I find myself increasingly becoming a “go-between” for hospital systems, billing offices, & other healthcare entities. I can navigate it but I find it annoying, sometimes I even resent it a little. I should demand a cut or a price break for as often as I have to do this.
The most recent example was when I had to get some lab work done for my upcoming transplant appointment. I was told quite a few times that it was fine for me to have these done at my local Quest lab & then have the results sent to my transplant center. I figured this time would be no exception.
Well, not everything went off without a hitch.
To avoid the problems & lag I had with Quest last time, I had toyed with the idea of using Walk-in Lab upon the positive feedback I had received from a few friends on Twitter.
The problem was in reading the fine print, they don’t file insurance claims & the closest location is a Lab Corporation of America site which is always out-of-network with my insurance plan.
I can’t really afford that right now, so I decided to bite the bullet & go back to Quest. I also hoped in doing so that the rude tech from last time would not be there.
I lucked out in that regard. This lab tech was efficient & helpful.
She was able to get my record updated much more quickly. However; she was having a problem locating a code for one of the tests. She called the Quest Client Service center & they gave her a code, but told her to call my transplant center to verify.
What transpired was an in-depth “checking.” The end result was that my center preferred this one test be done at the in-house lab at the hospital rather than at another lab.
Now, normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this but I was already booked for a full set of lung function testing & a six minute walk prior to my next appointment. I didn’t really have time to sit & wait for a draw.
Plus, my center is about an hour & half away. I can’t drive myself & didn’t want to make a special trip down there just for one blood draw.
They relented & said they could repeat the test after the appointment before I went home if something was amiss & didn’t match up.
I agreed that it wouldn’t be a big deal to wait a bit & get the test re-done after my doctor’s appointment if I had to but that there was no way I could do it before. No one could answer me when I asked why this wasn’t made clear to me ahead of time.
Yet, all of this could have been avoided if there was a simple note on the order stating that they preferred this test to be done in-house. It’s not that hard to do. Same as a note they’d put in for fasting cues I’m sure.
I don’t expect my doctor or NP to tell me this with everything else they have to manage, but how am I, (or even a scheduler) supposed to know to set this up with an in-house lab if that’s what’s preferred if there is no note on the test order form?
Instead, I wasted a good 20 minutes having to sort all of this out but being told it was fine to proceed in the end.
I’m sure this isn’t the first time & not the last. But this is one of my pet peeves of the healthcare system. None of us are mind readers whether we be doctors, techs, or patients & we shouldn’t be expected to be.
If it’s that important for certain draws to be done at a certain place, I should be told that in advance of when I have that done or a note on the testing form so I (or a scheduling coordinator) can actually take care of it at the same time I’m setting up my next appointment & other tests.