When It Comes To Animal Welfare, They’re Not Horsing Around

, , , | Healthy | March 14, 2019

(I am home alone on our farm one afternoon — my family is out on errands — and there is a knock on the door. When I open the door, a man is standing there and there’s an SPCA van in the driveway.)

SPCA: “Hello, miss. We’ve had a complaint put forth about your animal welfare.”

Me: “What?!”

SPCA: “That horse over there.”

(He pointed at a horse in the field that my mum had taken in from a neighbour who was going to send her to the glue factory — yup, that’s really a thing. She was clearly sickly and dying, but we were giving her the best life we could until she passed, something her previous owner had no intention of doing. It was a serious charge and took almost a week to clear up… and $200 to get the vet out and write a note that we were giving her all the care she needed.)

Copay And Say Over Again

, , , , | Healthy | March 14, 2019

(My insurance company has decided to stop covering one of my prescriptions for unknown reasons. I get a notice from them on a Friday afternoon, as well as an email from the pharmacy, that the prescription in question is due for a refill. Since it’s Friday at three pm, I figure I’ll just pay the cash price for it this month and call my insurance company next week. I click the link in the email to refill and go back to work. An hour later, I get a text update saying the prescription has been put on hold. I call my pharmacy.)

Me: “Hi. My name is [My Name], and I’m calling regarding my prescription I just sent for a refill.”

Rep #1: “Sure, I’ll look at that… Oh, it looks like your insurance won’t cover it for whatever reason.”

Me: “I know. I’ll just pay the cash price this month. How much will it be?”

Rep #1: *timidly* “[Amount].”

Me: “Okay, that’s fine. When can I pick it up?”

Rep #1: “You’re going to pay it?”

Me: “Well, sure. What other option do I have?”

Rep #1: “Oh… okay! I’ll finish it up for you. It should be ready in thirty minutes.”

Me: “Great. Thanks!”

(After I get out of work, I stop by the pharmacy. There’s a different rep behind the counter.)

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name], and I believe there’s one prescription ready for me.”

Rep #2: “Okay, I see that here. Hmm… looks like there’s a copay.”

Me: “I know.”

Rep #2: “There shouldn’t be.”

Me: “They already told me. [Amount], right?”

Rep #2: “Let me look into this.”

Me: “It’s okay. My insurance company screwed up. I’ll call them on Monday.”

Rep #2: “You shouldn’t have to pay for this. There’s never a copay on [prescription].”

Me: *slightly irritated that he just announced what I’m taking to the entire pharmacy* “It’s fine. Really. Can I just pay?”

Rep #2: “I can give you a discount.”

Me: “The copay’s not that bad. It’s been a long day and I’d really like to pay and go home.”

Rep #2: “If you’re sure… Okay, I’ll put it in. I’ll even throw on that discount. If you want to have a seat, I’ll holler when it’s ready.”

Me: “Uh… the lady I talked to earlier said it’d be ready by now.”

Rep #2: “No, we were waiting until you stopped in. It’ll only be about twenty minutes.”

(I’m extremely annoyed now, but I’m trying my best not to show it.)

Me: “Look, I’ll just come back tomorrow. No problem.”

Rep #2: “It’s only twenty minutes. Maybe less!”

(I wave and walk out. I drive back over the next day, where there is yet another rep behind the counter.)

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name], and there should be one ready for me.”

Rep #3: “Yes, it’s filled and ready to go. One minute while I grab it!”

(He grabs it and starts ringing me out.)

Rep #3: “Oh, um… I need to get the pharmacist. Something isn’t correct.”

Me: “If it’s the copay, I know about it! It’s not an issue!”

([Rep #3] disappears into the back. I throw up my hands in frustration. He comes back out a few minutes later.)

Rep #3: “There’s a copay on this. There shouldn’t be. We can look into this for you.”

Me: “LISTEN TO ME. You are the third person that I’ve explained this to. I know about the copay. It’s fine. My insurance company screwed up. All I want to do is pay and go home!”

Rep #3: “I apologize for the issue. I don’t know what happened with your insurance… Hold on. Did you say you are going to pay?!

Me: *through gritted teeth* “YES.”

Rep #3: “Oh. OH! Yes, I’d be happy to process that for you! No problem!”

(I can only imagine how many temper tantrums people have thrown over copays to prompt that reaction from THREE pharmacy techs!)

Death Is A Pre-Existing Condition

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 13, 2019

(I work for an insurance company. When people forget or lose their insurance cards, the doctor’s office often calls us to confirm if the insurance is up and running. I get one of these calls.)

Receptionist: “I am calling to confirm the insurance of a patient. It’s [Patient], born [date], living at [address].”

(I look up the data, double checking that I am really talking to a doctor’s office.)

Me: “Yeah, he was insured with us up to [date a few months in the past].”

