Medications that help but what it takes to get them Part 2 of 2

08 Apr

Some problems that are happening inside our healthcare system are due to poorly trained personnel or poor communication.  It is essential to fill the prescriptions that help in the recovery process or ongoing health of oneself.  What happens if you are unable to get the information or answers you need to fill your prescriptions?

Example #3

I was helping another nurse seek treatment after seven brain surgeries.  December 2012 she contemplated whether she should keep her social security disability drug plan or keep it simple and use only Veterans plan since the cost of these plans have recently escalated.  She served six years in the United States Air Force.

On the last appointment in December the receptionist said “I handle VA and it’s no problem”.  With this conversation she based her decision to drop social security disability drug plan because it wouldn’t conflict with any other issues at this physicians office.


SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY They are suppose to help not hurt (Photo credit: live w mcs)

Since this receptionist went on maternity leave the new office staff refused to help.  They said they don’t deal with the VA system. I wonder if the information given in December by the initial receptionist was correct.  Maybe this office never handled claims into the VA system.

If that were the case, she based her decision on erroneous information … and the patient will always be to blame!  I’m sure an additional $100 or more a month to keep social security disability prescription plan is far cheaper than the cost of full payment of prescriptions!

This nurse practitioner called repeatedly.  That’s what a nurse does whether they are a patient or a nurse.  They know they must make these calls.  VA also called the physicians office.  They need to approve her medications.  No one responses to the calls.

She is paying over $1200.00 per month by refinancing her home/loans for her prescriptions.  How can you receive treatment with an income of $1200.00 per month, but you made every attempt to do the right thing with Social Security Disability Prescription Drug Plan and VA System?

These are general comments found in healthcare. If you are assertive and contact physicians offices they may ignore you. Are they ignoring the behavior of TBI or chronic illness patients?  Ignoring patients? Are they ignoring the patient because they believe one is being demanding?  Are they threatened by the education and questioning as well as the patient’s persistent?

When you are trying to be healthy and follow through with doctor’s orders you need what has been prescribed.   This is a damned if you do, and damned it you don’t!  If you don’t get your prescriptions or follow-through with doctor’s orders you are labeled as noncompliance!

Based upon false information this patient is paying out-of-pocket approximately $1200.00 per month.

Unfortunately, the $100.00 she attempted to save and based her decision upon the conversation she had with the receptionist December 2012 has been costly!  She has become the problem patient and demanding when in reality she is trying to get the treatment she’s entitled to.  This is common in nearly every discipline of medicine.  Some problems with staff overlap with the patient’s treatment plans.

Isn’t it important to know both sides of the story.  TBI and chronic illness patients have to deal with setbacks all the time.  Struggles are common.  Everyone would rather have the office and patient problems resolved.  Is this a problem that physicians and office staff are bombarded with paperwork, insurance, telephone calls, etc?

Example #4 

At my appointment receptionist asked if I would be coming in on the following Monday.  I answered “No I didn’t need the appointment. Please cancel that appointment.”

On Friday while standing in another physicians office at the receptionist desk I received a telephone call.  I was asked about attending the appointment on Monday and if I needed my appointment.  I knew we already went over this at least 3 times on Monday when my spouse was with me.

Example #5

I asked “what pharmacy can I purchase …..?”  She told me to go to Costco it’s the lowest price.  I told her we went to Costco and they don’t carry it and won’t order it.  We went to Walgreen’s and they won’t order.

Receptionist Replaced

Receptionist Replaced (Photo credit: Micah68)

I did agree that Costco is excellent and best prices with pharmacy but I needed to have some direction where to obtain the prescription.  The receptionist didn’t answer and put me on hold.  When she came back she replied “try all the pharmacies until you find one that will order it”.  

Putting me on hold was just buying her time to figure out how to answer my question.  Unfortunately she didn’t come back with a good response.  I was saddened that she just wasn’t truthful and would have been better if she just answered “I don’t know and no one is in the office to ask.”  This type of response is normal and acceptable to nearly everyone.

I was stunned or even shocked at such an immature response.  Why didn’t she just say, “I don’t know the answer but I will find out and get back to you. If you find something in the meantime let me know so I will have that information for future use.”

Both comments above would be acceptable.  Maybe the training was not adequate for this receptionist.  I’ve witnessed many situations with receptionists in all sorts of healthcare facilities and offices that were inappropriate with many other patients.

My spouse’s reply to this was, “Forget the F***ing medication, I’m NOT having the test.  I’m not running around all over the place.”  Most patients have no tolerance to this type of runaround and my spouse has NO patience for this and will just say “forget it”.  It’s easy to become noncompliance in the healthcare system!

Example #5

My son was leaving a physicians office and needed to make a follow-up appointment.  When he stopped at the desk the receptionist told him he needed to call in for the appointment.

He was standing right there and said, “Sorry I’m not telephoning back in the office”.  He proceeded to be assertive stating, “You need to just make my appointment now.”  Without further problems the appointment was scheduled.

Don’t you begin to wonder why she didn’t simply make the appointment?  I was happy to see  he stood his grounds.  He’s heard enough horror stories of healthcare appointments and offices.  I do know he’s learned something over the years, but the saga goes on with inexperienced or improperly trained receptionists!

These are just examples of how frustrating it is to be a patient.  There is always two sides to every story.

Physicians only hear their receptionists comments, they don’t know what is happening to the patients and this is compromising patients health throughout the healthcare system.

What types of responses have you gotten that only frustrated your situation?

**********All material presented on Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation (BISR) is copyright and cannot be, copied, reproduced, or distributed in any way without the express, written consent of Edith E. Flickinger, BSN RN. 



Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: