For me, customer service and responsiveness are of paramount importance when it comes to my relationship with my physician.
Dr. David Cohen is a terrific doctor. He obviously knows his stuff.
He is great to talk, entertaining really and takes the time to get to know you as his patient.
The area that is lacking is his surrounding team members.
His “bookkeeper” Ann, is a nightmare. So is his assistant, Meldrid who answers the phones and schedules appointments.
I had a situation come up recently that left me very unsatisfied. Allow me to explain:
I came in one day for a routine physical. This type of care is categorized as “preventative care” and therefore, covered 100% by most medical packages.
Dr. Cohen has an assistant named Anne. Upon arrival to said appointment I verified with Anne the category class of my physical examination and she confirmed that the treatment would be covered by my medical insurance provider.
Nearly a month later I received a bill for nearly $300!
I called Anne and she told me it was between me and my insurance company.
Wtf happened to not having to come out of pocket. Fair enough I thought, I called my insurance company and they informed me that the procedure was classified by the doctor as something other than “preventative care” and therefore, it was the doctor’s responsibility to correct it.
I followed up with my HR manager at work and she confirmed that a routine physical should be classified as “preventative care”.
My HR manager followed up with the the bookkepper Anne and the administrative assistant, Meldrid.
They said they would look into it and attempt to solve the problem.
Eventually, word got back to me from HR that the problem was solved.
Whew! Frustrating I thought but not too out of the ordinary.
Surely, these types of mistakes happen from time to time. I moved on.
Two weeks later I received a collection notice in the mail.
According to this document my payment was now over 60 days past due and if I did not pay in 10 days I would have a collection agency after me.
I immediately called Dr. Cohen’s infamous duo.
I spoke with Meldrid who said I had to speak with Anne.
Anne was either not in or busy so I would have to leave a message.
I left a message for both Anne and/or Dr. Cohen to call me back.
I was adamant about the fact that this was a serious matter and I would appreciate a call as soon as possible.
Neither called me back. I waited 2 days, still neither called me back. Finally, I called.
I spoke with the Meldrid again who, unsurprisingly deferred all blame and was absolutly no help at all.
She said that she “thinks” the problem has been resolved and “not to worry about it”.
Well, this was news to me. It was as I told them originally; Dr. Cohen coded the treatment incorrectly.
I reminded them that this was now the second time going through this time consuming and very frustrating process.
Why had no one notified me to tell me this was solved? And why was I simply blown off? This made absolutely no sense and to me, was unacceptable.
The ensuing conversation went something like this:
“Why didn’t anyone call me back on my original message?” “Well the Dr is busy (o.k. makes sense) and Anne didn’t have time to call you back (doesn’t make sense – isn’t calling back her PRIMARY responsibility or is “bookkeeping” a task that consumes all 8-hours of her working day).”
“Well then, may I speak with Anne,” I asked. A minute passes while Meldrid goes to retrieve Anne.
“No, she’s busy.” I should have known better a diligent bookkeeper doesn’t have time to respond to customer calls.
Needless to say I was fed up. I told the Meldrid that the service I have been receiving was way below any standard I was willing to accept and that this lack of service and poor communication would certainly have an impact on my decision to carry on as a patient of Dr. Cohen’s.
This was followed with a smug, “that’s fine.” Okay then, fine. Dr. Cohen and Company, you are dropped!
No disrespect to Dr. Cohen (although you could have called me back) but your team sucks.
I hope others will read this and think twice before getting involved with a good doctor who unfortunately is surrounded by a horrible team that will not return calls.
Update: I called Meldrid this morning after being advised by my HR manager that it would be wise to have proof of the payment being satisfied.
I asked for a document in writing that illustrated the proof of payment and I was hung-up on by Meldrid. Terrible….