Dr. Amy Warriner / Ageist insults, disorganization, lost files, rude staff
First of all, it took five weeks to get someone on the phone to even be able to make an appointment. My regular doctor who wanted me to see an endocrinologist was given a referral line number that no one would ever answer. My doctor's nurse was so sweet about the problem, but finally told me she was really busy and it was taking up her time trying repeatedly to call. She'd even called the regular office number for the Kirklin Clinic Endocrinology Clinic, but the insolent, rude young lady with a chip on her shoulder told her to "keep trying the referral line." When my nurse told me that, I told her I'D handle it.
So, I called the regular office line, spoke to this "gatekeeper" who obviously doesn't want to be bothered with interruptions in her day by pesky things such as job duties, and she would not even allow me to speak. She was trying to talk over me, constantly interrupting. I had to get FIRM and tell her that I was laying in bed, recovering from surgery and needed to get an appointment, but we couldn't make one because my doctor's office couldn't reach anyone to take care of the referral process... and we had NO MORE PATIENCE for the situation. I would have found another clinic, but this was the only one taking new patients.
I told the girl I was not hanging up until she gave me the name of THE person to speak with about the referrals so I could tell my doctor's office who to ask for when they called back. So, I got that taken care of. My appointment was made for two months later, which was a very long time to have to wait in my condition. Bear in mind that five weeks had already passed and I should have been seen by an endocrinologist immediately. I just needed some more extensive testing done to rule out some problems (to help find out what led to my needing surgery).
I received a pre-registration packet containing standard intake paperwork. I completed it, noted my insurance information - and I had it faxed to them just as a failsafe. I also sent them the originals and followed up to ensure their receipt. The day of the appointment, I showed them my insurance card as well. So, all those bases should have been sufficiently covered.
The day of my appointment, they could not find the medical records my other doctor forwarded to them. They had confirmed to me that they'd received them, but the hostile, apathetic support staff tried to tell me they never got them! They were trying to lie to cover for themselves because they knew they'd misplaced them and didn't want to look for them. The thing is, they won't make an appointment until after they've received the records from the referring physician's office!
I'd had a feeling there would be problems because of the initial run-around I experienced in simply making an appointment, so I wrote down the name of the employee who told me the records had come through - as well as the date & time we spoke. The employee stood there and flatly lied, saying she never told me that. The doctor became thoroughly irritated while the staff remained seated and went on about their business, unconcerned that I had no records for the doctor to review. The doctor, clearly agitated, swiftly and firmly, with her jaw locked tight with exasperation, flounced out the door and scooted about the office searching for my faxed records. She found them and came back. It was quite obvious she was seething, and I couldn't blame her a bit because her staff is obviously a bunch of lazy, dishonest shrews who feel a strange sense of entitlement but have no work ethic. They felt THEIR time was infinitely more valuable than the doctor's!
When my records were secured and the consultation/exam was ready to proceed, the doctor looked at only the first page of my records and saw that I have fibromyalgia - and that I recently had a partial hysterectomy (the surgery mentioned earlier). Without asking me any further questions, she said, "Oh, well... THAT'S why you feel bad! You're in menopause!" That caught me off guard because any physician should know that a partial hysterectomy is not the same thing as an oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) - and what I had undergone would in no way affect my hormone balance, as the surgeon had assured me. I had to point out to this endocrinologist that I'd not had the type of surgery that would cause menopause. Plus, my problems pre-dated this surgery by 14-1/2 years! Absolutely no corellation between them. She acted insulted that I "corrected" her, but there was no way I could just keep silent and not point that out. The thing is, she wasn't even going to order tests, and that was the whole idea behind a visit to an endocrinologist.
I was also having problems with ataxia, fatigue, lethargy, symptoms of hypoxia - and the original doctor suggested that I be checked for problems with my adrenal glands, which do much more than produce adrenaline. I had all the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. But the endocrinologist, who is a young, attractive, fresh-faced woman in her late 20s, popped off a bizarre comment that I couldn't believe was coming out of the mouth of a professional health care provider. Bear in mind that I am only 37 years old, which is by no means old and decrepit. I also am very petite, at 5'2 and 115 pounds. People think I am younger than I actually am. But the endocrinologist said, "Well, at YOUR age, you're gonna have to expect that you're gonna feel BAD."
My husband and I just sat there stunned for a minute, and we glanced over at each other... and I said, "Gee; I'm only 37 years old. I have friends who are 20 and 30 years older who can run circles around me." I've never had that said to me. Because my problems are hard to see and I appear to be healthy, I HAVE been told that I'm "too young to have this much wrong" with me, I "look fine" and that I "don't look like I'm sick" - but I've never heard that someone my age is going to feel awful and have all these problems because it is age-related. That was a new one. She was ready once again to just dismiss my problems, ignore the fundamental reason I was there (to get tests performed) and cut me loose. I wasn't even there to be examined by her; my physician just wasn't equipped to perform the more detailed testing that an endocrinology clinic can perform. The results were supposed to be sent back to the referring physician.
