Friday, December 12, 2008

Do You Hear It? Do You Hear It?

It's the sound of me banging my head against the wall. Over and over.

Why, you ask?

If I have to call my home health company one more time to yell at them discuss problems with Dovi's supply order, I will lose my mind. I'm warning you, this is long, and detailed. It will be enjoyed tremendously by the other moms in my boat, but those of you who don't deal with this day in and day out will be bored senseless. Don't say I didn't warn you.

A little background:

How old is Dovi? Oh yes, he's 11 years old. He's had a feeding tube since he was what? Oh yes, two weeks old. So we've been getting medical supplies for what? Oh yes, 11 years. And from where? Oh yes, the same company for all 11 years. Which hasn't been a problem for what? Oh yes, the previous 10 years 8 months.

I've heard other special needs parents and caregivers talk about the problems they have with their medical supply orders. The mistakes, omissions, forgotten deliveries, insurance problems, and on and on. And let me tell you, I felt pretty darn cocky. I LOVE(D) my supply company. Notice the (D). They were timely. They didn't mess up my orders. All insurance got processed correctly. They basically did the job correctly, a rare occurrence in this day and age.

Well, my dears, all has changed.

Let's call my home health company, say, HHA ( Home Health Agency-not their name. I'd like to avoid libel suits). For the previous 10 years 8 months, I would call the main (800) number from HHA to place my order. They were the clearinghouse for all orders fulfilled by HHA, a national company. Then, my order would be fulfilled by the somewhat local warehouse. Let's call said warehouse SW (Skokie Warehouse. They're not in Skokie. Again, I'd like to avoid libel.)

Well, about 4 months ago, HHA decided that to streamline operations (ie cut costs), customers would no longer call the (800) number at HHA to place orders, but instead, call the SW directly.

Big mistake, my dears, big freaking mistake.

Since SW started taking my orders, I have had headache after headache after headache. To illustrate:
  • they delivered the same INCORRECT type of Pedialyte to me, not once, not twice, but three times. As in the same box of incorrect item was redelivered to me three days in a row. Every day, I'd call and say "You sent us the 1 L bottles, not the 8 oz bottles. We do not use 1 L bottles. We've been getting the 8 oz bottles for 10 years 8 months. Please send us the 8 oz bottles" They'd apologize. Rinse, repeat.
  • They took my order and did not record it. For the record, Dovi gets a nutty amount of supplies. G-tube supplies, formula, oxygen supplies, and basic nursing supplies. It takes about 15 minutes to place an order. After a few days passed and nothing arrived, I called. They had no record of the order placement. We had to wait almost another week for the order.
  • They, for some reason, unbeknownst to me, have billed everything to my insurance (thousands of dollars per month), except two boxes of latex gloves from August. Which I keep receiving bills for. We get two boxes of gloves per month. Our nurse likes to wear gloves sometimes. HHA bills our insurance every month for said gloves. Our insurance pays every month for said gloves. So, why can they not, despite my 4 calls to clear it up, bill my insurance for the two boxes from August?
  • As I said before, every month I get Dovi's delivery. Remember, every month? I also work. Which means that every month when they deliver my order, 9 times out of 10, I am not home. Cause I'm at work? I also have a screened in porch on the side of my house. The house I have lived in for 6 years. So the lovely delivery guys leave my order in the side porch. I Benjie brings it in that night. I was supposed to be getting my order on Wednesday. It wasn't there. I figured they were running late and it would be there on Thursday. So Thursday afternoon, I came home from work and found a message on my answering machine that they needed to schedule a time to redeliver the order because they can't leave it due to the weather. Now I get it. It is snowy and cold here in Chicago. But we've been getting our orders left in our screened in porch for the past 6 years, and the previous 5 years before that when we were apartment dwellers, on our front porch! What the heck? I called. I yelled. Nicely, of course. My order came by courier at 6:30 pm. I don't give a crap that they had to pay overtime.
  • Umm the order that came last night? Wrong. Well it was 99% right. G-tube buddies, we get 2 g-tube kits per month, 5 blue tip 24 inch extension sets (for medicine and Pedialyte boluses and overnight feeds), and 5 y-tip 24 inch extension sets (for his feeding pump). What did they send us? 3 g-tube kits, 5 blue tips, and no y tips. Kinda right. But in g-tube feeding land, kinda is not good enough. It must be correct. It was not.
So I just called the main (800) number. Got transfered to a manager (who is in the SW!). Told him my tale of woe and that I wanted my orders taken through the main (800) number. He told me I can't anymore. I said I don't want to use the SW anymore. He told me that if I'd like I can use the LW (Lincolnshire Warehouse. No, it's not in Lincolnshire. That whole libel thing again). I told him that's what I'd like, no I don't freaking care that the LW is really far away and they'll need to ship the formula by UPS and incur tons of extra delivery cost. Soooooo not my problem. I told him that if that doesn't work I'm leaving HHA altogether. After 11 years. Oh and by the way, where are my darned 5 y-tip extension sets? But thank you for the extra $200 g-tube kit. We'll enjoy it.

