Imagine having a newborn in the NICU, unable to spend every waking moment possible with your child. It's the reality for one Lincoln couple, now stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare trying to change it.
It's a heartbreaking sight for any parent; chords, feeding tubes and IV's all attached to newborn baby, Julius Frack. Julius is being treated in Denver and has been there for more than 100-days.
"Put yourself in our shoes, see how you would feel as a parent with your child being seven hours away," mother, Jennifer Frack, said.
It all started December 30th, 2012. James and Jennifer Frack were in Sydney, Neb., visiting family, when Jennifer began to have complications. She was immediately life-flighted to a Denver hospital.
"We didn't have days or hours, we had minutes to get in for an emergency C-section," Jennifer said.
Julius James Frack was born 14-weeks early, weighing just 1-pound, 6-ounces.
"He fit in the palm of my hand," David said. "He had translucent skin, you could see right through him. He didn't really look much like a baby at all."
Needing to get back to work, the couple came home to Lincoln. Julius stayed in the Denver hospital NICU.
Since then, they've been making the 500-mile trek back and forth every other weekend to see their baby boy.
Recently, David and Jennifer were told Julius was safe to transport back to Lincoln, the baby now weighing more than seven pounds. But, it had to be by helicopter to a Lincoln hospital NICU. Anything on the road was too dangerous.
The couple was overjoyed, that is, until insurance got in the way. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska said it wouldn't cover the estimated $25,000 transportation cost.
"It's frustration, anger, why wouldn't you send him?" David questioned.
"What's the big deal, when we're told, since he's a NICU baby, he'd be more than a $1 million baby when everything is said and done," Jennifer said.
We reached out to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, who issued us this statement via E-mail. This is Chief Medical Officer, David Filipi's response:
"In general, when our nurse and physician reviewers look at cases such as this, the decision to cover a service is based on whether a 'medical necessity' exists."
The Fracks are appealing the decision, but that could take more than 30 days.
"Two steps forward, one step back, constantly" David said.
The family is racking up thousands of dollars in medical and travel expenses. If you'd like to help, you can donate through a Facebook page they set up in Julius' name.