Every time I have an appointment to attend or a fun(ky) situation arise during my bariatric surgery journey, I have been trying to keep you updated and informed with the excitement,fear, or plain frustration that I am encountering. Last Monday I made it my business to go right to a local hospital within my Bariatric Surgeons network for my EKG and chest x-ray as soon as The Get Fit Baby was done with his developmental teacher’s in-home session.
I had called the week before (now we are going back two weeks) and I asked the Bariatric Navigator (Nutritionist) if there were alternative hospitals in the network that I could go to for my EKG and chest x-ray. She told me that there was another hospital closer that was in the hospital network that I can go to.
Let me take a moment to explain hospital networks with those that may not be familiar with them.
Each hospital is connected with another affiliating hospital(s) where one another utilize the same doctors, data systems, and practices, which can be interchanged between one another for the ease of the patient and the practitioners.
There got that out of the way.
EKG and X-Ray Scheduling Should Be Easy
During my phone calls to schedule my EKG and x-ray, I had spoken to the Admitting Department, where a nice lady told me that as long as I had a “referral” from the doctor prescribing the EKG and x-ray, along with my insurance card, and identification I would be clear for these two tests.
I would need to register for the EKG, go to the cardiology department; go back and register for the x-ray , go to the radiology department. I figured the worst of the situation was having to go back and forth to the registration department.
When It’s Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
Boy, was I wrong!!! I drove through the parking garage and entered the hospital with ease, asking the front desk for directions along the way. I got to the registration department, which I saw was the same thing as the Admitting Department and saw about three people waiting for various services. I gave my referrals, insurance card, and ID to the young man behind the desk. He said exactly what I kept thinking in the back of my head, “Ma’am (which I hate being called), these are not the proper referrals. You need to have them from your primary care provider (PCP) in order for us to conduct services”.
Pardon my French, but NO SHIT!!! I knew that I was going to need the referrals from my PCP, but somehow I let that nice lady convince me that the paperwork I had would suffice. Nonetheless, I called my PCP’s office and asked for them to fax the referrals I needed over and she said they would be there in 15 minutes.
Fifteen minutes passed. No fax.
Thirty minutes passed. No fax. The Admissions Department receptionist and I began making multiple phone calls to my doctor’s office, but we kept getting a ring and then bumped to a busy signal. I thought “Great! Perfect timing for them to be busy”.
Forty-five minutes passed. Still. No. Fax. Now the receptionist and I begin to get worried, because I would hate to have to spend the one day I blocked out for this appointment on me traveling to my PCP near my house and then back to the hospital. We continue to call. Still no fax and still no answer.
Sixty minutes passed. Grrrrrr. No fax. At this point the receptionist and I are frantically calling the doctor’s office. When I say frantically, I mean I dialed and re-dialed about seventy times. I got through once and they placed the phone down without saying hello. Probably their way of alleviating some of the incoming phone call rings, while their patients wait- nice.
Then I get a phone call from my PCP’s office. I didn’t get all huffy as I normally would, but rather let the woman speak about what the hold up was. Apparently, they couldn’t understand why I needed a referral. Uhhh Duh!! Because your doctor thought it would be a good idea for me to get Bariatric Surgery and I went to see a doctor for it and this is what he needs. The receptionist at the PCP’s office wasn’t buying it. She said that I would need to drop off my orders from that doctor to put in my file and then pick up my referral.
Common Sense. A Sense Not So Common.
I then suggested that since the doctor’s office is down the street from my house, if I could get the referrals faxed to me, I can then drop off the orders on my way home. I mean seriously! I’m already at the hospital ready to get the x-ray and EKG done, so why not just do things a little backwards and make life easier.
So she went ahead and faxed my papers.
Ten minutes later I was sitting at a desk with a woman getting registered for my services and being ushered to my EKG session.
Fifteen minutes after my EKG I was being shown to Radiology for my x-ray.
Ten minutes after that I was dressed and walking out of the hospital.
Services that took literally a total of forty-five minutes, ended up having me at the hospital for two hours!!
Moral of the story: Do what you think it the right thing, even if it means extra paperwork, or more running around.