When I have to drop bombs like “attorney” into a conversation with staff at a doctor’s office just to get a refill authorized!
Here’s the letter of bitching…er, complaint I sent to the hospital. Names have been changed to protect the stupid.
I am a long standing patient at the UWMC at several different clinics and departments. Generally speaking I don’t have any issues getting my medications refilled except through the neurology clinic. There have been several occassions when the normal 24-48 hours has taken closer to 96 hours, but I have let it slide because I always give myself plenty of time so that I won’t run out of my medication. However; I have been trying to get a refill for two weeks now. The only thing that has saved me from running out thus far is that I was in patient at the hospital for two weeks in January. Since the hospital was supplying all of my meds I had two weeks worth of overlap.
As is typical, when it was time to refill my meds and I was out of authorized refills my pharmacy sent a fax to the neurology clinic. They did not get a reply back after a few days so they sent another, then another. I called the clinic and emphasized the fact that I was now running out of my medication and I did not have 24-48 hours to wait. The person at the call center said she would pass the message along and be sure to let them know that this needed to be a priority. Today I recieved a voice mail from someone in the clinic named T who said that there was a problem with the phone number I had left for my pharmacy. However, when I talked to T later she said that she had spoken to my pharmacy. She said in the message, once again, that it would take up to 48 hours to process this. Since in the past I have had to allow up to 96 hours processing time you might understand that I was not comfortable with this answer.
I was able to speak to T again, and I do admit that I lost my temper. However, I feel that under the circumstances I am justified in being quite upset. She kept trying to tell me that I should have called my pharmacy before I got so close to running out of meds but then refused to listen to me when I said that I had talked to them several times and that this was not the first issue I have had getting refills authorized from this clinic. Also, what good is going to do for me to speak to the pharmacy when they have been trying to do their job but getting no response? Her out and out refusal to listen is what caused me to become upset with her.
I go to the neurology clinic for treatment and monitoring of my epilepsy. As with any medication that effects the brain chemistry, going cold turkey on my meds would likely cause me to have seizures. If that were to happen because this office was taking an inordinately long time to process refill requests I would not hessitate to contact an attorney. Then I would immediately start looking for a new neurology clinic to tranfer my care to. At this point I might just transfer my care anyway because I have enough stress in my life without having to deal with this hassle every few months. I would prefer not to do that because my doctors are wonderful, but the fact is that I have to deal with the staff more than the doctors and it isn’t worth this.
I have never had so many issues getting my medications through other clinics at UWMC. There is some kind of failure happening at the neurology clinic that is causing refill authorizations to take twice as long (or more) as any other department. I could safely miss a dose or two of any of my other medications, but this one I cannot. A neurology clinic should understand the importance of this better than most.
I would also like to address the fact that most clinics are now using the call center. While I understand that this system is probably much more efficient for scheduling appoints and general questions, when it comes to something urgent it just makes things harder. It means that there is one more person in the chain that the patient is counting on to get the details correct and pass the information on. While they are generally very good at what they do, they are human just like everyone else and they do make mistakes. I strongly feel that for certain departments that deal with more serious medical concerns, there needs to be a way for the patients to contact the clinic directly.