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Please tell me, why does there have to be so much conflicting information between healthcare professionals? Here’s my example of the moment....

  1. Visit my doctor and primary care physician (PCP) who tells me I need to go see a rhumatologist. She has to put in a referral first and says that I should call her if I don’t get something in the mail by friday (4-26). When I do get the mail, I’ll call the number inside it to make an appointment
  2. Friday morning when I pick up my mail, the referral letter was there. I forgot of course to deal with it friday afternoon because I was working on my css article and then went out with Megan. In the letter it says to call and make an appointment with the rhumatologist by calling the Vancouver Clinic (different office than my PCP and not even a dr. on my insurance plan.)
  3. I called first thing when I got home today @12:39. The girl who answered sounded very unprofessional and said that everyone was gone and to call back after 1:30. How odd that they wouldn’t have someone there to make appointments during lunch?
  4. I call, and they transfer me to the Rhumatology office. I explain that I have a referral and needed to make an appointment. The lady says that she doesn’t have any paperwork on this yet (hmmm, mine’s dated 4-23, how could it have not gotten to her yet?!). She says that the PCP needs to make the appointment anyhow. How silly is that when I’m the one who knows my schedule. I explain to her that my PCP AND the letter both said I’d be calling her, and she went off about how she’d been there 2 1/2 years and she knows that the letter isn’t right.
  5. I call my PCPs office, where they send me through a 10 minute button pressing fiasco before talking to a real live person. The nurse I talked to first said it sounded weird and transfered me on to someone to leave a message for my PCP. Which means explaining one more time the whole deal.
  6. So now i’m waiting for my PCP or her office to figure it out, and I’m sure I’ll not be here when she calls and then have to go through a whole nother phone call fiasco before finding out how to place the appointment.

Total Time today: 40 minutes on the phone. Goodness.


One thing you get used to real fast when you get sick often is that no one can ever take an appointment when it is convenient for you to make an appointment. Phone calls to medical offices are always sent to answering services from about noon to 2:00 pm. The reason you can get through at all is that someone might have an emergency.

Don'tcha just love that? I think they’re secretly hoping you’ll get well in between the time you call and finally get someone who knows what they’re doing...

I used to work for a doctor’s office - when we forwarded the phones to the answering service. They couldn’t take appointments for us - and half the time they sounded clueless... I bet you went through the same thing today!

On an interesting note: In my bloglet, I get my full posts for all of my Sunday entries - but just the first sentence or two of yours. Isn’t that odd? We must be set up differently... (I get full posts for Lynda of So Very Posh too.)

its so crazy that they wouldn’t have people manning the phone lines during lunch - people who work should need to make appointments then, right? Durh. But yeah, maybe you are right, Robyn; Oh look, I miraculously got better!!! ;)

my doctors office is the same way. For two hours at lunch the phones are directed to a voicemail. It is very annoying, but I suppose they need a break too...

From experience working in a doctors office, this is what we did: the dr. would say you need the referral. the nurse would fill out a form or call the insurance co to approve the referral. then the form would be faxed to the specialist. i’m not sure who made the appointment, but often the specialist would call needing a referral to be faxed, again because they "never received it" or they lost it! a lot of the time the nurse that does the referrals wouldn’t get to them right away so they may sit until the end of the day. also, during lunch hours we would let the phone calls go to the answering service because that was the only half-hour break we would get during the day and because we were a small office only myself, the frontdesk person, the file clerk, the RN, and 2 CMAs. We never sent anything out by mail except for lab results, the referrals hardly ever went out by mail, the pt would pick up a referral on occasion! good luck with the referral

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