Monday, August 30, 2010

healthcare and customer service in the same sentence. psyyyyyych.

I'm fuming right now, so what better time to write a blog post about something that has been irking me for a long time?  I've been particularly irked since I got pregnant in 2009 and began the prenatal care routine, which included about a million doctor visits.

Is it just me, or is the healthcare industry the only one in which it is okay:

1.  For your client to wait for hours with no explanation as to what is taking so damn long (apparently our time is not as valuable as the doctor's)....and then when you finally do see them, they spend about 3 minutes with you

2.  For your service provider to be a total jerk and say rude things to make you feel stupid or silly

3.  For your service provider to make you feel like a jerk if you hint about getting a second opinion (not that you could do that anyway, because insurance sure wouldn't pay for it)

4. To send you complicated statements with secret magical codes stating you must pay an astronomical amount of money for something you don't even understand (and p.s.... do it in the next 3 days or the next statement will have lots of stuff in red)

5. To charge your client for insurance, but then make them pay all but $4 on a $108 prescription (what a value! Thanks!)

6. For hospitals to charge 4x the retail cost for EVERYTHING (example:  Theo's Soothie pacifier was $8.75 on  the detailed bill...they are 2 for $4 at Babies R Us.)

7.  To insist that you have a procedure, product, etc. that isn't really necessary and have no clue how much it will cost

Where's the customer service?  Really...what other industry can get away with this?  And we just take it because, well, we have to.

I'm not ragging on doctors or nurses.  You can find jerks anywhere you go.  Some mechanics are jerks.  Some waitresses are jerks.  The difference, though, is that if your car still doesn't run right or your food takes too long, you get an explanation... a discount... an apology... and then they make it right.  To be fair, I think a good part of the problem is out of any individual doctor's hands. The industry is just not set up for customer service.

That doesn't make it any less frustrating.



  1. With everything that I went through while pregnant and after Coop was born, I learned a lot of valuable lessons. When it comes to the health and well being of you and your are the BOSS. You do not have to agree and go along with everything your Dr says. Most people do because they feel the Dr has the final say, but not so. I learned to ask a lot of questions, what is it, what is it for, why is it needed, is this covered by my insurance, what's my out-of-pocket cost?

    As far as the statements, the codes are ICD-9, HCPCS or CPT codes. You can google the code and get an explination. I go over my EOB and statements to make sure they are accurate.

    A lot of insurance policies do cover a 2nd opinion, have you looked at your policy? We got 3 different opinions for a dental problem Coop is having and our BCBS pd for all 3.

    I agree that customer service has gone down the toilet in the health care industry and insurance is a racket. I have been rounds with my Dr's office over the phone and in person and the same with my insurance company. I don't forsee a change anytime soon.

  2. Don't forget, if you are late, you may be asked to reschedule and/or changed a fee! The main reason I hear it takes so long is that they double and triple book appointments.. I know that doctors are even late for the day sometimes. and the patients are the ones that end up suffering. Have you ever been shown the appt. screen and asked which slot is best for you?