When Tim was discharged from the hospital, he was given a fat packet of instructions. In these instructions was the directives to make a followup appointment within one week. The address and the phone number to the Neurology Clinic was given.
I have spent a lot of time calling that number. A LOOOOOTTTTTT of time. Today, I called UPMC and wound up talking to a customer service person in Pittsburgh, who helpfully looked up the information of the clinic in Erie.
I was gobsmacked to find out that the discharge paperwork provided the wrong phone number.
Understand that this wasn't a simple matter of someone writing down the number wrong. This was a print out. The clinic, the address and the phone number were the letter head. I couldn't believe this.
When I got hold of the clinic, the receptionist curtly told me that the error was beyond her control, that there was nothing she could do about an incorrect number on hospital paperwork. She also said that it is not the first time that she heard the complaint.
I said, "Listen. This is a scary time for people. I'm trying to be proactive here and to make sure that we are dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's. Being provided the wrong contact information is kind of horrifying. That needs to be corrected, and I don't feel that is an unreasonable patient request."
She briskly went about making the appointment.
I knew she wasn't going to do jack about the wrong number being provided to patients.
So, I called up on the ward and spoke with the nursing station. I told her that we had been provided with discharge paperwork that gave us the wrong number to the neurology practice. She efficiently interrupted me to give me the correct number.
I said, "Yes. I've got the correct information now, but I spent a week calling the wrong number over and over again. The phone just rang a couple dozen times, and then disconnected. Nothing to indicate it was a wrong number at all. Don't you think that needs to be corrected on the discharge paperwork?"
Long pause. Efficient voice resumes. "That might be an old number.."
This time I heard another voice in my head. Lt. Gunderson. Brisk no nonsense guy standing in front of a formation bellowing "RESULTS NOT REASONS!"
I said, "It doesn't even matter why. It needs to be fixed."
The reply came back. "I'll pass it along."
I disconnected the phone.
She's not going to do jack about the wrong number being given to patients.
I looked on line and found an e-mail address that promised that UPMC wanted to hear our feedback to improve their services. I sent off a sharply worded e-mail about not only the wrong phone number but also the fact that we were discharged with a prescription that needed to be filled and given before we even got home. Surely enough medication could have been provided to get us home, or better yet, through a Sunday evening.
I resumed looking for a primary care doctor to get that cough taken care of.
The phone rang. The caller ID said it was Hamot. I was a bit shocked. That was a pretty quick response to my complaints. Except when I picked it up, there was a woman telling me she had a prescription for a Holter monitor for my husband. Color me gobsmacked once again.
"I spoke with a young lady Tuesday. I was given the choice between taking Tim to Erie to be outfitted for it or having it mailed. I chose mail because he has c-diff and a 1 1/2 hour car ride is difficult right now. This is supposed to be on its way."
"Great!" she said.
"No," I said. "I need you to follow up on this right now, and make sure that it IS on its way here. I'd have figured that it would be here already."
Efficiently, she put me on hold.
She came back and said that it was all taken care of and that I'd be getting it sometime next week.
Yeah. Bet me. She placed the order for it while I was on hold. Nothing had been done last Tuesday.
This is crazy. All of it.