I know doctors are overworked by insurance companies and have to cut corners wherever they can, but why is it that they seem to hire the most incompetent administrators and staff imaginable?
When Bonnie used to work for U.S. Healthcare (a lifetime ago, literally, before Emmeline was born), she’d have to field calls from doctor’s offices all day long, explaining why claims were rejected — inevitably, it involved paperwork errors on their parts. Incorrect codes, forms not filled out right, etc. The intervening years haven’t gotten any better on that account, despite the proliferation of medical information systems, it seems — we regularly get explanation of benefit statements rejecting claims from doctor’s offices because they’ve filled out the forms incorrectly or used the wrong codes.
Of course, the doctor’s office’s first line of defense is to bill us, instead, and I sincerely wonder how often people pay these nuisance claims just to be rid of them.
But another practical example involved my doctor today — I stopped into the pharmacy almost a week ago to get some pills I was shorted by my regular mail-order pharmacy, and they faxed my doctor’s office. The doctor’s office still hasn’t taken care of it.
When I called, I had to navigate this voice mail tree, then I had to listen to this rambling, obnoxious message informing me that this was for refills only and that if I needed to reschedule an appointment or have a referral, I’d need to call back and press the appropriate number because those messages would be deleted off of this voicemail.
Does the person answering this line not have the ability to just forward those messages off to the responsible party? Seems kinda rude to me. But then again, their office is in high demand — one of the doctors isn’t accepting new patients, and the two others are only accepting patients from select insurance companies — so maybe they figure they really don’t have to go the extra mile for patient service.
My friend told me about going to her doctor earlier this week to have a chronic neckache examined. They gave her a disclaimer after the examination instructing her that if she did not follow their guidance for physical therapy to the letter, they reserved the right — in essence — to fire her as a patient. I guess in that case it’s all about reducing malpractice liability. Still, for her, that was the last straw.
“I’m just going to find someone else and tell them to send my files over,” she said.
I suppose I should just be happy I have insurance and a doctor at all.