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She Needs All Kinds Of Therapy

, , , , | Right | April 17, 2021

I am working as a receptionist at a physical therapy practice. We have multiple therapists working for us and one physical therapy assistant.

Patient: “I want to make an appointment with [Therapist #1], and I need it as soon as possible.”

Me: “Okay, you’re in luck, as she takes your insurance and she just had a cancellation, so she’s available tomorrow afternoon.”

Patient: “Good! The doctor says I need to have physical therapy twice a week for the next three months, so I need to get started right now.”

Me: “I do just want to let you know that, while [Therapist #1] is available tomorrow, she is going on leave starting on Monday and will be out for three weeks. Are you comfortable seeing her for your initial appointment, and then her assistant while she’s away?”

Patient: “You don’t understand. I need to see someone. I don’t care who it is. Just get me in!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, I understand. I’ll schedule you with [Therapist #1] for your first appointment and [Therapy Assistant] for your followups. We’ll see you tomorrow!”

The therapy assistant has an obviously male name. I make the appointment and hang up, thinking all is well. The next day, the patient arrives for her appointment, meets with [Therapist #1], and seems to be pleased.

Therapist #1: “So, as our receptionist told you, I’m going away on my honeymoon for a few weeks, so we’re going to schedule your followups with [Therapy Assistant]. Is that okay?”

Patient: “Absolutely, that’s fine!”

I book her for three more appointments. I print out a reminder sheet that clearly lists [Therapy Assistant]’s name. I have literally confirmed with her five times who her appointment is scheduled with. 

The patient shows up to her next appointment and proceeds to look around, getting more annoyed. 

Me: “Ma’am, do you need help? [Therapy Assistant] will be ready for you in a minute; he’s just finishing up with his last patient.”

Patient: “No, no. I’m here to see [Therapist #1].”

I develop a distinct sensation of impending doom. 

Me: “Actually, you’re seeing [Therapy Assistant] today. Remember, [Therapist #1] is out of town? We confirmed this with you last time.”

[Therapy Assistant] comes out to greet the patient, and she looks like some has just taken a dump on her cornflakes. 

Patient: “This is unacceptable. I told you not to schedule me with a man! I cannot work with a man!”

Me: “I’m sorry, you actually never specified that. We did confirm who the appointment would be with, and you never had a problem with it before.”

Patient: “I would never have made an appointment with a man! That’s filthy and improper!”

Me: “All right, then… Well, I don’t know what to tell you. You were informed that [Therapist #1] would be out for three weeks and that the only other option covered by your insurance was to see [Therapy Assistant]. Do you want to just cancel your appointments until she gets back?”

Patient: “Absolutely not! I’m supposed to have therapy twice a week for three weeks! I can’t miss it!”

Me: “I don’t—”

Patient: “You need to call her and tell her to come back!”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Patient: “She needs to come back now so I can have my appointments!”

Me: “Ma’am, [Therapist #1] is not going to leave her honeymoon to come treat you. She is literally in another country.”

Patient: “This is terrible customer service! You just let your therapists leave on vacation when they have patients scheduled? I’m taking this to the better business bureau. You’ve just lost a customer!”

We just stared after her as she stalked out. Later, she left a review online saying we had “fraudulent practices” and had “lied to her face.” I guess she thought [Therapist #1], who had her honeymoon booked out almost a year in advance, was just going to come back for her specially?

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