he can rock the speedo with the best of ’em.  He has his trusty rake and hoe too.

Stander Sammy

Sammy decided to do some more standing on Sunday.  This was his longest stretch in the stander by far.  Usually he can go about 1-2 minutes before he gets uncomfortable.  For this session, he was upright for almost 15 minutes.  The video shows about half of that.

Nice job Sammy!

Sammy Stands!

Happy Easter everyone.  The Mazza boys are having a great time in their 16th month.  Yesterday they celebrated their Aunt Jamie’s birthday.  Today they went to see the Easter Bunny for the first time, and today Sammy got to stand for the first time, using some fancy technology.

The San RAmon Valley Unified School District provides various therapy and development programs for Sammy on a weekly basis.  Today his Physical Therapist, Dawn, came over and helped Sammy get into this contraption that looks a lot like a hospital gurney.  But once he’s strapped in, we can tilt him up and voila – Sammy can stand.  This is great progress for him as he continues to build strength in his body.  It’s important he gets the feeling of being upright on a regular basis, so I’m excited to see him do more of this.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures below!

Sammy’s cool stander is helping him see the world differently.  He seems to like it!
Can you tell the boys are excited to meet the Easter Bunny?  These are their Easter outfits that Kristen bought.  And no, Sammy’s left foot isn’t broken.  His shoe is just turned around!
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Aunt Jamie turned…uh… 29 on Wednesday.  The boys helped her celebrate.

Sammy’s Next Sleep Study


Sammy and Kristen are in Walnut Creek tonight at one of John Muir’s facilities doing another sleep study.  This is where they’ll put lots of wires and sensors on him to checkout how he sleeps, how his breathing works, etc.  The photo shown above is only about half-way through all the probes and sensors he has to wear.

The best case scenario is that the doctors find that Samuel doesn’t need any oxygen anymore and he sleeps perfect.  We expect they’re going to say he doesn’t need the oxygen, but likely will have some sort of sleep apnea.  I think he’ll have to do another sleep study soon to be fitted for a CPAP machine.

He did one of these sleep studies a few months ago.  I went to that one with him down at one of Stanford’s facilities in Mountain View, and it didn’t seem like he slept all that well.  They showed he didn’t really need any more oxygen at night, but he did have lots of pauses in breathing during the night.  This is known as Apnea.  So we’ve kept him on oxygen at night.  this is why he has those rosy-red cheeks.  We take the stickers off each morning that keeps his oxygen connected to his face at night.

We expect to get these results in about two weeks.  We go to see Dr. Newaskar, his pulmonary doc, again on March 23rd, so hopefully the results will be back by then.

If I get another picture from Kristen I’ll post it.  Kristen reports he’s really happy right now and very talkative to the nurse hooking him up.  Good boy!

Anthem Helicopter Appeal – Update

Anthem Helicopter Appeal – Update

If you’ve been following our journey through insurance claims associated with the boys, most of them have been handled quite fairly.  But there was one (and now a second one that I’ll cover separately) that was handled quite unfairly.  This was for Samuel’s helicopter transfer from John Muir Walnut Creek to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in April, 2017.

Today I received a phone call that said there was “new information” related to the appeal, and it’s been re-evaluated and approved.  This was for more than $34,000!


(Insert magic harp music with water-drop dissolve to go back in time)

Samuel was transferred from John Muir to Lucile Packard on April 5, 2016 after his respiratory activity was rapidly deteriorating.  The doctors at John Muir couldn’t figure out what was going on, and the respiratory specialists that were needed just weren’t on-staff.  The closest hospital that had these people was in Palo Alto – a 50-mile drive from our house.  So after conferring with doctors and nurses at John Muir, who conferred with their colleagues at Lucile Packard, the decision was made to transfer Samuel quickly.

The doctors at Lucile Packard thought the situation was dire enough that they sent their air ambulance to get him, and he made the ~20-minute flight across the Bay.  He was immediately intubated upon arrival, sedated and quarantined.  It was later determined he was very sick.

He looks all puffed up from the IV. He has the ventilator down his throat, and many of the other tubes and wires are into his PICC line, or a central line used for drawing blood, giving medicine and feeding him.

When the medical claim was filed, Anthem, on behalf of my prior company, determined that the transfer was for a genetics evaluation and not anything urgent, and therefore they denied the claim.  We went through three levels of appeal, providing more than 30-pages of medical information, notes from NICU Medical Directors at both hospitals, and other materials, only to have all the appeals rejected.  All found the same thing:  his transfer was for a genetics evaluation.

Doctors at John Muir said in their statement that they never would have asked to transfer Samuel for a genetics evaluation, and the doctors at Lucile Packard also stated they never would have approved the transfer.  Doctors just don’t transfer patients for genetics evaluations.  Yes, he needed a genetics evaluation, but it was never a factor in his transfer, and was the furthest thing from our mind.

After all the appeals, it went to an “independent third party reviewer” – selected by Anthem, of course.  Surprise, they found in favor of Anthem for the exact same reason!

A few weeks ago I sent a note to the benefits leader at my former company, asking him to personally review the case and the notes.  My claim is that Anthem and the third party failed to consider all the facts, and never did proper due diligence.  They never called the doctors involved, despite my insistence they do so, and never took steps to clarify things.

I got a note back saying that Anthem’s work was done properly and they weren’t further reviewing this.  I made one more reply to them asking them to take action, or my next stop was the CEO.  I have a draft note already completed.  I’ve also been working behind the scenes with a TV station in the Bay Area about this, and they’ve been drilling Anthem on this as well.

(Insert magic harp music with water-drop dissolve to come back to present day)

This morning, Anthem called and said they received new information, and now the claim was re-evaluated and the rejection was overturned.  I’m to get a new Explanation of Benefits (EOB) and we should see this be paid in full by Anthem.

I’ve asked what the new information was, but they’re going to need to research this and get back to me.  Perhaps I should let this go, but I’m really curious what made the difference.  I don’t think there was any new information.  I think they finally looked at everything that was submitted after the benefits department at AECOM forced them to.  I hope this is what happened, and I can say “thank you” to them.

I won’t count my chickens on this until I receive paperwork showing it’s paid and behind us.  And then we can focus on the last appeal – for another ambulance ride for Sammy to return to Walnut Creek from Oakland following his surgery last February on the day Charlie died.  The insurance company paid 50% of the $18,036 bill.  So now we’ll work to get the final part of this paid and behind us.

In closing, if you have an insurance claim that’s legit, don’t let the insurance companies get away with screwing you over.  I knew our claim was legitimate, and persistence in trying to do the right thing seems to have paid off.