Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Update- Letter of Grievance

About a week ago, I wrote a letter of grievance to the hospital and parent company that oversees my pain clinic.  I was upset with the quality of care I was getting from the receptionists and nurses.  Doing things like scheduling a simple EMG had become an all day, emotional escapade.  The receptionists would questioned my intentions as a pain patient, the nurse would never return my phone call.  By the end of the day, I would be in tears, and nothing would be accomplished.

48 hours after my letter was written and sent, I received a phone call from the 'Director of Doctor/Patient Relations'.  I wanted to make it clear to her that my problem was not with my doctor, but with the staff.  She assured me that this was clear from my letter, and that a investigation was underway.  I also received a letter in the mail.

Today, I called to try and schedule that same EMG this morning, around 9:30 AM.  I was greeted by a friendly hello, a voice I had never heard before.  I replied as I always do, 'hi, my name is so and so, and I am a patient of this doctor.  I would like to schedule an appointment for an EMG.'  The old receptionist would have cut me off at my name, and snapped "what do you want", but this woman gently replied that she would transfer me to his assistant.  I thought my jaw was going to hit the floor.  Instead of dead silence while on hold, I was listening to Bach...  was I truly hearing this?  I received the answering machine, and left a message with my intent.
Normally I would have expected not to hear back from them until later this afternoon, by the end of the work day.  I was breathless when my phone call was returned less than a half hour later. 

The Director of Doctor/Patient Relations called me about an hour later, and asked me if I had noticed a change in the pain clinic.  I told her yes.  It was very positive compared to what I had experienced in the pass.  She informed me there had been some staff changes, and she wanted to know if there was anything else that could be improved upon.  I told her no. She asked my to call her in the future if there were any other problems, and that was it.
This is all I wanted from the beginning- to be treated like a human being.  If you feel like you are treated unfairly or unkind, you have rights as a patient.  Do not let anyone walk over you.

Have you ever had a negative experience with your doctor's office?

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