Tuesday, December 15

Automatic Billing

I have to scan this. Until I get around to that (cough cough) you'll have to imagine the official letterhead that came in the mail with this cheery sentiment from the allergist's office:


If I didn't love the doctor so much, I'd be sorely tempted to send them a check for $0.00...

Tuesday, November 3

I'm baaaaaack!

It's been awhile. Perhaps you noticed and wondered, Have the planets finally aligned? Has Meg's life been filled with considerate concierges, talented tellers, and rockin' representatives? Or maybe your internal monologue isn't quite so alliterate, but the sentiment was still there?

Alas, not quite. Since I disappeared off the face of the blogosphere* I have been in the midst of divorce proceedings, single-mothering two kids, and gone back to school to so I can become a nursey. My little one, aka the Banzai Bonsai, is also a medical puzzle and keeps me on my toes. So, blogs and peesticks took a backseat. (And, pathetically, it turns out peesticks aren't so much fun when you ain't gettin' any.)

*I am so cool.

I also ditched CVS pharmacy and haven't driven through Wendy's in months, which has considerably improved my customer service situation.

But wait! There is good news! For you. I had a craptastic customer disservice day. Of the "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!" variety. And hey, things are finally moving forward in such a way I'm ready to get back online. So, here we go.

8 weeks ago, Bonzai Bonsai, formerly known as Peestick Baby (now 3 years old, whoa!), saw her GI doc. He ordered a particular test. Centralized Scheduling told me they were "waiting for insurance authorization" when I called to check on the status of the appointment after a few weeks.

I had to cancel the follow-up GI appt., because the test had not yet been done. I talked to our GI nurse, who again checked on the status for us. She was told it was STILL waiting for insurance authorization (6 weeks after it was ordered.)

Since the insurance company is actually good and NEVER gives us trouble like this, I called them. And it turns out that . . .
not only did Children's never even call them in the first place, but it DOESN'T EVEN REQUIRE PRIOR AUTHORIZATION.

So then I'm hold with Children's. Centralized Scheduling told me she didn't deal with authorizations. (1. How does that make sense? and 2. IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE I DON'T NEED AN AUTHORIZATION.) But she put me on hold and talked to Sandy, who referred me to Kit. They can't find the doctor's order at all. I happen to HAVE A COPY, so I know it exists. Oh, okay--- you know, "sometimes the orders get scanned into ChartMax and they forget to tell us." How wonderfully efficient of them.

Then after all that, the scheduling lady finally said, "Oh, and we can't schedule an upper GI series with small bowel follow-through. We can only schedule a regular upper GI series. You have to talk to Radiology for that."

So, to summarize:

1. My kid has waited 8 weeks for a test to be scheduled because they "needed insurance authorization."

2. That was a lie. They never called my insurance.

3. If they had bothered to call my insurance, they would have learned they didn't need to bother calling my insurance.

4. If they had bothered trying to schedule it instead of outright lying, they would have realized they couldn't find the order.

5. If they had bothered trying to schedule it instead of outright lying, they would have realized their department was not capable of scheduling it in the first place, and sent me to the right department.

Now maybe you'll sympathize with why I have been absent. AHHHHHHH!!!!


Thursday, March 13

BD: Big Duh?

My basal thermometer wandered off.

Actually I'm pretty sure it was assisted by my 19-month-old. But she's not telling, and neither is her sidekick the pink elephant.

However, I am sick of the rigid basal thermometer that I've been using since 2001. I'd really prefer a flex-tip (makes temping while half-asleep easier, as I tend to lack jaw control at that hour.)

I'd heard from many sources that the BD fever thermometers are as sensitive as the basal thermometers. But I'd never actually confirmed that, so I called up their technical support line (cue the laughter.)

I spoke with a very nice gentleman who was, at the very least, aware that his company sold basal thermometers. One point for BD. But then I asked the really tough question: what is the technical difference between the two?

Well, he said, the basal thermometers are more sensitive than the fever thermometers.

The basal thermometers are accurate within .1° of a degree, right?

Yes, he said. (He knew off the top of his head! Two points for BD.)

And is the fever thermometer accurate within, what, .2°?

No, he replied, the fever thermometer are accurate within .1°.

So . . . doesn't that mean they're equally sensitive?

No, he replied. Minus ten for BD.

But if they're both sensitive to within .1°, aren't they the same?

No, he said. The basal thermometers are used for something different than fevers.

