Friday, July 20, 2007

HIPAA?

I had to contact my doctor yesterday, because approximately 65% of my body is a rash. It's become a distraction at work because most of the day is consumed writhing, shirtless, on the floor to relieve the itching. It's a difficult thing to explain and retain your coworkers' respect. I haven't yet succeeded in initially gaining that respect, but someday this could become a problem.

So I call the good folks at the doctor's office, and after a lengthy explanation (audible, I'm sure, to the closest 30 people in me office: "No - it's a RASH. No, sometimes I skip bathing. Oh, do you think it could be contagious?") I'm placed on hold. Not unusual, it usually takes 3-5 people before you get to the person that can actually help you. Whether they help you or not is determined by a roll of a 26 sided die. (Note: Letter X is VERY unlucky) While I'm listening to the triumphant hold music, I decide to see how long I wait before speaking to someone. It's 4 minutes when the hold music stops...and starts over again. It's 6 minutes when the music starts and I can hear someone breathing heavily on the line. I move the phone away from my own mouth and still hear it, so I know it's someone else. You never know when you're an annoying breather, and it's good to check.

Me: Hello?
Office employee?: Hello? Are you with Dr. Quackstein?
Me: Yes...(I think they're asking if I'm waiting for someone from that office)
Office employee: Well I'm having a problem...(At this point I realize it's not someone who works in the office, and is instead an elderly man, who sounds a little like those grouchy muppets Statler and Waldorf that bitch and moan from the balcony.)
Me: Um, I don't work for the doctor. I'm a patient as well.
Old Man Winter: Oh, well can you connect me to the doctor's office.
Me: Um, no. I don't know how I'd do that.
OMW: Well, can you send me back to reception?
Me: Ah, no. I think we're both going to have to hang up and call back.
OMW: AHHhhh. *hangs up*

Now, besides being a little concerned my elder phone pal just died on the other end, I'm a little miffed at a few things. First, that he didn't even say goodbye. I thought the older generation valued manners. Apparently not. Second, why would the doctor's office connect two incoming patient calls? Why do they even have that option? Are they sitting there, and some burn victim calls in at the same time someone who ate a whole bunch of aloe vera calls in, and the old lightbulb goes off and the just connect the two so the aloe eater can go induce vomiting on the burned person? Besides being disgusting, and ineffective, I'm pretty sure it's illegal.

Now I wish I'd asked for his social security and bank account numbers. If he asked why I'd just tell him I was a doctor. No one questions that. Just like I never ask why I have to disrobe entirely in the waiting room every time I visit. It must be necessary, OR THEY WOULDN'T ASK.

5 comments:

spotted_trinie said...

So, what's the word on the rash?

tallest asian guy on peaks island said...

wow, thanks for making me laugh out loud at work. People actually stared.

Andy said...

I've heard of this before -- it has something to do with Andy withdrawal.

Mel (spotted_trinie's mom) said...

So...had a similar experience and here's the scoop.....

After MANY appointments/phone calls concerning a persistant rash, all THEY could come up with was a diagnosis of "Idiopathic Skin Disorder", which in laymens terms means "Wedoeknow" and carries no real cure.

So, I think we KNOW who Idiots are........

Sam said...

All very discouraging news. I am going to explore full body skin grafts. I'd also like to be olive skinned, so I think I can kill two birds with one stone here.