So I guess you’re dying to hear the follow-up from last week’s medical adventure. It’s not real exciting and worse yet, it’s entirely predictable.
About 24 hours after I leave my message, I call back and tell the telephone-answerer (TA) I need to speak to the nurse who never calls me back. TA tell me that the nurse can’t come to the phone now (in such a way that I understand she NEVER comes to the phone) but perhaps she can help? So I tell her in an increasingly irritating tone of voice the tale in progress.
She checks the records, and sees that the nurse has entered a response to my inquiry which she reads me — if I don’t want to pay for the uncovered prescription, there is an over-the-counter alternative I can buy instead. (It sounds vaguely familiar: I think back in the day we used to drink it to get high before school.)
So I ask a series of follow-up questions:
- When did the nurse enter this data?
- Why did the nurse not inform the patient?
- Had I not called just now, how would I find out about this?
- Why, if the procedure is for ME to call YOU, did you not tell me yesterday when I left a message as instructed?
- And finally, does the TA think this is good patient care and customer service?
Best she could do is say that it looks to her that the nurse entered this into the record less than an hour ago, and maybe “hadn’t gotten around” to calling. So you see what the priority is — cover your ass by taking care of the record, not providing medical care to a pesky patient coughing her lungs into crusty mucous. I berate her a bit along these lines, and to her credit she doesn’t tell me to fork off and even says she “can understand” how waiting 24 hours for the answer to a simple question might be upsetting.
I tell her how I expect exactly all this bullshit to happen, which is why I didn’t wait for a call I know isn’t coming and bought the original prescription yesterday. She’s rather silent at this point.
I suggest she let me speak directly to the doctor. It’s his business, his practice, and maybe he’d like to speak to one of his customers/patients about how unsatisfied that patient is with customer service by his office staff. She says he isn’t available, either. I tell her I am not surprised, but it really doesn’t matter because all that man is good for is apologizing, anyway. She says, a bit indignantly, he’s damn good at apologizing — that’s his specialty, thank you very much.
That’s it, fans. Guido and I are now looking for a different primary care provider. One who has a different specialty.