Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pure Madness

Phone Call #1 (at Baylor for Occupational Therapy; 9:30 am):
Me: "Hi I need to make an appointment with the ENT clinic for my daughter."
CMC (Children's Medical Center): "I cannot connect you directly with the clinic or give you their number but I can connect you to our Kids' Line to who schedules all appointments for that clinic."
Me: "That would be great, thanks."
CMC Kids' Line: "How can I help you?"
Me: I need to make an appointment for my daughter.
CMC Kids' Line: What is her name and date of birth?
Me: Blah Blah
CMC Kids' Line: "What is her address?"
Me: "Blah Blah"
CMC Kids' Line: "Your name, please?"
Me: "Lee Cordon"
CMC Kids' Line: Okay let me connect you to the scheduler."
Me: "I thought you were the scheduler."
CMC Kids' Line: "No, ma'am but I will connect you right now."
Call is disconnected. Ugh.

Phone Call #2 (still at Baylor, 9:45 am):
Same as call #1, but after ten minutes get connected to an actual "scheduler":
Scheduler: "How can I help you?"
Me: "I need to make an appointment for my daughter. Dr. *** recommended that she see an ENT for a second opinion. He specifically recommended Dr. ***** or Dr. ****** for her issues."
Scheduler: "What is her name and date of birth?"
Me: "Blah, Blah."
Scheduler: "Address?"
Me: "Blah Blah"
Scheduler: "Your name?"
Me: "Lee Cordon"
Scheduler: 'Okay, I am going to need a referral from your daughter's Primary Care Doctor before I can make an appointment at that clinic."
Me: "Why do you need that? My insurance does not require us to get a referral for specialists."
Scheduler: "We have to have a referral from her PCP before we can schedule an appointment."
Me: Okay, what is your fax number?"
Scheduler: "***-***-****."
Me: "Thank you."

Phone Call #3 (driving in the car on the way to UT Southwestern for Speech Therapy; 10:15 am):
Me: "Hi Martha, can you please fax a referral to this number?"
Pediatrician's Office: "Sure, I have the form right here and will do it right now."
Me: "Oh thank you, Martha. I really appreciate that."

Phone Call #4 (on the way home from therapy to drop Maggie off with sitter, 11:45 am)
After 10 minutes on the phone with the 'Kids' Line' I finally talk to a "scheduler"....:
Me: "Hi, I think we spoke earlier. My name is Lee Cordon and I am trying to make an appointment for my daughter Margaret Cordon. My doctor's office faxed a referral about an hour ago and I just want to go ahead and book that appointment.
Scheduler: "Let me see if we got that fax. Hold please."
(Hold for 15 minutes listening to tips for Summer Safety. Heard three times that 9,000 kids get injured every year in lawnmower accidents.)
Scheduler: "Hi, yes, ugh, we did not get that fax."
Me: "Are you sure because she said she was sending it right away."
Scheduler: "Yes, you need to call your PCP office back and have them call you as soon as they fax it and then you can call and make an appointment."
Me: "Okay I will call but I am pretty sure they already sent it."
Scheduler: "Well we cannot make an appointment unless we have that fax."
Me: "Okay, thank you."

Phone Call #5 (on the way to get Mary Lawrence from ballet; 12:10 pm)
Me: "Hi Martha, it's Lee Cordon. Did you send that fax? CMC is saying they didn't get it."
Martha: "Yes, I sent it."
Me: "You sure you have the right number? ***-***-****?"
Martha: "Oh yes, we send stuff to that fax all of the time."
Me: "Okay thanks Martha!"

Phone Call #6 (on the way home from taking ML and a friend to lunch; 1:45 pm)
I look up the number for the 'Kids' Line' direct phone number:
CMC Kids' Line: "How can I help you?"
Me: I need to make an appointment for my daughter.
CMC Kids' Line: What is her name and date of birth?
Me: "Blah Blah"
CMC Kids' Line: "What is her address?"
Me: "Blah Blah"
CMC Kids' Line: "Your name, please?"
Me: "Why do I need to tell you all this stuff if you are just going to connect me to a different person who will ask me all the same questions?"
CMC Kids' Line: "Sorry, ma'am, it's what we are supposed to do."
Me: "I know, I'm sorry, I'm just frustrated it's taken so long to just make an appointment today. This is like the fifth time I've called today it feels like."
CMC Kids' Line: I'm sorry, ma'am. Let me connect you right away to a scheduler."
Me: "Thanks."
Click. Disconnected Again.

