You people are all so very sweet. Really. I love you all. Here, have a pony. No, wait—have two. But honest to Jesus, folks, you have PLEASE got to stop emailing to tell me that my data is recoverable. As I spelled out earlier today, it turns out that my MacBook had a Seagate drive with a known habit of, oh, BREAKING INTO PIECES. Apparently the heads snap off and scratch the disk all to shit as an added bonus. The result is that yes, I probably COULD pay upwards of two grand to have 20% of my data recovered in fragments, or I could just practice that thing called acceptance and move on with my life and my money. So.
But hey—three cheers for our hero Otto, because when he was at the Genius Bar the guy tried to give him another Seagate drive and Otto persuaded him to “make a mistake” and give him a different brand. Not that it was necessary, because now that I have automatic back-ups my computer will never die again. HMPH.
Anyway. Moving on! Let’s talk about how much I hate our HMO!
Last week—back before I had any idea that my weekend would feature the carnival of FUN I just experienced—it became clear to me that Monkey was in need of a doctor’s visit. Not just any doctor, though. OH NO. That would be TOO EASY. No, Monkey would need a specialist, because HE IS SPESHUL. And that would maximize the annoyance factor.
Being the good little HMO patient that I am, I called up the primary care doctor and explained the situation and asked for a referral.
“Oh. Well. Yes, that’s fine,” the nurse told me, “we’d be happy to sign off on that. You just go ahead and make an appointment and call us with the details, and we’ll do the authorization paperwork.”
“Great!” I said. “Except that, um, I don’t really know who to call. Do you have a recommendation for a local pediatric specialist you use?”
I can’t be certain, but I think that underneath the following sounds of CRICKETS CHIRPING I heard her giggling at my naÃ¯vetÃ©.
“No, we don’t have anyone,” she told me, once she’d collected herself. “Just find someone on your insurance and we’ll authorize it.” Well. No problem, then, right?
The nurse at our doctor’s office was kind enough to give me the phone number of the largest pediatrics office in town; she suggested I call them and explain the situation—that I am trying to track down a pediatric specialist who takes my insurance, and do they have someone whom they regularly recommend.
I called, detailed our predicament, and the woman on the phone REFUSED TO TALK TO ME. Because we’re not patients there—she told me, before hanging up on me—she is NOT ALLOWED to tell me anything. Thanks! I’ll be sure to check you guys out when I need a new pediatrician and hell has frozen over!
Then I spent some time gathering information; thanks to the magic of Twitter (Motto: Where you end up chatting with friends of friends of friends who then bring you produce!), I’ve recently befriended Yet Another University Type who seemed like she might be in the know about this sort of thing. I asked for some recommendations and before I knew what was happening, she had seemingly pinged everyone in her department, and I had a list of names. Awesome.
I cross-referenced the list with our insurance. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Yeah. The top three recommendations? Not covered.
Well, that was fine. I would call the fourth person on the list. He was covered!
He doesn’t see children under 13. Um, dude? That word, PEDIATRIC, I do not think it means what you think it means. Here’s a hint: The word you’re looking for is ADOLESCENT, not pediatric. You’re welcome!
I went and looked up the provider directory from my insurance company, online. They don’t list this particular specialty according to pediatric or not, so I was only able to obtain a list of names. I went down the list and called every name to ask if they see children. None of them do.
I then called the insurance company, you know, because that always works out so well.
They were very sympathetic, and by “very sympathetic” I mean that they left me on hold for twenty minutes.
The woman who finally came to my aid happily informed me that she’d found us a pediatric specialist over an hour away. When I pointed out that this is an issue which will likely require multiple appointments, and driving that far, weekly, isn’t terribly practical, she told me that as long as there is a qualifying doctor IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA they don’t have to find me someone closer.
Dudes. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but Georgia IS A REALLY BIG STATE. That’s… completely insane.
I asked to speak with a supervisor. She argued with me. I asked again. She argued some more. I reminded her that our call was being recorded for training purposes, and told her she’d done a great job (I even kept the gagging to a minimum), but that I really needed to speak with her supervisor NOW.
The supervisor came on the phone and told me all of the same stuff the other woman had, and assured me that it was all just great and fine, and by this time I had been working on this issue for multiple hours and I just lost it: I started to cry.
“Ma’am…?” she said.
“Look,” I finally managed. “I understand that you are just doing your job and telling me what you’re supposed to tell me. But what I need to tell you is that you’re supposed to be making this process EASIER for me, and instead you’re making it harder. We pay a lot of money for this insurance. The university pays a lot of money for this insurance. You’re supposed to be here to HELP US. At no point today has ANYONE said to me, ‘Hey, let me help you help your kid.’ Instead I’m being told the hundred different ways in which I am NOT allowed to get reasonable help for my child, and I have to tell you, IT’S NOT RIGHT. Do you think you could just set aside the bureaucrat-speak here for a few minutes and HELP ME? Please?”
There was a VERY LONG PAUSE, and then she said, “Yes, I think I can. Let me see what I can do, okay?”
The angels sang and the music swelled and bluebirds swayed in the trees. For about five minutes, I truly believed in the goodness of humanity.
Of course, she outlined a (very reasonable-sounding) game plan for me which included her calling me back the next day with some information, and that was last Thursday and I never heard back from her, so draw your own conclusions.
I hate this HMO so much, that after having gone through a similar process back in the fall when trying to find a covered therapist for the kids, I ended up going to someone NOT covered and paying out of pocket. Because at a certain point you just can’t keep screwing around, you know? And also because I want to someday be able to tell my children that not only are they breaking their mother’s heart, but DO THEY HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH MONEY I’VE SPENT ON THEIR THERAPY OVER THE YEARS? Anyway, the kids see a fabulous therapist at the university at their teaching facility, so when it came time for me to look for someone I could see, I decided I wouldn’t even bother with the stupid insurance—I’d just ask for a recommendation from the kids’ therapist for someone at the same facility.
Well, the good news is that I had my first appointment yesterday—on a holiday!—and I was really grateful to be able to get in so soon.
The bad news is that I think my therapist is about twelve. Oh, I KID! She has to be at least sixteen.
But hey, um, she had really pretty shoes. That totally makes up for the fact that I sort of wanted to make her a sandwich and remind her to finish her homework, right?