Another truly irritating fact in dealing with health care is everyone talking, having their own opinions, while nobody seems to be listening to what anyone else is saying. Is anybody truly listening?
Take for instance the case of my family member -- They scheduled an appointment to discuss with the Doctor that they were finally willing to have the recommended surgery form the previous year. The request came with another hopeful scheduling request, so that a visiting family member could be there to help out during recovery. The response to that request wasn't met with to much enthusiasm. Stating that 2-3 weeks was impossible! Now the most ironic thing is that the appointment took almost 5 weeks to schedule, which would have given them sufficient time to perform all pre-operation tests, plus the operation. Here is where the rubber and road meet to no effect. Now the next step as required by the doctor, is to have an MRI scheduled and done before any thought of surgery could be considered. So, paperwork was sent to the insurance company for authorization. It was processed and approved by May 18th; sent to the patient on May 22nd; and received by the patient on May 26th. With the holiday weekend looming, the patient waited until the following week to call for an appointment. When they did call the approved testing facility, they were told it could not be scheduled as they had not received the instructions from the Primary Care Physician's office.
After six (6) phone calls to five (5) different people: the doctor's assistant, the referral dept. clerk, the scheduling clerk (all at the PCP's office) and the MRI scheduling clerk and office manager (at the MRI facility), I was only able to leave six (6) separate messages regarding this situation. This is a typical problem where someone dropped the ball in doing their paperwork, creating a log-jam for everyone else. But the real travesty is when you're trying to get it corrected or dealt with, and they don't listen.
Trying to find the right person, department, and/or the right placed to call for help seems daunting. But, help is out there, it just takes a lot of working the phones, asking questions, and not giving up!
In the particular case described, the representatives from the Doctor's office, instead of listening to what the problem actually is, quickly take offense toward the patient and them pointing out that they haven't done their job properly. I personally don't care whose right, wrong or purple -- just fix the problem, please! Additionally, the MRI facility could have just as easily made the appointment and called the PCP's office for the needed information, themselves. Not only were they not listening, they were stating very clearly that is was not their job. How petty we've become when dealing with health care.
The simple truth is there isn't enough time to get your point across when you're at the doctor's office, and when you're not, you can't get anyone to talk to you. Most questions and problems could be very easily dealt with if the parties involved would just check their personalities and insecurities at the door. Most people don't try to point out other's faults. It's impolite and ill mannered. The majority of us don't care enough to correct a stranger, so why should we care to point out anything? The truth is they just want to get from point A to point B with as little problem as possible. Unfortunately, the insurance company and Doctor's groups say the PCP has to be involved along every step of the way. So, until they say it's OK for you to go to point B, you're stuck waiting at point A.
So, what to do? Keep calling. Keep talking. Keep trying to get your point across to the Doctor's staff. Eventually you'll get somewhere. Even if it just because they're tired of hearing from you. In any case, in my particular situation, the log became very quickly unjammed when I suggested to the MRI scheduling clerk that they try to contact the PCP, as I obviously was not getting any results from my attempts to get the situation corrected. (There is more than one way to skin a cat..) Within 20 minutes, I not only had an appointment scheduled, but scheduled for the following day! Plus receiving a phone call from the Doctor/PCP's office to verify that all was well and taken care of.
It's just that simple. All it takes is one person to listen to the problem and react with proper action, to make all the problems disappear! Just think how much simpler our lives would be if everyone stopped long enough to listen to the problem at hand and just fix it!
My mission although I didn't sign up for, is to endure all those crazy incidents you hear about from friends and coworkers. You know, those ones about the person who spent 15 hours in the waiting room at some hospital emergency ward. Or, even better, the one where this person sold health care policies only to find themself fighting for their life with the healthcare company just months before had been singing their praises. How's that for irony. Well, we all know the sob stories. I'll try to keep those to a minimum, and only when absolutely necessary for a point, but this is about all those crazy inconveniences that the healthcare industry as a whole puts the average person though on a daily, no hourly, basis, without thought, care or much consideration whatsoever. It's shameful. Why is my time and effort worth so little, especially when I'm paying you to provide a service to me. Why then is it necessary to fight tooth and nail just to get what I paid for? Is anybody listening? Well I certainly am listening, and screaming at the top of my lungs to anyone who'll listen to me. We need a grass roots campaign started like yesterday. We need someone whose on our side of the argument for once. Help out with your own stories and comments. Or, just try to keep me from going to far up on my soapbox. I truly hope I can help someone, open people's eyes to the craziness, and maybe make some small change in how heathcare treats us!