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· Registered
425 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:mad::mad:I really like my rheumatologist she's great, caring, sympathetic, but her office staff leave much, very much to be desired.
My rheumatologist just took on a partner and has expanded the office, but ever since the beginning the office staff treat patients with very little understanding. I've called and the messages have not been passed on and I reported that to the nurse, but when the receptionist called to tell me when I was having the rituxin treatment this week (she left a message), I called back to find out if there would be two treatments or just one. The woman who answered the phone said in a snotty voice, " I don't deal with rituxin treatments".

:mad: I even called when the dentist pulled an infected tooth and the office staff said I didn't need antibiotics, she is not a nurse, and got called back and told that an antibiotic prescription was called into the pharmacy.
I've called with obvious autoimmune symptoms and told that I needed to see my GP, then called back by a nurse and told to get to the hospital stat for chest x-rays, an ekg, an ultra sound of the veins in my legs and blood work.:eek:

Does anyone else have difficulties with office staff? Now that the office is larger and with another doctor there are three more snotty women to deal with, I wish they could be a bit more understanding and at least knowledgeable when it comes to the symptoms that need immediate attention and those that can wait.

I am not sure how to bring it up with the doctor or nurse without sounding gripey and uncooporative. Does anyone have any ideas? I would also like to know test results but I am afraid that when I call back I will lose my temper and make someone angry enough to hassle me later on. My temper has been out of control lately and I am extremely irritable, so I am leary of confrontations, the last time I confronted someone a few days ago, a driver of a medical transport, he got fired, which he deserved but I don't like being irrational. The last time, Sept. 4th, when symptoms got unbearable I just went to the emergency room and was admitted for observation, but then my GP saw me then and later on.

Any suggestions would be helpful, Dr. Rea likes that I write my symptoms down for her to read, and she knows that I also have psych. issues and has not been prejudiced about them so I am not worried too much about her, just would like a less painful way to bring things up.;) In the past some doctors, no longer seeing them, have dismissed my symptoms--lyme disease etc. and in the ER a broken leg left untreated....I am sort of afraid of how people will react to me, I'm insecure because if some people know my diagnosis they tend to not take me seriously, now Dr. Rea has NEVER done that it's just that I am really overly sensitive about how I am perceived. I hope this makes some sort of sense, any help is appreciated. Karly:blush:

If you haven't noticed I am a bit paranoid these days, I must call my psych. doc although I am not sure what she can do......Karly

· Administrator
9,127 Posts
Hi Karly,

It has been my experience that the people handling the calls have no medical training at all. In time they may pick up on some things.

One of my doctors is in a large practice. He had his nurse put me in the computer as one of his special patients. Now if I call my concerns are dealt with right away. Your doctor sounds very caring, maybe you could speak with your doctor to see if something similar could be worked out for you.

Take care,

· Registered
258 Posts
Hi Karly,

I had typed this long drawn out reply for you but then i pressed the wrong button and it all went away.

So, I'm going to make this one short and sweet :)

I had the same problem with a couple of doctors. Believe me they don't want a nasty attitude person sitting at their front desk and answering their phones, because patients may not come back because of it.

I had one doctor who changed his office staff like every week until he got people he could trust.

My GP had one woman, snap at me because i came in the office 10mins before closing.

She asked me" how did you get in here?",, I replied, "through the door". Like there was anyother way to get in. She then said, " that door is suppose to be locked". in a nasty tone. The patient standing in front of her just looked at her with her mouth to the floor.
I told the receptionist. "I'm sorry, but that is not my problem, and i think you need to check yourself.

Well, to all of our suprise the doctor was standing in the doorway listen to the whole thing. He then came out and asked the woman to go to the back and get him something. Then he asked me did she ask you how you got in. His patient that was a witness said,, yes she did,, she just snapped at this lady for no reason.
He apologied and i never saw the woman again.

Doctors want you to feel good about coming to see them. You can also deter some of the nastiness that comes your way by asking them this. What is your full name???
They usually give it too yuo and now know you have amonition to go to their boss with and might even straighten up for a few minutes.
Then it is up to you to tell your doctor,, who, when,and where.

One thing about nurses and receptionist. They are a lot of them.. They will always find work..So don't get upset if they end up losing their jobs.. Someone else was probably complaining about the same person.

ok,,,,not so short but it is still sweet :)

Good luck

· Registered
25 Posts
My mom ran in to this with one of her oncologist's offices. She brought it up to the doctor by saying something like "wow, you're really hard to get to" or "glad I got through the office Nazi's to see you." The second one not so politically correct, but can get the message across. I'm quite sure the doctor will be glad you mentioned it to her and NOT happy to hear the office staff is being disprespectful. Just mention it to the doctor. It's not like you've done anything wrong. Odds are they might already suspect someone is being a twit, but will need some input from patients to confirm their suspicions before they send the twit packing. That's what was going on my mom's office. The twit in question was putting other people's initials on messages so it was hard to track it back to her. The doctor was VERY glad mom brought it up and had her tell the office manager what she had said. Office manager said she suspected they knew who it was, but that mom's information helped solidify their case. She was let go not too long afterward.

· The Other Illinois Tammy
1,193 Posts
Is there one nurse that seems to be more helpful than others? If so just start limiting your contact with that person:ask for them only, leave only messages for them to call you back (and let them know you will be blowing up their phone every half hour just to make sure that they got the message). Ask to speak with the office manager and let her or him know that you feel this way and that you are happy with your doctor but that they could use some pr training and see if they have had other similar problems from patients. Rarely do I allow people to treat me like that, it is almost disrespectful. Maybe your first question should be can I speak with someone that can tell (fill in with what you need to know) if they say they would not know reply with again can I please speak with someone that would have the answer or be willing to find out the answer today please again. This is just me and to me time is not to be waisted. There is so much more I could be doing besides dealing with people that appear to just be there for a check. I am in customer service so I know You do something because your good or like doing it and it sounds more like the staff is there for a check. Remember they work for you not the other way around. This sounds harsh but once they see that you are in charge of your care and depending on them for whatever they become nicer to you. I had to do that once with a couple of my gp's staff and also with one of the subdoctors when mine was on vacation. Take it for what it is worth which may not be much.
Good Luck

· Registered
718 Posts
hi Karly

sorry I haven't been able to read all of your post - i can't read big blocks of text that don't have paragraphs. But, I did get the message that you are having problems with the receptionists at your rheumies.

I email my doctors, and find it a very convenient way to contact them directly rather than going via their receptionists. Can you get your rheumie's email address ?


· Registered
195 Posts
Brilliant doctors often make very poor small business owners. If they can't find an office manager to take on the task of staffing, they can run into trouble like this quick. Some doctors are just impossible to work for, and I often think that the hostility I am subjected to is probably directed at someone else. I'm not for sure what the best answer would be.

Your other question, however, is easy! The "not so new now" hippa regulations state that you are entitled to any part of your chart you would like upon demand. If you get the tests taken in office, it might be a little more difficult, but if you go to an outside lab, peice of cake.

Let the lab know that you need to fill out a release form to have a copy of the lab results sent to you as well. They usually have you fill out a form, take a copy of your drivers liscense, and that's it. It is actually illegal in the USA for anyone to tell you you may not have access to your medical records.

If you feel uncomfortable about asking then give them a little line. I just say that I have so many different specialists that I see, and that they all want lab results even if a different doc requested them. I tell them it is just easier for me to get the lab results.

I have never had any problems with getting my records since. Pretty eye opening too! Amazing what your doctors don't tell you about your lab results. Be proactive, and get involved in your own care!
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