GALVESTON, Texas – A Baton Rouge deputy shot and nearly killed in the line of duty may be forced to leave his rehabilitation center by his insurance company.
Nick Tullier, 41, moved his left arm, mostly by himself, 15 times during rehab Wednesday. However, those praying for his full recovery worry about his next step.
“He’s really worried about the bill,” said James Tullier, Nick’s father. “His worry ought to be daily, what can I do today to help my body recover?”
Last July, a gunman killed three police officers during an ambush in Baton Rouge. Tullier survived despite being shot in the head, shoulder and abdomen. His father said doctors initially gave Tullier 24 hours to live. Then, therapists at Houston’s TIRR Memorial Herman rehabilitation hospital took over. Tullier got strong, but not as fast as some people wanted, according to family.
Two weeks ago, Tullier’s insurance company had him moved into a less pricey spot in Galveston. His parents moved into an RV resort nearby because they lost their home in a flood. The Tulliers said he is supposed to be there at least six months.
“Within the week we get a call from insurance, 'Oh, Nick has reached his goals now, and y’all need to move him into outpatient,'” James Tullier said. “We’re going to stop paying for him to be in any facility. Well, we wanted to know who came up with this list of goals.”
“When you leave rehab, you have to go to a house,” Mary Tullier said. “We lost ours, so we’re scurrying around trying to find something.”
“We feel like it’s the almighty dollar that came into play,” James Tullier said.
KHOU 11 News called HealthSCOPE, the company in charge of paying Tullier’s claims. On the phone, a spokesman said they are not an insurance company and cannot speak specifically on Tullier’s case. However, they shifted blame to a third-party medical management group called American Health Holding. On Thursday, a HealthSCOPE spokesman told KHOU 11 News responsibility lies the Hines and Associates company, which contracts with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and that American Health Holding is not involved.
“They’re pointing the finger at each other and we’re caught in the middle,” James Tullier said. “They are trying to cut costs.”
The Tulliers said their son has another week before he has to move when all he really wants to do is learn to move on his own.
“That’s what ought to be on our minds,” James Tullier said. “But we’re not. We’re having every day to deal with this insurance issue.”
They will soon have a new, handicapped-accessible house. It is a gift from Sheri Cortez and her husband, Ronny, a Houston police officer who himself survived being shot in the line of duty.