Phone Call #7 (girl are napping, 2:15 pm)
After getting through to a different scheduler, explaining the situation and how frustrated I was:
Scheduler: "Okay, hold on just a sec while I look through these faxes."
(I listen again to seven minutes of tips on Summer Safety - Do not let your kids pick insect bites. Check.)
Scheduler: "Hi, yes, we cannot find that fax.Are you sure they have the right number?"
Me: "Yes, I called and verified. They definitely sent it to the right number."
Scheduler: "Well call them back and tell them to send it again."
Me: "No I am sorry, but I am not going to do that. I have been on the phone all day trying to book an appointment. This is absolutely ridiculous. I have a child with lots of medical problems and I have spent two hours that I don't have dealing with this. It is absurd."
Scheduler: "I am sorry but we cannot book that appointment without a referral."
Me: "Well, tell me again why you need a referral if my insurance doesn't require one?"
Scheduler: "It has nothing to do with insurance, the specialist just needs to know why you are coming and what your child's issues are."
Me: "Well I can tell you what her problems are and why she needs to come. I am her mother, I've been dealing with her issues for eighteen months."
Scheduler: "Well, what are they?"
Me: "Well she has severe torticollis and ---
Scheduler: " I don't think we even see that here. Let me check."
(On hold for another 5 minutes)
Scheduler: "Okay, I just checked and, well, we still are going to need a referral."
Me: "Can I talk to a nurse in that clinic, please?"
Scheduler: "Hold, please."
(10 more minutes of summer safety tips - seriously, kids need to wear shoes while mowing the yard so they don't cut their toes off? Who knew?)
Nurse: "Hello, how can I help you?"
Me: "Hi, I have been trying to make an appointment all day with this clinic and my child's doctor's office has faxed over a referral but they are saying they didn't receive it. I am so frustrated. Can you please help me?"
Nurse: "Well the reason we need that referral is because the doctor needs to know what your child is coming in for."
Me: "I can tell you that. I know more about her issues than any of her doctors."
Nurse: "Okay, well why is she coming in?"
Me: "She has torticollis and we want a second opinion on her equilibrium issues to see if fluid in her ears could be causing this off balance."
Nurse: "Well let me see if they even see that here. Please hold"
(Now I learn that sandals aren't appropriate either when kids are mowing the lawn...10 more minutes on hold.)
Nurse: "Okay, I'm back, we will see that here. But if we could just get your PCP to write all that stuff down and fax it over..."
Me: "No, I am sorry, but I am done dealing with this; there is no legitimate reason for her PCP to send over a referral. He's not even the one who suggested she go here - it was another specialist."
Nurse: "Well we at least need to get your daughter's medical history from her PCP, too."
Me: "Are you serious!? If you look at your computer you can see that she has been to just about every other clinic at Children's this past year. Her entire medical history is in her electronic file at the hospital. Can't you just use that?"
Nurse: "Oh well, yes I guess we can. Can you hold please?"
Me: "Sure, thanks."
(5 minutes of summer safety tips)
Nurse: Okay, well I guess I can go ahead and book you an appointment.
Me: "Oh thank you!"
Nurse: "But you are not going to be happy when you hear that our first available is August 15th."
Me: "Really? That's crazy."
Nurse: "But let me see ....oh yes, I see an opening where I can fit you in our Southlake location in July. Can you do that?"
Me: "Sure!"
Nurse: "Okay, hold on while I call our Southlake office to see if I can do that."
(Another 8 minutes of Summer Safety Tips)
Nurse: "Okay good news. They have a cancellation on May 23rd in Southlake"
Me: "Oh that is so great. Thank you."
Nurse: "No problem, glad I could help."
Me: "Bless you! Have a great day. Good bye!"

Then I go take Tylenol for a raging headache and seriously think about opening a bottle of wine at 3:30 in the afternoon.

E-stim today...Justin asked if this was her punishment for pulling her tube out so many times.


  1. I am so sorry that you had to go through this in real life, but thank you for posting...I just had a tear-jerking laugh in my office during work! So sorry it was at your expense, but you have to admit that this is totally absurd! And I will be sure to have my kids wear shoes all summer (nearly impossible) and never pick an insect bite (definitely impossible)!

  2. i wanted to scream just reading this!