Daughter needed to get maybe a handful of speech therapy sessions to correct a persistent lisp. Brought her to a nearby SLP place and had her evaluated. Noted at the time that it was the most unfriendly waiting room I have ever sat in, signs everywhere about what you are and are not allowed to do. Whatever. The SLP herself was lovely and Daughter has been making progress.
We cancelled an appointment and they forgot to mark it down, so the office manager called me after the fact to talk about it. I explained that we’d cancelled well outside the timeframe required, and I had no way of knowing it hadn’t been written down. She said, “Well, next time, you need to call me directly.” Okey-dokey.
Today I got a bill for a cancellation fee.
After dealing with my initial feelings about wanting to have it out with the office manager at high volume, or drive over there and dump $85 in nickels on her desk, and other childish fantasies, I finally called and said, “I thought we’d taken care of that.” No, she’d just decided on the phone to be passive-aggressive and not state that she’d still be submitting the bill. “I must not have been clear,” she said.
I do not play the passive-aggressive game.
I said, “Then I will be clear. I’m not saying I will not pay this cancellation fee. But if I do pay it, it will be the last money you ever receive from me. I will cancel all my daughter’s remaining appointments and bring her for therapy elsewhere. You will get your money, but you will get no other money. This is what’s known as a Pyrrhic victory. It’s up to you.”
She still kept weasling and finally said she’d let one of the doctors know my feelings. (Ugh.) “But I can’t promise the doctor will call you back.”
I said, “Then let’s just cancel for Saturday, since tomorrow morning is the end of the 48-hour window where I can cancel that appointment. And if the doctor doesn’t call me back, sometime next week I’ll call back and cancel all the remaining ones.”
Years ago I’d have kept fighting, or I’d have stayed with an office that actively hates its clients. In fact, I did do that. Bu maybe I’m getting old: I’m just too fed up with medical offices that treat you like you’re the enemy or like you’re worthless just because they’re medical folks and you are not. You want to treat me like crap? That’s lovely, but I don’t have to stick around for it.
The SLP is a sweet woman, and doubtless she’ll never find out why we’ve left, but you know what? I don’t care.
I called my PCP’s office and asked for a referral for a different SLP, and they asked me why, so I told them. And they also agreed the other office should have worked with us rather than zing us for a cancellation their own provider forgot to write down. (Actually, the PCP office nurse started giving me suggestions on how to make life as difficult as possible for the office manager, like paying fifty cents a month for the next hundred seventy months. No, I am not going to do that. If I pay it, I pay it.)
But I can’t deal with this. Because there’s no guarantee they won’t try something like this again. What if the SLP misplaces my copayment check and they try to add on their missed copay surcharge?
When I cancelled for next Saturday, I said, “Oh, and we’re also not coming the Saturday after Thanksgiving.” Office Manager said, “That’s already written down.” I said, “Well, that time it worked.”
As I said to the office manager, “Why stay with a speech-language practice that can’t communicate?”
I’m thinking even if the other doctor calls back now, I’m still changing practices. I don’t need their passive-aggressive office manager, and I don’t need this nonsense.