Monday, December 21, 2009


Dear Grouchy, Disgruntled and Otherwise Unpleasant People Who Call Me at Work,

Let me start off by thanking you for calling me each day and not only wasting my time with your endless barrage of inane questions (most of which a small child could probably answer for you), but also for reminding me just how lucky I truly am to have, as they say, the sense that God gave a goat. I mean it. Each time you call I say a little prayer of gratitude that up to this point in my life I have managed not to make a fool of myself by asking such idiotic questions or treating another human being the way that you treat me.

That said, I realize that "Hospital Administrator" sounds an awful lot like "Medical Doctor" and can see how you would get those two terms confused. I understand that when you're upset the most logical thing to do is to call the first Hospital number you can find in the phone book and start yelling at whoever is lucky enough to answer the phone. This makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, why wouldn't everyone in the hospital be thoroughly familiar with your particular story and set of circumstances and able to give you exactly what you want?

I'm writing you this letter today with the hope that I can clear a few things up for you because I know how confusing everything in the medical world in general, can be. First things first, as crazy as this is, I can't write a prescription for you. I know, I know...the injustice of it all! You're preaching to the choir, baby. But I can't do it. For some silly reason the powers that be have decided not to award prescription writing privileges to anyone who doesn't have an M.D. after their name. Self-righteous exclusivists. But they make the rules and if you call and ask me to write you a Rx I will have to politely say "No." If you call back and ask again I will still say, "No," only slightly less politely because, haven't we been over this already? Now the third time you call and ask you're going to start irritating me a bit and if you're bold enough to try a fourth time...well, I don't recommend trying that fourth time. As my mom would say, "Do NOT make me tell you this again."

Next let's talk about money. Yes, I realize that I work for the CFO and yes, I realize that the "F" in that stands for Financial and in your mind, Financial = all things money. Certainly things would be much simpler if that were the case but unfortunately, here at the hospital we like to do things a little less straightforward. We have an entire Finance Department here! Crazy, huh? And on top of that, we have a whole other department that handles Patient Billing! And here's the kicker; not only are neither of those departments located in my office, one of them isn't even located in this state! You know what that means? When you call and demand that I let you talk to the CFO because you don't think you should have to pay your bill, my hands are tied. I know this is a tough one to wrap your brain around but the CFO does not actually handle any individual patient accounts. If I let you talk to him he wouldn't be able to answer your questions. Trust me on this. When I tell you you really need to call the Billing Department, I say it with all the love in the world and your best interests in mind.

(As a side note, when you do finally figure out the magical formula for absolving yourself of all financial responsibility and for getting out of paying for anything just because you don't want to, let me know. I've got a student loan that by golly, I ought not to have to pay for)!

The last thing I'd like to bring up hits a little closer to home for me. It really offends me when you call and ask me the same question over and over again and imply that you don't believe what I am telling you. Why do you call if you're not going to trust what I say? Ask yourself this; what motive would I possibly have for lying to you? You don't even believe me when I tell you things that are public information and that you could easily verify if you took fourteen seconds to look at our website. If I don't know the answer to your question I will tell you I don't know the answer and promptly set about trying to find it. But if I tell you I know something then don't question that! It hurts my feelings and makes me less inclined to be friendly to you.

In closing, I would just like to reiterate how much I appreciate our relationship and how I so look forward to your calls each day. If you should have any questions about the things we've discussed today, please feel free to give me a call (God knows you have my number).

Hugs and Kisses,

P.S. I don't care if your uncle's cousin's boyfriend said it's ok; I can't give out patient records either. Sorry.

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