Thursday, June 01, 2006

Truly Crazy To Be A Patient!

This has been another one of those crazy medical office mishap kind of weeks. The kind we read about and commiserate with each other about. I figured I'd send this on to you, so you could scratch your head along with me...

I went to my internist last Friday to give a urine culture. It normally takes 3 days, but due to Memorial Day, it would be Tuesday before I had results. The doc apologized for this, but said to be sure to call in that day to find out what is going on. And she gave me a plan of what to do if it was positive (she gave me a script) and if it was negative (to call a urologist about possible Interstitial Cystitis).

I called Tuesday and they said the doc wasn't in. I said I realize she only works Wed-Fri, but she told me to call in and get my results (her other associates cover for her). They said that was impossible-to call back the next day. I said she said to call in, and they said it was too bad, I would have to wait until Wednesday.

But then just an hour later, they called and left word on my answering machine that the culture was inconclusive, and I needed to come in for another culture. They told me to call their office to set it up.

I called the office, and they said they had no record that I was to call in, and that I must have gotten confused, and it was the lab upstairs who called me. No, I listened to the machine again, and it was definitely the doc's office. But they told me I must have had it wrong.

I called the lab, and they said they had no such orders. I called my doc's office back and got voice mail, and said I needed to set up the culture. They called me back and said all I needed to do was come in, go upstairs to the lab, and they would have my orders.

So, Wed. morning I went to the lab, and they said they had no such order. I told them I had limited time due to another appointment and could I just leave a sample for a culture, and we would straighten it out later. They said the doc's office NEVER sends up orders, that I must pick it up downstairs. They let me leave a sample, and then go downstairs to get it. Keep in mind, that I would now have to wait until Monday for results, due to the weekend, so I went from possibly having a simple UTI to waiting for results 11 days from start to finish.

I went downstairs to get the order, and they searched three different piles of orders and couldn't find my order. They said I would need to take a seat and they would call someone to find out what was going on. I told them I had no time to sit down, and could they please, when they found the order that I was told the day before was already called up to the lab, could they walk it up themselves, or fax it up, because I had no time to deal with it, or I'd be late for my physical therapy.

I got home from therapy, and there was a message on my machine. The doc was now in the office, had read my previous test, and said there is no significant bacteria, so I needed to call the urologist if I was still having symptoms. Does this mean it jumped from "inconclusive" to "negative" or what? And why did they call me to have me come back in, if I didn't need to? Frustrating!

So, I called the urologist. I set up to come in for an appointment. The last question, after being on with them for ten minutes, was what insurance I had. I told them I had Humana. They said they didn't accept Humana. I explained that I knew they were out of network, but I would just pay the out of network price. She said, no, you don't understand. We refuse to see patients who have Humana.

So, I'm back to square one after all this run-around.

It is truly crazy being a patient, isn't it?

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