I spent 20 minutes today dealing with a scheduling clerk trying to get set up for a PET scan which was prescribed by Dr. Hema. When his nurse told me that I should be called to set an appointment within 48 hours, she gave me the name and telephone number of the scheduling clerk, suggesting that the clerk was sometimes unresponsive. I expressed my shock, since these cases often involve life and death.
As I suspected, more than 48 hours went by and I had not been contacted. i called the clerk and she acted as if I was an alien from Mars! She seemed to know nothing about me or my PET scan. She took my name and telephone number and promised to call me back. When she did, she announced that they have eight centers; I asked to be referred to the one closest to my home. After getting considerable way through the process, she stopped and explained to me, in great detail, that only two centers do PET scans. I stopped her and said that we were not getting anywhere discussing which center does not do PET scans and let's discuss one that does. She took time to explain why she explained! Finally, I coaxed an appointment out of her.
I wonder how many patients get sicker or die because the system is broken and because it takes a vigilant and aggressive guy like me to get things done. Maybe I should shrug my shoulders and say, "That's just the way it goes." However, I am angered when patients with very serious illnesses just fall between the cracks because the people who are supposed to make things happen...don't.
Why do these people still have jobs?