Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pain in the Ass

I suppose one shouldn't use the pulpit (however obscure it may be) to lash out at someone or something in a moment of anger, but dammit, I’m mad.

I was supposed to have a colonoscopy today. Actually a colonoscopy and an endoscopy at the same time. They were going to get me coming and going. The initial visit at Coral Ridge Gastroenterology Associates went well enough. The front office explained the preparations in detail, ran my insurance and found that I would have no further out-of-pocket costs, and even scheduled transportation to and from the Outpatient Center.

So I enjoyed breakfast yesterday, my last meal for some 30 hours, and at 6:00 PM downed some foul tasting liquid as instructed. If you've ever had a G.I. experience, I don’t have to tell you what happened next. Suffice it to say I stayed indoors for the evening, never far from the bathroom.

At 6:00 AM this morning I repeated the process. I wondered if the eternal drainpipe would stop flowing in time for my ride at 9:30. At the original consultation I had been told that the transportation agency would call me the day before to give me an actual pickup time. Since they never called, I phoned the practice last night but it was after hours. I called again this morning, apparently before hours, and left a message.

Eventually I got a return call. “Oh, Mr. Johnston, we’re so sorry. This never happens. I had the paperwork right here in front of me but I forgot to arrange your ride. I apologize. I’ll see if I can reach them in time.”
She called back shortly thereafter and informed me that the procedure would have to be postponed until the afternoon.

“But, I’m hungry!” I whined.

She told me that I could call Sarah at the Outpatient Center and see if they had an earlier slot. Now I was thinking we were talking about arranging transportation. When Sarah told me that there was nothing available until later, I asked if I could keep my 11:30 appointment if I arranged my own transportation. Oh, no, I was informed. It was the procedure that was not scheduled, not the transportation.

So now I’m hungry and pissed off.

About a half hour later, the Outpatient Center calls again just to inform me of my financial responsibility, a $250 copay. Snap! That was it.

“Cancel it,” I said. “I’m having breakfast.”

Minutes later the doctor’s office calls and the woman who had screwed up in the first place is wildly apologizing, assuring me that she had cleared the insurance and that the Center should have known there was no copay.

More apologies. But it was too late.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Please stop saying you’re sorry.” (Cue Madonna) “This whole thing has been screwed up on your end and on their end.” (No pun intended.) “We’re done. I’m having breakfast now. If I ever do have a colonoscopy, it won’t be through your practice.”

If you go (and you’d be nuts if you do): Coral Ridge Gastroenterology Associates, LLC, Dr. Manuel E. Barbaian. Pompano Beach, FL.

Coral Ridge Outpatient Center, 5301 North Dixie Highway, Oakland Park, FL.