Second-Class Citizenry Problems

While I am grateful to have Medi-Cal insurance provided by the State of California, I feel that because I am poor that I am being treated like a second-class citizen.

Allow me to provide a brief explanation regarding medical transportation: I can schedule round trip (driver waits up to twenty minutes for me) or will call trip (I call when I am done with treatment/appointment and may have to wait up to ninety minutes for ride home). It was explained to me by Beverly Hills Cancer Center that my treatments would only last about 5-10 minutes (actually 30 seconds undergoing radiation), so I scheduled round trip for the first treatment. Well, the doctor’s office was running behind despite being the second patient on the schedule and this causes undue stress on me to get out of there within 20 minutes, so as not to miss my ride. Fortunately, I caught the right home, but learned from this that will call would be less stressful if I changed all my scheduled round trips to will call trips.

I should have known the minute my medical transportation arrived early today that I was in for a load of frustration. When I schedule medically necessary transportation, I am given a pick-up window of and hour to half-an-hour before my appointment time. Today the driver arrived an hour before my appointment time. I was fortunate that I was able to be seen prior to my appointment time, finishing my radiation treatment ten minutes BEFORE my appointment time, 7:05 a.m.

I call medical transportation for my ride home, aware that I may have to wait up to ninety minutes. Fortunately, I always have crochet/knitting project on hand. At 8:35 a.m. I call back inquiring “where’s  my ride.” I am told that my ride should pick me up by 9:30 am. Unaware of the time and developing a headache, I set to knitting. As I am sitting there, it dawns an me that I am now waiting an additional 55 minutes for my ride. I call back, angry now. I express my frustration with Alex and ask him to connect me with a supervisor. Already angry, I am appalled that I have to wait a few minutes on hold before I am connect with Nicholas P. After interrogating Nicholas (did he know I had asked to be connected to a supervisor? was he aware that I was already angry?), I discover that he is not even the supervisor!

At 9:30 a.m. I am back on the phone again to medical transportation, inquiring again “where’s my ride?” Alex calls the transportation company and tells me the driver is outside circling the building, looking for me. What the fuck!? I have previously asked them to call me upon arrival and I will walk out to the auto, as there was some confusion previously and another patient thought my ride was her’s.

Let’s talk about my pet peeve: so-called professionals that cannot keep an appointed time. Because the doctor’s office can’t stay on schedule, I have to schedule will call trips (two-trips versus one round trip). And then I have to deal with transportation that does not know how to keep a commitment, wasting my time. If I was to act that irresponsibly on a job, you can bet your sweet ass I would be fired. And therein lies the irony of my situation. I have such a high work ethic, yet I have not been able to secure stable employment since 2007! Then again, there are other issues at hand that may be preventing my employment, such as two felonies and a bad credit history, but I digress.

Now that the fire has been ignited, I remember that I am still awaiting a referral to an Endocrinologist, which was suggested on January 6, 2016 so that I could get my PET Scan. I find it odd that the radiation oncologist is telling me what to do when it comes to a doctor referral. In my world the radiation oncologist should be contacting my primary care physician and explaining the medical necessity for the referral. In the meantime, I am done with following up with the Venice Family Clinic pharmacist who is unprofessional when it comes to seeing a patient at an appointed time and I am very interested in following up with an Endocrinologist because now I am experiencing complications related to my diabetes. I call L. A. Care to find out that a referral was never submitted!

I have filed two grievances with L. A. Care Health Plan: one regarding medical transportation, one regarding my referral. I have already heard from the grievance department while composing this blog post.