As a person with a large medical team (six right now), a lot of time and careful planning goes into getting the medical stuff that I need while still having this wonderful thing people like to call “a life.”
Lately, I’ve been fed up with being scolded by medical office staff and emails from my pharmacy. Today I just need to vent.
Last year, all of my medical visits hit at the same time and I was completely overwhelmed by everything. Because of that and our insurance all of my visits needed to be spaced out. I looked at the state of my health and decided to push my annual exam back a couple of months. When I scheduled my appointment, I let the nurse know that I would run out of my current prescription a couple of weeks before my appointment. She assured me that would be fine and to just call their refill line and explain that I need an additional month to hold to my appointment. I thanked her and that was that… Until yesterday.
Yesterday, I got a voice mail from Debbie in my doctor’s office. I’m definitely paraphrasing but it said something like: We got a call from your pharmacy requesting a refill on your prescription. You haven’t been seen since February so we can’t refill your prescription unless you make an appointment. You need to call our office and make an appointment.
The message would have been fine if a few things were different: 1. If her tone were pleasant or at least not so freaking rude. 2. If she had checked to see my appointment on the books for May. 3. If she had left the office number instead of making me look it up.
Since it’s a maintenance medication, I have it set through the mail order pharmacy to auto refill every three months. That way I don’t run out. What I didn’t know, is that after they refill the last time, the pharmacy will automatically notify the doctor and ask for a refill. I wasn’t happy with her message so I called the office back and told the lady on the phone about my message and let her know that I was worried my appointment had been cancelled because Debbie called and told me I needed to make one. She assured me I was still on the schedule. A few hours later, the pharmacy called to confirm shipping for my extra month.
The email I got confirming my order felt scolding as well. Apparently, it doesn’t make sense to the pharmacy that my doctor has my home address, but I have medication shipped to me at work. The email said that I need to make sure that my provider has my current address. Who would want their medication sitting on a porch all day while they’re at work? Not me.
I’m not a moron who can’t keep my schedule or living situation straight, I don’t deserve phone calls and emails that feel like they’re scolding me.
The sad thing is, the scoldings are few and far between, but they make me dread answering my phone when I know it’s a medical call. Normally the people I work with are pleasant and try to be helpful.
I’d like to excuse people like Debbie by saying that they must be having a bad day. But the reality is, even if they are having a bad day, it isn’t a good reason to scold people. Even if I’m having a really, really, really bad day and I need to call a client (patients are clients you know), I can’t and won’t be anything but pleasant with them. Clients end relationships over unpleasant communications and I know patients who have changed practices due to bad office staff.
Would you ever switch away from a doctor you like because their office staff is bad?