Yeah, I've been using the BD basal thermometer for over 7 years. I know how they work. But usually fever thermometers are calibrated with a larger margin of error; the BD fever thermometers are a superior product (flattery can't hurt) and are sensitive within .1° just like the basal thermometers.

At this point, he asked to place me on hold. Oh sure, why the heck not.

After several minutes, he came back and informed me that the basal thermometers come packaged with charts and a free trial of charting software. Obviously the most crucial difference between the two!

Thanks for your help, I said. So, just to recap: the basal thermometers are accurate within .1°?

Yes, they are.

And the fever thermometers are accurate with .1°?

Yes. But-the-basal-thermometers-are-more-sensitive.

Got it. Thanks so much for your help!

*click* *blink blink*

You can feel free to repeat my experiment by dialing BD thermometer support at 1-800-511-9223. And now I'm off to buy my flex-tip BD fever thermometer.

Sunday, November 11

Meg's All-In-One Holiday Rant & Gift Guide

Apparently I missed the memo that said the biggest shopping day of the year is now the day after Halloween. But somewhere between the diapers and the doctor appointments, they changed the rules on me, and Christmas got bumped up another 4 weeks. I suppose I should have smelled a rat when the Halloween decor at Kohl's was marked 70% off by October 15.

But I digress.

This year, in the interest of bettering customer service for all, I am providing (free!) tips to all retailers and retail employees to improve the travesty that is November/December shopping. (You're on your own for the New Year's sales.)

Tip #1: Can the Music
It's such a fine line, catering to a diverse customer base: those who may be shopping for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Atheist Kids Get Presents Day*, Winter Solstice, or who simply lacked the foresight to hibernate between October 12th and December 26th. However, I think I speak for the overwhelming majority of shoppers, regardless of faith tradition, when I say that absolutely anything by Alvin & the Chipmunks is against our religion.

*I love Dave Barry.

Tip #2: Take Five Minutes To Train The Seasonal Employees
The holiday season is rich in tradition. The origins of some of these traditions are often steeped in folklore or lost entirely. My dad invites us all to take turns punching the (NB: defrosted) turkey before it's placed in the oven. Retailers have the similarly mystifying ritual of hiring 291 new employees, slapping hand-written name tags on their shirts, and placing them in strategic locations around the store so they are available to answer questions with a deer-in-headlights gaze and monotone, "Uh, I dunno."

In defense of the neophytes, it's not entirely their fault. You don't learn the inventory of the unmentionables department by osmosis. On the other hand, having worked retail myself, I say from experience it's simply not that hard to say: "Let me find out for you!" Having watched my mother spend five minutes explaining the concept of "cuff links" to an employee at the jewelry counter, I'd have to say that many retail employees aren't doing their part, either.

Tip #3: Less Is More
I am not a physics whiz, but I do know that the available space on a clothing rack is finite. For some reason, too many retailers fail to share this trade secret with their employees. Consequently, I routinely find myself engaged in battle with a hanger wedged too tightly among its fellows. The tag gets tangled on other tags. The hanger is stuck. Just as it starts to give, the plastic hanger breaks. The purse falls off my shoulder during the struggle. The clothing item falls halfway down and is lost in the abyss. As I reach into the mass of synthetic fiber to retrieve it, seven other hangers pop off the rack at my feet. (This is why women use the buddy system to go shopping. We must shout "Cover me!" as we dive into the fray.)

Tip #4: Lose the Endcaps
Remember those dumb analogy questions on the SAT? Despite what I said then, apparently I will use those in real life. To wit:

Spring:bunny rabbits::Christmas:endcaps

I can imagine the thought process now: "How best can we serve our customers this year? I know! Let's stack an inordinate amount of crap in the aisles so nobody can move!" Eureka, indeed.

Bah humbug.

Sunday, October 14


They outdid themselves.

On Thursday, the baby had a kidney scan. As soon as it was over, I strapped her in the stroller and headed from Radiology to Medical Records (getting lost in the bowels of the hospital approximately thirty-seven times, but I digress.)

The nice lady handed me a HIPAA release form. I filled it out, checked it, double-checked it. Then I handed her the form and asked her to triple-check it for me, to avoid any delays like the last time. She did, confirmed it was filled out completely and properly, and signed her own name to the "Witness" line.

On Saturday, an ominous-looking envelope arrived in the mail from the hospital. Inside was a letter explaining that my request for records could not be processed because NO DATES OF SERVICE REQUESTED.

They returned my original release form. I immediately found the spot on the form for "Dates of Service." And you know what? 10/11/07 is written in that spot plain as day.

Frakking morons.