Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Too much stress!

I called Rich on his cell phone today and said, "You have to meet me at our therapist's office immediately. I am at the breaking point." Rich heard the panic in my voice and didn't even question my request. Thirty minutes later we were in Dr. Bonfiglio-Appleseed's office, sitting in the waiting room. Rich asked, "Do we have a scheduled appointment?" I said, "Yes. I told the secretary I couldn't go on anymore unless I talked to the doctor about this problem....immediately. " Just then the doctor approached, greeted us with his happy reassuring smile and ushered us into his office. Normally I sit in one of the comfy chairs but today I gestured towards the couch and said, "I have to lie down for this one." I stretched out on the couch, my head pounding from stress as I teetered on the brink of an anxiety attack.

Rich and Dr. Appleseed looked at me curiously and waited for me to begin. I took a deep breath and only sighed. Finally I said, "I can't take anymore! The incompetence is overwhelming! Why is this so damn hard? I have explained it and explained it and still it isn't right! What am I supposed to do?"
Dr. Appleseed arched his eyebrows at Rich and then asked me, "Why do you feel Rich is incompetent?" I sat upright and shrieked, "RICH? You think this is about RICH?" Dr. Appleseed scratched his blonde head and said,"Why don't you tell me how things have been going at home." I sighed a huge sigh, rolled my eyes at him and said, "Things have been great. We are more in sync than we used to be. We have gotten into a cleaning groove so that our apartment isn't a disaster anymore. We work so much better together. We have been eating together as a family. It's been great. We are really a team now.We're very connected."

Dr. Appleseed crossed his arms in front of him and tried again. "So, what is the problem?"
I jumped up and said, "It's your office staff! They are complete morons. How much more do I have to endure? We have been coming to you for a year. In the beginning my insurance company denied all claims because even though your name is Dr. Bonfiglio-Appleseed, your office kept submitting these claims under Dr. Appleseed. Then my insurance company, You'reOnYourOwn Healthcare ,denied the claims and refused to pay because they didn't have you listed as being in "the plan." Everytime we come here I have to call the insurance company to straighten out the bill. Your office bills it incorrectly every- single- time!

The other day I got a bill for $250 for two visits that were being denied.I couldn't believe it. Today I called the insurance company and was told that the visits weren't covered because I didn't have any referrals under my name. I hadn't even noticed that on the bill. All the visits were supposed to be under Rich's name! This was an argument I had with your office months ago. The ten visits were all under Rich's name not mine. Why would they bill it under my name?"

Dr.Appleseed said, "I am awfully sorry this happened to you. My office staff is...."
"Rude and condescending," I said. "Everytime I call here they blame you or me for the billing problem. I don't have anything to do with the billing. Today they told me that everytime I come in here I have to tell them to bill it under Rich and not me. They said it was confusing because it was "couples therapy." Well you are a marriage counselor so chances are your patients are COUPLES! Does everyone have billing issues?"

Silence. Then Dr. Appleseed asked, "Would you like a prescription for anxiety?" I stomped around the room and shouted, "NO!NO!!NO!!! I want you to fix this problem. I want your office to bill these visits correctly. I don't want to be calling my insurance company and your bitchy office staff after every visit here. It's too stressful. I have enough crap in my life. Why can't they just do their job correctly with a sincere smile in their voice? WHY? Can't you fix this for me before I am completely pushed over the edge?"

Dr.Appleseed stood up and said, "Well, let's say this visit is on the house. How does that sound?" I glared at him and said, "It sounds like you can't fix this problem." He looked at his shoes and muttered, "No, I guess I can't.Sorry."Then he flashed a big bright smile and said,"But on the bright side,you and Rich are getting along better than ever." I smirked at him and said, "Nice try Dr. Bonfiglio-Appleseed!"
Rich held my hand as we walked to the car. The problem didn't get resolved but I felt much better.

What frustrated you today?

{editor's note: I didn't think I had to write this but, this story is not true! I was completely frustrated by the incompetent and condescending office staff in my doctor's office but I did not
demand an emergency appointment to whine about it. All the screw ups with my doctor's hyphenated name are true and my insurance company totally sucks.(Sadly that is quite true although I wish our insurance company was wonderful and actually paid for stuff) This post was my healthy and creative way to vent. I am sorry that my co-workers thought I was such a head case and that they believed this story to be true! I am not that crazy....yet! }

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