Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's in the mail

Today I picked up my mother-in-law and drove 20 miles in the rain to the Russell Clinic. After dropping her off at the door, I circled the parking lot for almost half an hour looking for a space. Then I traversed the gauntlet from the parking lot to the hospital across the street, through a maze of corridors on various floors, finally arriving at the clinic.

As I walked toward the waiting room, I saw my mother-in-law get up and make her way toward me. She had her coat and hat on, so I assumed she was finished already. "That was fast," I remarked.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. It seems that her appointment wasn't today after all. They told her that they'd mailed her a letter informing her that her appointment had been moved to February 3.

It would be easy to blame my mother-in-law for not having this information, but I'm not going to. Maybe they sent her a letter; maybe they didn't. Maybe she got the letter; maybe she didn't. Whatever the case, that sort of communication is ridiculous in this day and age.

What sort of backward system mails a letter to give a patient a new appointment date? Why not just place a phone call? Not only would they be wasting money on postage (not to mention paper and envelopes) each time they sent such a letter, but they'd also have no confirmation that the patient ever received their correspondence.

Best of all, this is the second time this sort of incident has happened to us at the Russell Clinic. Luckily the first time though, we had been unsure of the appointment time, so we called first to confirm. Upon doing so, we were told that the appointment had been moved, and that they'd mailed a letter to let us know.

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