Pre-Op Chop Chop

| Working | December 21, 2013

(I need to schedule a pre-operative physical exam with my primary care physician (PCP). Since she books up quickly, I call three months ahead of time to make the appointment.)

Me: “Hi. This is [My Name]. I need to schedule an appointment in September with my PCP for a pre-operative physical.”

Receptionist: “Okay. How about 4 pm on September 9th?”

Me: “This is a pre-op physical exam, and those take a while. 4 pm seems awfully late in the day to get everything done.”

Receptionist: *frosty* “I REALIZE that! That will be plenty of time. Do you want the appointment or not?”

Me: “Sure. That’s fine. 4 pm on September 9th with my PCP for a pre-op physical.”

(Two weeks later, I am talking to the surgeon’s scheduler and going through the checklist with her. My surgeon and my primary care physician are in the same network. Anyone in the network can see all my appointments with any network provider.)

Scheduler: “Now, what about your pre-op physical? When were you going to schedule that?”

Me: “Oh, I did that already. I’m set up with my PCP for September 9th.”

Scheduler: “I see that appointment. But, they’ve just got it described as a follow-up. They don’t have enough time blocked for all the pre-op testing.”

Me: *sighs* “Okay. I’ll call them back and explain it again.”

(I call the clinic back again.)

Me: “Hi. This is [My Name]. I’m calling about my appointment on September 9th. The surgeon’s scheduler says you don’t have that appointment described as a pre-op physical. She also says you don’t have enough time set aside for all the tests.”

Receptionist: “Well, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I clearly shows that this is a pre-op physical. There will be PLENTY of time.”

Me: “Are you sure? I know a pre-op physical includes lab work, EKG, x-ray—”

Receptionist: “I SAID, there is plenty of time. Do you still want this appointment or shall I cancel it?”

Me: “I’ll keep the appointment. Thank you.”

(Two and a half months later, it is the day of my appointment. I am at work. My phone rings.)

Receptionist: “This is [Receptionist] from the clinic! I’m calling about your appointment today!”

Me: “Yes. I got the reminder call yesterday. I will be there.”

Receptionist: “Did you realize this is a pre-op physical?!”

Me: “Um, yes. That’s what I told you when I made the appointment three months ago, and what I told you when I called back about it two and a half months ago.”

Receptionist: “But that’s not enough time for a pre-op physical!”

Me: “I know that. I told you that when I made the appointment three months ago. I told you again two and a half months ago.”

Receptionist: “We have to do blood work! And urinalysis! And a chest x-ray! And an EKG! There’ll never be enough time to do all that and still see the doctor!”

Me: “Yes. Exactly as I told you repeatedly several months ago.”

Receptionist: “Can you come in earlier than your appointment so we can get all that done? Can you be here by 3:30?”

Me: “Yes. I can get there 30 minutes early.”

Receptionist: “Oh, good! But you know, if you ever need a pre-op physical like this again, you really need to tell us when you make the appointment. We can’t always move the schedule around at the last minute like this, to accommodate you.”

Me: “Um. Yeah. Right. I’ll try to remember that.”

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