Thursday, May 22, 2008

Policy for Policy's sake

This week, I had to take K in for a scout physical so she can go to scout camp in a couple of weeks. J's work has a new onsite clinic that they've been advertising heavily, trying to build up business. The neat thing about it is they offer $5 co-pays (as opposed to $30 if I go anywhere else). Since J raves about it, and I really liked the PA I met when they had their open house, I decided to take her there.

Our appointment was for 4:15. As I was getting the kids ready to go, S cut her knee. Wailing and gnashing of teeth soon followed. She needed a bandaid to walk. So, I found a bandaid, and fixed her up. Then she needed to go potty. Well, that is the one free pass a recently potty-trained child has in our house. After she finished, I hustled the kids into the car and we drove over. Unfortunately afternoon traffic had hit, so we were later than planned.

I parked in front of the clinic at 4:25. We are the only car in the area, other than the two cars parked in the 'staff only' spots. I unload all four kids in full view of the receptionist. S & Z have fallen asleep, and are crying as we walk in because they didn't want to wake up. At this point, it's about 4:28. I apologized to the receptionist for being late, but tell her we had a 4:15 appointment. She says that because we are more than 15 minutes late, we have to reschedule the appointment. I asked her really nicely to make an exception, but she was adamant that it was policy. I looked at my watch and pointed out that it was only 4:28. She said that according to HER computer, it was currently 4:30.

So, I figure she either cancelled the appointment while she had us in view or was talking to us, or she cancelled it early. Either way, even by her computer, we were less than 30 seconds outside of their 15 minute late window.

She then says that a scout physical takes a FULL half hour to complete. Seriously? I've had doctors spend less time with me when I was delivering a baby. I really doubt a scout physical will take that long.

Anyway, even though there were no patients there, and we supposedly had the doctor's time until 4:45, we weren't allowed to see the PA. The receptionist (who seemed to be looking a bit smug and totally unsympathetic) offered to reschedule.

I replied while I understand their policy, MY policy is to go to doctors where the staff has some flexibility and understands when things come up. Yes, I was in the wrong when I was late. I understood that, and was sorry about it. But if there was no other appointments to mess up, what is the big deal about just cutting the appointment a little short? Honestly, if the receptionist had said that she was really sorry, but the PA was seeing another patient, and would be tied up with him/her until closing, I would've been a lot nicer about the whole thing. But the idea of being turned away, even when the PA was just sitting there, doing paperwork or whatever seems ridiculous to me.

I then told the kids we were going to go to a different doctor, and I'm ashamed to say I probably actually stomped out.

After that, I went to the Layton Kids Care Clinic. I love this place. It's in the white IHC building just off Antelope in Layton. The Kids' Clinic is open from 5pm to 10pm (?), and is a walk in clinic. No appointment necessary. And because evening hours are their regular operating hours, you pay the regular clinic co-pay, and not an instacare or after hours co-pay, so it's much cheaper than many other after hours places there. We walked in there about 5:20. Got our names on the list, and waited about 15 minutes. We then spent about 5 minutes with the assistant who did K's vitals, and then led us to the room. The doctor was very personable, sweet, and competent. He chatted with all of the kids, and gave K a good exam. Talked with us a little about her asthma. Then filled out the form and was on his way. I didn't feel like we were shorted at all in time. S decided she needed to potty then, so we went potty and were gone. We were loaded in the car and driving home before 6pm.

If that doctor could do all that in less than 15 minutes of face time, why couldn't that on-site clinic? I'm beginning to see why they are usually pretty deserted.

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