Monday, August 31, 2009

Healthcare Bureaucracy and Client Persistence

A couple weeks ago Kenny, a client I don't hear from often, called me, close to tears, and told me that he had been unsuccessful in trying to reach his healthcare provider to get him a new battery for his wheelchair. His chair stopped working a couple of weeks before that so he had called the company and someone did come out to look at his wheelchair and told him he needed a new battery. But from there to getting the battery -- Kenny wasn't able to get a straight answer from anyone, he told me. Due to his health condition not having a wheelchair meant he had no way of leaving his home without help. He relied on a good friend to take him to various appointments but his friend wasn't always able to take him because he worked two jobs.

After getting him a temporary wheelchair I started making the round of calls and was finally able to find the right person. The friendly rep checked the computer and told me an order for a new battery had been placed a week before. My client would be called within a day to follow up, she said. I thanked her and hung up the phone and thought to myself, all right, well, it's good to hear confirmation and know his insurance covered the battery as well. Two minutes pass and my client calls me and elatedly tells me his new battery arrived that morning!

Kenny thanked me for my help and went on to say that a few people had been on his side through this process. His good friend, he said, had been calling the provider as well for the past few weeks before he called me. And I said happily, well it's you and your friend's hard work that got you the battery! "Well you know,” he said and I could hear him still smiling, “it's every little help that matters."

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