Receptionist: “Well, do you know where he is insured now? He is sitting here, waiting for treatment.”

Me: “What do you mean, he is sitting there? According to my information, he died a few months ago.”

(Turns out, the doctor had two patients with the same name and birthday, and both were insured with us. And the receptionist called up the file just using that information. Only after we asked the patient for his address did we confirm that he was the other patient. I still wonder what went through his mind when the receptionist told him, “I have your insurance on the line; they say you’re dead.”)

Time To Take A Breather

, , , , | Healthy | March 13, 2019

(I am a medical assistant in a community health clinic, with a fully-stocked retail pharmacy on the premises. This patient uses our pharmacy and has been put on a strict refill schedule for his emergency inhalers due to extreme overuse. Normal use is a maximum of two of each per month. He had gone through nine of [Inhaler #1] in two months before the pharmacist contacted the doctor. The pharmacists have counseled him multiple times on proper use, and I’ve reached out multiple times to offer an appointment to address the root cause of his trouble breathing. He declines every time, claiming he needs his inhalers to breathe, that he’s going to have a coronary without them, and that we just want him to not be able to get enough oxygen. Every time I hear this rant, I note that it is extremely long-winded and that he can get through multiple run-on sentences without having to take a breath. His doctor has even called him personally to lay down the refill schedule and explain the cardiac-related consequences of continued overuse. I receive a voicemail from this patient, in which he goes on with another long-winded rant about how the doctor NEEDS to refill his medication. Because of a very well-documented refill schedule and the doctor’s notes that he will NOT refill early under any circumstance, as well as previous in-person discussions with this doctor about this patient, I don’t even need to ask the doctor to advise on the situation. I see that one [Inhaler #2] should be available for a refill, but [Inhaler #1] won’t be available for another week and a half; he’s literally filled it just a few days ago! I call the patient. This is part of the way into the call, and yes, he is yelling the entire time.)

Me: “With all due respect, the inhalers are only treating your symptoms. Continuing to use them at the rate you were doing so puts you at serious risk for a cardiac event, including a heart attack—“

Patient: “NOT GIVING ME MY INHALERS PUTS ME AT A RISK FOR A CORONARY BECAUSE I’M NOT GETTING ENOUGH OXYGEN. YOU PEOPLE JUST DON’T WANT ME TO BREATHE!”

Me: “Sir, we don’t want you to have a coronary, either, which is why we want to address the root cause of your condition.”

Patient: “NO. YOU STOP THERE. JUST TELL THE DOCTOR THAT HE NEEDS TO MAKE THE PHARMACIST FILL MY PRESCRIPTION! THEN THE PHARMACIST FILL BE REQUIRED TO FILL IT!”

Me: “[Doctor] can’t make the pharmacist do anything.”

Patient: “YES, HE CAN! ONCE HE WRITES THE PRESCRIPTION THE PHARMACIST IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO FILL IT!”

Me: “Sir, [Doctor] is a doctor; he is not a supervising pharmacist. He can only write the prescription. Pharmacies are allowed, by law, to question and even deny prescriptions at their own discretion for patient safety.”

Patient: “DON’T YOU INSULT MY INTELLIGENCE!”

(He didn’t get his inhaler refilled early. I later went down to the pharmacy and told the supervising pharmacist. He found it even funnier than I did!)

An Urgent Need For Details

, , , | Healthy | March 12, 2019

(In the UK, doctor appointments are generally booked in advance, although there are a few reserved for people who phone on the day for emergencies. The phone rings.)

Me: “Good morning, medical centre.”

Patient: “I’d like to make an appointment with a doctor, please.”

Me: “Okay, if it’s urgent, I can fit you in today, or if it’s not urgent I have an appointment in two days.”

Patient: “I don’t know if it’s urgent or not.”

Me: “Okay, well, if you give me a brief idea of what it’s concerning, I can help you decide.”

Patient: “It’s private. I’ll only discuss it with a doctor.”

Me: “Okay, fair enough. So, did you need an urgent appointment or can it wait a few days?”

Patient: “I’ve told you I don’t know if it’s urgent or not!”

Me: “As I’ve said, if you give me some idea of what it’s concerning—“

Patient: *interrupting* “It’s private! I’m not telling the receptionist!”

Me: “That’s fair enough but then I need you to tell me whether or not it’s urgent.”

Patient: “How many times?! I don’t know!”

Me: “Okay, I’ll give an example. If it’s just something like a sick note–”

Patient: *interrupting again getting increasingly angry* “I don’t need a sick note!”

Me: “It was just an example to help explain the difference between urgent and non-urgent appointments. If you don’t tell me which you need, I can’t book you in.”

Patient: “Well, how am I supposed to know if it’s urgent or not if you won’t tell me?!”

(They then hung up without ever having booked an appointment, or even given their name. I guess it wasn’t that urgent after all.)

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