Thursday, April 24, 2008

Incompetence in the Medical Profession: A Rant

When it comes to dealing with medical office workers, I am nothing if not patient (no pun intended!) and kind. After all, I used to have their job, and I know how bad a day can be when patients yell at you for things that you can't fix. I've noticed lately, though, that my kindness seems to be resulting in my getting the worst possible service from these individuals. For instance, yesterday the optician's office called to tell me that Gabe's replacement lenses were ready. He gets one free replacement per year on our insurance, and being a small boy, he always needs it. I was told over the phone that I could come by today and pick them up. I told the person on the phone that I could bring Gabe in after school, and I asked if I needed an appointment. She told me that I didn't, and that I could just drop in after school and they'd "pop the new lenses in his glasses". Yeah.

Today I went there after school. I should mention that this place is ALL the way across town from us. I use them because, with Gabe's wonky prescription, it's important to go somewhere that really knows how to fit kids. They also take our insurance, and our next door to our pediatric ophthalmologist. I walked in and told the receptionist we were there to pick up new lenses. She asked our name and went to the back to have a whispered conversation with someone. Then she came back and asked if I would like to drop them off and pick them up tomorrow afternoon. NO, I WOULDN'T. You see, he's nearly blind without these glasses and will need them to see between now and then. Then some asshat comes out of the back office to try to sell me a second pair of glasses, for situations like this!!! At this point, I'm trying hard to keep my composure and be polite. I patiently explained that our insurance covers one pair per year, that by the end of the year, the prescription has changed or the glasses are too worn out to keep as a back-up, and that I don't have $400+ to spend because they are stupid and incompetent. Ok, I left out the stupid and incompetent part. And then I left without the new lenses, after being told that they would be ready in two hours if I'd care to wait. I did give the receptionist a message for management, after assuring her that I know none of this is her fault. I told her to be sure someone in charge knows that I don't appreciate how bad the service is when they're not making any money off of us, and that the thousands of dollars they make off of my family each year should be enough to insure some decent service, if that's how it works.

All this has caused me to come up with a brilliant plan. Here it is: I'm going to start billing these people for my wasted time! For instance, in this case, I spent an hour commuting to and from the place, and probably spent $10 in gas at today's prices. So, my studio charges $25/hour for my services as a Pilates instructor, therefore, they owe me $35! Now, let's calculate who else owes me...

Dean McGee Eye Institute, because of the five or so hours I spent on the phone, preauthorizing an electoretinagram for my son when you were too stupid to figure it out, and for the ten or more hours I spent on the phone, fixing your billing mistakes even after the insurance company patiently explained to you three times how the procedure should be billed, you owe me $375. Let's make it an even $400 for the rude collections letter you sent me when I refused to pay you for something the insurance had already paid.

Dr. Cyrus, you owe me...well, I'm guessing at least $1,500. This is for the endless hours I've spent sitting and waiting for you to come see my sick kids, often two hours of waiting per appointment, for numerous phone calls I had to make when your stupid nurses didn't refill my child's colic medications, for having to drive to your office twice to have labs redone when you wrote the orders wrong (and yes, I'm charging you extra for my son's blood, which you had to draw twice), and a special bonus for the nurse that told me I'd just have to drive my son to Baylor, since they're the only lab in the country that could do the genetics test we needed to determine his type of albanism.

There, I feel much better. Now I can go back to being nice and polite to the people at our various doctors' offices. I assure you I'm not a homicidal maniac, and you're not going to see me on the news tonight. I also realize they won't pay these bills. But it will do me a lot of good to send them!

1 comment:

Eryn said...

Good on you! You are more patient than I; I can't believe what you've put up with.