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An Un-fee-sable Excuse

| Right | May 20, 2016

(I work in the billing department of a large mental health clinic with multiple locations. Many clients call in to dispute missed appointment fees that accrue when a client no calls and/or no shows. The mother of a client calls:)

Me: “[Clinic] Billing Dept. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Mom: “I need you to remove the fee on my son’s account. I was really confused about the appointment.”

Me: “Okay, let’s look into it. So, what was confusing about the appointment?”

Mom: “Well, I didn’t think he had to go.”

Me: “Why is that?”

Mom: “Well, nothing has changed since the last appointment. The meds aren’t doing anything.”

Me: “He was still scheduled for an appointment, and the doctor would want to know if there weren’t any changes, so she could adjust the medications or try a different course of action.”

Mom: *suddenly sounding angry* “But you didn’t even send his medications to the pharmacy!”

Me: “Wait, so he hasn’t been taking his medication since three months ago?!”

Mom: “NO! Your stupid doctor didn’t send over the prescription!”

Me: “Okay. I have to ask: did you call us to see if we could re-send the prescription?”

Mom: “Well, no.”

Me: “Let me make sure I’m understanding this correctly. You came in for the appointment, and your son was prescribed [Medication]. You went to the pharmacy, and they didn’t have the prescription. You didn’t call us to notify the doctor that he would be without meds. Your son hasn’t been on his meds now for three months. You didn’t think he needed to be seen because his behavior hasn’t changed. And you want me to remove the fee even though you knew that he had an appointment at that day and time?”

Mom: “Yes, exactly!” *calmer now that I understand*

Me: “Well. I’ll see what I can do. Meanwhile, I’m going to notify his doctor about the situation, and I want you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.”

(The call ended there. I looked, and we HAD sent the prescription, twice, both times confirmed by the pharmacy. At this point, I wasn’t even upset that she wanted the fee removed even though she knew about the appointment. I was angry that she had such blatant disregard for her eight-year-old’s health!)


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