Well, while I'm sitting there having all my very real health problems dismissed and essentially being told that I'm an old, ancient, hormonal battle axe at just 37 years old, I'm struggling to sit up straight because I'm so weak, lethargic and in such allover pain. I reminded her I was there to have tests. I wanted to get finished so I could go back home and get horizontal. They forwarded me to the clinic's lab on another floor. We stood in line and gave my insurance card again, and the employee for some reason was having problems understanding the information. My husband was having to prop me up so I didn't collapse in the floor (I only have 50% blood volume, which remains untreated by [censored] doctors!). We went on to the waiting area and waited two hours to have six vials of blood drawn.
The phlebotomist in the lab was a rude, cold witch, clearly because of my race. She was smiling and warming greeting and chit-chatting others, but even when I tried to engage in polite conversation, she responded to me with short, snippy answers. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable because she made an obvious difference. If the situation was reversed and she was the one being treated in that manner, she would file an EEOC complaint. This woman was a brooding, seething racist and didn't try to hide it. I remained polite and friendly despite the overt rudeness - and I just tried to make sure I got out of there without being bruised from her rough poking and grabbing and twisting my arm around like I was a rag doll with no nerve endings.
A week passed - and my physician who referred me told me they hadn't received the results. Two weeks passed - and still, nothing. After three weeks, I called and they said they'd mailed me the results. Well, what do you know? The NEXT day, I had an envelope from them in my mailbox... and guess what the postmark date was? If you said "the day before, " you'd be right! So, they lied once again. I was even more perturbed to see that some key tests I needed were not performed. All this had been a waste of time! I vowed I'd never return to this doctor or to anyone in this clinic because of the stark obviousness of their personnel issues (lazy, hostile, apathetic employees who lie to cover themselves and care nothing about doing what they're supposed to do in the first place so covering up isn't necessary).
A month later, I began receiving persistent calls from this clinic's billing department. They said I hadn't submitted my insurance information! I couldn't believe it. I gave it to them again. A few weeks later, I received yet another call stating that I didn't give them my insurance information. I told the girl that this was the second time they'd called, and yes, I HAD provided it more than once. Since then, I have received two additional phone calls - and both times, they said they had no record of having spoken to me and being given my insurance information over the phone. The last time, the employee got snarky, trying to sound stoically professional, yet effusive and curt, everything I said to her was interrupted by a "What? ExCUSE me? ExCUUUSE me, ma'am?" - as if she couldn't understand me! She kept insisting on a street address for for insurance billing, but my insurance company doesn't accept paper claims; they only accept electronic claims, which is obviously more efficient. This obtuse little employee told me she would NOT accept my insurance information if I didn't give her a mailing address.
I tried once again to tell her that the claims are submitted online, and I told her the website. She interrupted me and said, "May-um, Um, MAY-UM! I will NOT take that information..." Now, I am still very sick and my patience was worn thin by the repeat problems with these same people, but the terse, pushy, idiotic manner of this employee and her feigning the inability to understand me while constantly interrupting me just crawled all over me and I'd HAD it. I told the employee, "LOOK. You take this information, or you don't take it. If you don't, do NOT call me back. And if you DO take it, don't call me back! And you list in your notes that you spoke to me today. This is the last time I'm dealing with this and your hostile, unprofessional attitude." She acted as if I'd insulted HER.
She started running her mouth, and I told her I was hanging up. She still wouldn't take my insurance information. I asked for her supervisor, and she placed me on hold. When she came back, she asked me for my group/member number and the website for claims submission. I again insisted that she document having spoken to me. But somehow, I doubt this was done... having experienced prior utter disorganization. I don't see how they operate with employees such as the ones I encountered! I am sure that I did not just encounter the only rude, lazy, incompetent employees in the clinic (and billing office); this has to be a problem of epidemic proportions throughout the organization.
If I was DYING, I would not go back to Kirklin Clinic! Even with medical records and information from the referral right in front of her, the doctor made some very badly erroneous calls and was ready to blame all my health problems on something that wasn't even an issue... and she wasn't even going to fulfill the purpose of my visit. The staff couldn't even keep up with either my medical records or my billing records - and they're full of terribly misdirected racist hate and angst. On top of the racist attitudes, the lab employee who drew my blood handled my small arms roughly on purpose, jabbing me, flopping my arm around and being a total rude, hostile [censored]. Then, billing is thoroughly inept and unnecessarily difficult and brusque in their communication.
It's bad enough to be sick, but when you have difficulty at every single angle of a clinical visit/procedure - and it continues for seven months AFTER the visit, why would anyone want to return to this place for care and treatment? Illness causes enough stress; a health care provider, the staff and billing personnel shouldn't cause even further stress due to ineptitude.