Have you ever been treated poorly at a pharmacy or other healthcare provider?
Too Nice = Less Respect If You Are A Caregiver.
A few days ago I went in to our local 24 hour pharmacy and was treated disrespectfully by a new pharmacist behind the counter. The more I tried to fix the problem with a prescription I was picking up, the less helpful he became. Then it hit me - I looked like h*ll. I had been caring for a parent with pneumonia for a full 10 days and was exhausted. I was wearing a pony tail, t-shirt and jeans and I was old, I was being nice and obviously must have been acting like a typical caregiver - being nicer than I should to try to fix a problem. Although the information in his system was wrong, he would not take the time to research the error - instead he suggested that I call my insurance carrier as it was showing "expired". He made the point that the conversation was over by picking up the bag with my prescription and tossing it to a basket across the workspace. Discussion over. Go away. With no prescription I was forced to go home and wait until I could confirm with my insurer that there was *no expiration* on the prescription benefit. They added that the pharmacist was wrong and should have given me a few day's supply if he was not willing to fix the billing issue. When I contacted the pharmacy's customer service line they said they were sorry I was frustrated.
Then I got mad. I told the CSR that I had been up with little sleep and no help for 10 days and referenced the multiple prescriptions my parent had at that pharmacy. I pointed out that I was there at midnight to pick up a necessary prescription for me that was overdue and could not wait. I followed it up with the fact that I had been a loyal customer. The CSR said "sorry". I said, No you don't understand. I am one of millions of tired old ladies who are caring for a loved one - we do it for free, manage everything including building relationships with healthcare providers to AVOID these problems and the value of all of our services total $470 Billion a year. The CSR said "sorry". I was still very angry and then I said in a quiet voice, OK, you are "sorry" - but I still have to get this prescription at the copay amount, not full retail due to your pharmacists' mistake. How will I do that until I can get a free minute to drive 20 miles back to the pharmacy - probably at night. Can you guarantee the problem will be fixed? She said "sorry, I can't guarantee anything". That is up to you to talk to the pharmacist about. I said wait a minute - why don't you call the pharmacy for me and fix the problem ... "sorry" we can't do that. As your insurer to do that. What? Why can't you fix the problem, make amends and have the prescription delivered to our house? "No, I'm afraid not - sorry". I began to cry. At that point the CSR broke down and said this
"I know what you are going through, you sound just like my mom who is caring for my dad who has cancer". I truly am sorry, but the corporation that I work for won't let me do anything other than log this call as a customer complaint. Someone is supposed to get back to you within 3 business days." Now I felt bad, and I said "sorry; I know it must be hard for you as well sharing the burden with your mom. I truly appreciate the fact that you listened and talked to me like a human being. I would like a favor from you". She said OK, if I can and here is what I finally said after I put on my big girl pants and realized that nothing corporations say or do is there for caregivers and nothing will ever change unless we change it the only way we can. Here is what I said:
"I am transferring my prescriptions, never shopping at the ______ chain again, going on social media and yelp to complain and sharing my story with every other caregiver on forums (like this one)."
She chucked and then laughed. "OK, I'll write that down, she said" and then she added - "give them hell, you DO sound alot like my mom".
So my question is twofold - 1. what is YOUR Story? Share it here - discuss it and let's raise enough awareness that the companies that don't recognize us start paying attention. 2. What Else Is Bugging You As A Caregiver?
I feel better writing this - now I am no longer sorry.