Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When mistakes are not okay

I get generally annoyed at the lack of business management that seems to be the status quo at doctor's offices. I know whenever I call, no matter what time of day it is, I will be on hold for at least 10 minutes. And I am generally okay with waiting well past my appointment time to be seen.

But other things I am really not OK with. My original Dr's office in Arlington dropped my insurance at one point and never notified me. Even after scheduling and appointment and verifying that I still had that insurance when I checked in for my appointment, no one stopped to tell me that "Oh, BTW -- we don't accept your insurance anymore so unless you feel like paying a gazillion dollars out of pocket, it's time to find a new doctor" Because I know they don't NEED my business. It's the right thing to do to tell me so I can go find a health care provider in my plan. I found out the hard way when I started getting bills. I don't want to think of the hours I logged on the phone fighting that fight.

So I went off and found a new doctor who accepted my insurance. I admit that the long hours logged on the phone with the insurance company left me with zero energy to do a proper and thorough search for a new doctor outside of the variables of accepting my insurance and close proximity to my home/work. So I ended up at another office. Nice enough, conveniently located, no frills. I did not exactly take a shine to my new doc. While her name was Dr Jolley, she was anything but warm or friendly that you might think when you hear "jolly". She was gruff, apathetic and very disinterested. I didn't care enough at the time and just thought I could request a different doc next time. Like it was a restaurant and I wanted to be seated in another server's section. But try as I might, they kept forcing me to see Dr. Jolley.

The last visit to her was back in December and it went particularly badly. She scrutinized every single detail of my life and my health and at one point actually brought me to tears with her comments. Now, I know I am not downing wheatgrass shots every morning and running marathons, but I am far from being the next likely candidate for the Biggest Loser or on the brink of having a heart attack. I left the office really upset and remember sitting in my car while my good friend AB patiently explained to me that I needed to find a new doctor pronto.

But any time and energy I needed to find a new doctor was devoted to unscrewing the royal screw up from the office's admin staff who kept incorrectly billing my OLD health insurance. even though I had brought my new insurance carrier to their attention no less than NINE times during that visit. When I called to MAKE the appointment I pointed it out to them, just to verify that their accepted insurers list was still accurate and they accepted my new insurance. And over and over again during that December visit I kept giving them the new card, watching them make photocopies of it, clicking away at the computer. I stupidly assumed they were updating the info on my records. They could have been tending to their f*cking facebook Farmville bullsh*t for all I know. So then close to two months was spent back and forth fixing this situation and getting all of the insurance and billing nightmares squared away.

You would think I would know better than to go back. But unfortunately I had to make an appointment to follow up on a medical issue and there wasn't time to find someone new. SO I called last week, and held for 15 minutes before someone begrudgingly picked up the phone and acted like they were doing the world's biggest favor by scheduling me an appointment. Oddly enough, my non-jolly doctor was no longer practicing there. Might have been a good idea for them to let me know that in some sort of mailing, but whatevs. I was excited at the prospect of having a doctor who might not bring me to tears!

Since making that appointment, I have been averaging about 3 missed calls a day from them. No voicemail left, but I just figured it's one of those robo-call things reminding me of my appointment and some glitch doesn't let it leave the info on a voicemail message. But I had a weird dream about the doctor's last night so I took a moment and called them today.

Glad I did. I spoke with someone (after being on hold for only around 7 minutes) and explained that I just wanted to verify my appointment for tomorrow. She asked me all the necessary info and pulled up my file to proclaim "Yes, here you are tomorrow for your pre-op appointment, we'll see you then" Pre-op....what the? I explained she must have misread it or there was some other mistake because unless there was something they weren't telling me....I wasn't having any surgery any time soon. After a back and forth with this woman that almost escalated to a shouting match, she conceded to me and changed my appointment. That's right, I had to ARGUE with the office staff that I WAS NOT HAVING SURGERY.

So I will go tomorrow and hope for the best and then cut ties with this office once and for all. Here's to hoping there isn't a suprise surgery in store for me!

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