Something funny about that medical office

The doctor did not call me. Surprise! Passive-Aggressive Office Manager most likely did not forward my message to the doctor, so I will take measures to talk to the doctor myself. Since most contact has to go through Passive-Aggressive Office Manager, I will just be a little bit smarter than she is.

But here’s the funny thing: when I related this to a friend today, she said, “And it’s not even the first time you’ve had problems with that office.”


She said, “Remember the thing about the co-pay?”

Oh, right! When you go into their office, there are passive-aggressive little notes all over the walls of the waiting room (which doesn’t have so much as a box of tissues in it, but does have all these lovely notes.) Signs that say “No food or drink in the waiting area.” But with multiple children, it’s a given that someday you’ll have a child begin vomiting within the 48-hour cancellation frame, so I guess even though they have a problem with food in the waiting area, they have no problem with vomit in the waiting area. Some signs say that if you miss an appointment without a 48-hour cancellation, you owe them mucho dinero, and others that your co-pay is due at the time of the visit or again, mucho dinero.

(48 hours. I’m sure that if the SLP wakes up sick one morning, and cancels your appointment for that afternoon, the office pays you a cancellation fee. It’s only fair. Right?)

When I brought Kiddo2 for her first appointment, the SLP said, “Oh, you know we don’t do credit cards, right?”

Um, no, that was never mentioned. I usually pay everything with my FSA card. She said, “Well, we don’t take that. You can walk over to the CVS if you want to get cash.”

I went in to the office manager’s office. I said, “You know, we spoke on the phone twice. Once when I initially made the appointment, and once three hours ago when you called to confirm the appointment.”

(I’m not making that up. She called to confirm a 1pm appointment at ten o’clock in the morning.)

She looked at me blankly.

I said, “And even though you were really thorough about getting my insurance information, you never once mentioned that I’d need to pay the co-pay by cash or check.”

She kept staring at me blankly.

I said, “That would be something helpful to mention.”

She finally said, “Okay,” with a note of “I don’t give an honest damn about your inconvenience.”

So I think in addition to dealing with someone who’s passive-aggressive to the core, we’re also dealing with someone who likes to hurt people. All the more reason to jettison this practice.


  1. Lorraine E. Castro

    It’s really too bad more businesses don’t realize their front office people are a reflection of the impression we consumers will be getting. I’m sure we have all had instances when the doctor was great but their staff made you never want to come back.

    1. Philangelus

      I’ve left good doctors before because of the office staff. The last time, I told the doctor I’d come back when she fired all her staff, and she said, “It might come to that. You’re not the only one who’s complained.” Well…? Who’s in charge? You’re the doctor and you’re the practice — tell the front office not to do whatever it is that they’re doing to annoy everyone! Criminy.

  2. Marie

    By any chance is this practice in Ten Miles Beyond? We went for an evaluation at a practice there. The directions they mailed to me used as a reference a grocery store that had changed its name at least 5 years earlier. When I came in I mentioned the directions were wrong and the office manager said, “I know; I drive that way every day.”
    We were promised a report, suitable for submitting to the school district, with a copy to the pediatrician. No report was ever forth coming. We called twice and wrote once, copying the insurance company. The pedi called himself in my presence to ask for it, after his office had requested it twice.
    I’m impressed on how you are handling this.

  3. Philangelus

    THey’re in NextTownOver, and there’s another one that’s quite far away. They did manage to send me my report, but the total apathy of the office manager sounds very familiar though.

    Withholding your daughter’s records is a HIPAA violation, I think. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you sicced the feds on them…

  4. Marie

    I suspect they never wrote it and then lost the notes. This was back before the HIPAA law – maybe 7 years ago. But I haven’t forgotten.

    1. Jane

      Ah, lovely. But I’m sure they never forgot to submit the bill to insurance.

      This practice hasn’t been in existence for seven years, so we can take heart that apparently there are multiple copies of this kind of service provider.