Long Term Mental Health Issues Due to COVID-19
Imagine being a nurse in a critical care or ICU unit over the last 90 days. You spend long hours caring for people who are critically sick with a new illness, many of whom will die. There are no proven treatments, vaccines, or cures, so all you are able to do is offer the very best care you can and help the patients try to recover. Some of your fellow medical professionals might get sick and die themselves, some have committed suicide. You have to wear a mask, a face shield, gloves and change your protective garments after each ventilated patient. Sometimes you have to deal with mass shortages of items that are necessary to protect your own life.
Doctors, nurses, first-responders and just about everyone who works in a hospital nationwide may have had these exact horrific experiences. When hospitals begin opening up to non-COVID patients, there is a good chance these doctors, nurses, surgeons, nurse practitioners and those medically involved are going to battle PTSD, depression and all kinds of debilitating long term mental health issues.
There are experts who believe the mental health impact of the COVID-19 outbreak will have a ripple effect throughout society with business owners, people who are quarantined and others suffering from mental illness for all they have been through for years to come.
With medical workers on the front lines of this battle, the challenge of being able to cope with the daily grind of a pandemic illness and death without any letup is confounding. Any doctor or nurse understands the fragility of life, but when the United States alone loses 70,000 people and counting with no sure way to end this illness, it can cause serious and sustained mental trauma.
For many of these workers, their ability to do their occupation will be diminished both in the short and the long term, because every time they enter a hospital and see someone cough, every time they know someone may die, every time they put on their scrubs they may be forced to relive this deadly pandemic. In these instances, where a person’s work is impacted by a health-related issue, they may look into making a claim on their individual or employer sponsored group disability insurance.
Short- and long-term policies generally cover total and partial disability claims for mental illness. Unfortunately, making a mental nervous disability claim can be a complex process, and with tens of thousands of healthcare workers impacted by the coronavirus in one way or another, insurance companies will be buried with claims in a relatively short period of time.
When making a claim, it is important to be very careful to meet policy and proof of loss time frames. Proper documentation, doctor visits and more are all required to meet your policy’s requirement you be under the most appropriate care for your mental disorder. Frequency of therapy or psychiatry appointments, mental nervous psychotropic medications, and a comprehensive summary of your sadness, fatigue, loss of energy, decreased focus and concentration, disrupted sleep patterns, lack of enjoyment, loss of appetite and/or suicidal thoughts or a plan need to be documented. However, even when claims are made according to the insurance company’s guidelines, that is no guarantee that the claim will be accepted. Many are rejected which triggers an appeals process. For mental health issues, insurance companies may make the insured jump through various hoops with frequent delays and multiple denials.
In this instance, when a long-term disability insurance company refuses to honor its policy, it will be necessary to get the help of a skilled disability insurance attorney like Frank N. Darras who understands the process and who has been handling thousands of these claims for decades.