Guest Post: Waiting in Pain

After my most recent physical, my GP scheduled an appointment with a local Rheumatologist.   As with any healthcare specialist, it takes forever to get an appointment; mine took 45 days.

Prior to my visit, I was sent a new patient packet of information to fill out that I was to bring with me on the day of my scheduled appointment.  It was suggested to arrive 15 minutes early for the appointment to allow for check-in.  My appointment was scheduled for 12:15 but because I was so scattered, I thought it was for noon so I arrived at 11:20.

Upon my arrival, I was told that the computers were down so they would have to enter all of my information by hand. How this affected my appointment escaped me, so I simply replied, “OK.” They thanked me for arriving early then dismissed me to the waiting area.

At 12:40, I still had not been called back so I proceeded to go back up to the check-in to ask how much longer I would have to wait.  The attendant at the desk was busy with another patient so I waited in line while another patient got in line behind me.  The attendant behind the desk looked at me and blurted out, “Check-out is down the hall.” I told her that I was not checking out and that I had a question to which she replied, “What is it?” This while she still had someone in her chair checking in.  Since she put me on the spot, I proceeded to tell her that my appointment was scheduled for 12:15 and it was now 12:40 and I had been there since 11:20. She replied with a snide attitude that their computers were down.  After waiting for another 5 minutes with no one responding, I went back to the waiting room.

At 1:05, I still had not been called back. Now I was angry . I went back to the check-in and asked to speak with someone to find out how much longer I was going to have to wait to be seen.  Another in-take person sat at the computer next to the rude girl from earlier.  I told her that their missed appointment policy that was so clearly posted on her computer indicated that a missed appointment or late arrival would be charged $25.00,  so since I had been waiting almost an hour for my appointment, was I able to charge them $25.00?   She excused herself and came back with an office manager who asked me to step down the hallway to a more private location.  Again, I was told that the computers were down,  so I replied that he was the third person to tell me this and asked how exactly was this my problem?  He explained that the doctor had to enter everything by hand so it was pushing back the appointments. I told him that his front office staff should have explained this at check-in and asked if I wanted to reschedule the appointment.  He asked me to take a seat and he would find out how much longer I would have to wait.  Now all eyes in the waiting room were on me because I was the only person making an issue out of the long wait.

He came back and told me that I would need to wait another 15 minutes and did I want to reschedule.  I explained that it took me a month and a half to get this appointment and that I had already been there 2 hours so, no, I did not want to reschedule.

I finally get in to see the doctor but it was actually the Nurse Practitioner.  She immediately apologized for the miscommunication and the rudeness of the front office staff.  She assured me that my appointment or care would not be rushed or suffer due to their being behind.  She took ownership of the issue and instantly disarmed me.  She did not make any excuses for their tardiness and even went so far as to say the computer situation should not have had any bearing on them being behind.  She took a bad situation and corrected it with finesse and grace.

I was fully prepared to write a scathing review on the Doctor’s Google review but because of the Nurse practitioner’s professionalism;  I did not.

The following story was written by Diane K.   If you have a story that you’d like to share, please feel free to submit your story by clicking on this link and filling out the necessary information.

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