He's calling me back. Lovely.

And on to other things, I won the passive aggressive light bulb contest in my house. I adore my hubby. He's amazing. He rocks the husbandry world. He helps me clean up the kitchen after cooking on Thursday nights without me asking! He's been known to (gasp) take out the garbage, again, without me asking! Shocking, I know.

But Benjie, bless his soul, does. not. change. lightbulbs. The man just does not notice them. I guess until we'd be living in darkness. I hate burned out bulbs. I think it looks like you're just not on top of your house and its appearance. So over a week ago, two bulbs burned out- a bulb in one of our kitchen chandeliers, and one in the front hall. Yesterday, one burned out in the dining room chandelier. So of the four chandeliers on the first floor, three had burned out bulbs. I've been waiting. Finally, I gave in. I changed them all this morning. Benjie said I wasn't being fair. Whatever.

I've got bigger fish to fry. As in the stupid HHA.


Orah said...

well I read this whole thing, and I feel your frustration, with both the medical supply company and the lack of working bulbs. I hope this problem gets corrected soon. Hospitals, Insurance Companies, Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Supply Companies, have unfortunately all become money making businesses, (forgetting) ignoring the fact that actual breathing, feeling, people are involved. And husbands sometimes forget too. Good luck with the change to another warehouse location and the change of bulbs.

Shosh said...

alright i read this whole thing too and i was not bored. i find it incredible that this is the first time youve had a problem, since in my experience, 99% of the people out there are just sort of dumb. hope it gets worked out for u quickly. with minimal energy wasted on your part yelling at them. thats a whole lot of wasted coupon time.

Rachelz said...

wow, that is craziness Sara. This is seriously a full time job in and of itself to stay on top of the medical and supplier profession so make sure that they don't mess it up! Maybe you could sell the extra supplies they send you on e-bay and make money to buy another pair of Uggs? Just kidding, but wow, craziness.
My husband and I both play a game in our house whereby we both ignore the garbage and hope the other takes it out. I always win, I can't stand mess better than he can.
Have a good shabbos!

elisha said...

again, I read this too and on a smaller scale feel the pain of dealing with insurance and buracracy. I fought for an out of network referral for one of my daughters for OT (because I didn't want to be on a waiting list forever) and it has been a nightmare of phone calls and paperwork. She's been going for close to 2 years and yet the same problems continue to crop up over and over. It can take hours to straighten it up on the phone! And I am not nearly as assertive as I should be-but I am learning! Good luck and stand your ground!

elana said...

i hear you loud and clear. i have gotten so aggressive over the years because of things like this. unfortunately you just have to be. i really hope things get cleared up quickly and without too many more hassles. good luck!

Stash Empress said...

Welcome to my world... fwiw, we pay for our own pedialyte - and we get *one* -- count 'em -- *one* box of gloves per *month* paid by insurance + medicaid --- we use approx 3 boxes per *week* -- which we buy from local pharmacy for $5/box (as opposed to the $9/box that our DME co would charge us for the same gloves)

Gotta go order a case, thanks for reminding me ;-)


Haley Nicodemus said...

I actually find all of it very interesting. I couldn't even imagine what you deal with on a daily basis.

AND the whole lightbulb thing...if you look at my post where we are decorating the tree, you can see where about 4 out of 6 lightbulbs are burned out. However, we will both wait until the other does it, therefore it is never done! I finally will complain (probably tonight) and he will replace the bulbs. :)