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When Good Doctors have BAD Staff

Posted Aug 24 2008 5:59pm

Have you ever called to make an appointment with your doctor and when you got off the phone with the receptionist you thought "What was her problem?" Or when you go to see your doctor the front office staff is rude. Or you call to get in to see your doctor and can't because he's booked up and can't get you in even though you really need to be seen (maybe you have a high fever). Most of the time I would say that if you have a great doctor, it does not really matter what the front office staff is like. To have a great doctor is worth putting up with them. Not anymore! I have learned just how bad a bad staff can be. It is unfortunate because I really liked my doctor. He is very good at what he does. I did not even mind that he was difficult to get into (I think my mom is less tollerant with that then I am). All of my experience in the medical field (between working in it and being a patient) I have never had such an experience. I am not sure if it was because we all were having a bad day, it was a Monday, or it was just inevitable because this office staff is not all that nice. This is not the first time I have felt that they were rude, but I figured I liked my doc and so it was okay. Let me tell you, it is not okay. There are other docs out there who are just as good with a friendlier staff!



The last few days I have been getting sick (again) and yesterday morning I called in to my local PCP to make an appointment. The girl on the phone scheduled me for 8:50 in the morning. As I am not feeling well, I was not having a good morning. My head hurts, stuffed up, coughing, and having problems with my breathing. I don't feel real comfortable leaving my house without doing a breathing treatment when I get this way and so I thought it was important to do one before leaving for my appointment. I ended up being 3 minutes late for my appointment and when I arrive I was greeted by a VERY rude receptionist who simply stated "Your appointment is already over, if you need to be seen you need to go to the Urgent Care". As I mentioned, I was not feeling well, and this was the last thing I needed to hear. I said excuse me, my appointment was at 8:50, I'm 3 minutes late. How could my appointment be over already. She stated that she put me in for 8:45 and that it was a for a quick appointment as they fit me in. I said, no, on the phone you told me 8:50. I then said you know what, the last 3-4 times I have been sick I have had to go to the Urgent Care and then ended up in the hospital. I don't want to go to the Urgent Care, I am here for my appointment. If I can't be seen I want to speak to the Office Manager to make a complaint.



The Office Manager was a piece of work! She came out and said that they will not see me, which at this point was not my concern as much as I wanted to make a point that I was given the wrong time on the phone and that maybe this receptionist needs better training or something. I mean, the least she could have done was call me back and tell me it was supposed to be 8:45 not 8:50. This could have prevented the whole problem. I don't care that she made a mistake, everyone makes mistakes. What I care about is the fact I have been so sick for so long and at that moment felt it was unfair that I would have to go sit in the Urgent Care for several hours only to be sent home and possibly get worse. After all, this is what has happened the last few times I have been sick. Anyway, I told the Office Manager my concern and her response was "If you feel you aren't getting the care you need maybe you need to go somewhere else". She could tell that I was upset and instead of just taking the complaint and saying something like, I will take care of it or I will talk to her. She said, she could make an appointment for the next day. I said, fine, I will take the appointment for tomorrow and when I come in I'm gonna talk to Dr. about their attitude. That it is not acceptable that they treat a patient that way. Then she said, you know what, I'm not going to schedule you for tomorrow, and if you don't leave right now I'll call services (which is like security). That is when I lost it. What the hell! I said, that is bullshit. You want to call security because I wanted to make a complaint. I left and then today I got a call saying that they are discharging me from their practice.



I am so disappointed in Dr. I was one of his first patients when he came to the Tri-Cities. This is a man who the last few times I saw him he made comments like why didn't you come see me sooner (so that I did not end up in the hospital). I told him cause he was busy and I couldn't get in. This is a man who I respected. This is a man at my last couple of appointments gave me a hug and told me to hang in there. So, for this same man to discharge me from his practice is VERY out of character. My guess is that this came more from the Office Manager than from Dr. Problem is when a good doctor has a bad staff, what do you do? Really, there is not much you can do. I worked in the medical field, I know how it is. The doctors rely on the staff to let them know what is going on. Obviously, I pissed off the staff by trying to make a complaint that would have only helped them in the future. So needless to say, I won't be returning to that doctor. I am moving on.



I find it interesting that the medical community here is always questioning why they can't keep patients, why everyone goes to Seattle or Spokane to see doctors, why there is such a problem. Well, here is one reason. When your staff is not very professional, when they treat the patients poorly, why would we want to continue to go to see you. It doesn't matter how good of a doctor you are, eventually, a bad staff is going to turn you away.
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