Time to look for a new job? Lacking the resources to help patients...
April 9, 2014 9:57 PM   Subscribe

I've been working for a medical supply company for almost a year now within the medical records department. Excited at first when I started last May of 2013 after being laid off for 3 months from my optical job for 8 years. Double the pay plus benefits to boot. Fast forward to April now and I've become semi-miserable the past 2-3 weeks.

The main purpose of Medical records is to collect documents from doctor offices in order to provide equipment/supplies for people's sleep apnea. Without the completion of these records, we cannot provide supplies to the clients thus being denied by the insurance. Straight to the point, there's only me and another woman in our department who are taking inbound calls for the whole US in our dept. The other 4 people in the same department are not taking inbound calls so they can focus on collecting records from the doctor offices. It's been ongoing for 2+ weeks with a good chunk of the calls being a conflict-management process.

Patients have complained of the following: taking too long to get records, long hold times on the queue, and lack of return phone calls from certain individuals is one of the main culprits why people are dissatisfied with our company. About a few weeks ago, our new COO wanted less hold times for patients thus more people were thrusted into the phones as there were 7-8 people on the queues in Medical Records for the sake of "bettering" customer satisfaction. Eventually that went away, and there's only 2 of us taking calls.

I'm expected to resolve medical record issues with patients as fast as possible to take more inbound calls on the queue. Unfortunately, there are some calls that can't be resolved in less than five minutes, and trying to end the conversation in less than 5 minutes reduces the quality in helping the patient. To top it off, a good chunk of them call in already pissed off and ready to go to another supplier. Not sure how long they plan to keep up this two-man crew, but I'm totally burnt out. It doesn't help that a bunch of other people in other departments don't pick up my calls when I need them for assistance. Since I'm on the call-queue, I have to stay within the designated 10 min break while the people NOT on the queue would be gone for 10-15 minutes throughout the day.

Has anyone had a similar experience working in the type of environment that I just described? I love to help patients, but the resources aren't there to maximize one's potential thus I'm looking elsewhere such as a hospital..
posted by tnar23 to Work & Money (12 answers total)
Are any of the suppliers the patients would go to located in your area? Send your resume to them. Your company seems extremely mIsmanaged, perhaps terminally. Co-workers not working, managers not managing....does the owner have a gambling problem or something?
posted by rhizome at 10:54 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

My friend worked in a different industry but under similar circumstances. The upper upper management intended to run the company into the ground on purpose for financial shenanigans and personal gain.


Once you are out, maybe post anonymous customer reviews on YELP ? Or someplace similar?? (Use a burner email and handle + a library computer, not your own.)

If there are other providers out there, your reviews will help customers avoid this provider.


While this is super common on a large and small scale, let me help you conceptualize it....

Remember that story arc from the Sopranos where the guy that played the Terminator Robot in Terminator2 owned a sporting goods store and he got into some gambling trouble with Tony Soprano's crew? And then they "took over" the sporting goods store via his gambling debts, bought heaps of goods on credit, then bankrupted the business and walked away with ALL the goods without consequence?

This scenario you describe is the equivalent. It's really common right now in the US.

posted by jbenben at 11:28 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whoa! I just read rhizome's comment above mine...

"... does the owner have a gambling problem or something?"


I did not mean to echo that suspicion, rather, I meant to illuminate what I genuinely believed to be a scam scenario based on recent research and IRL anecdotes.

Remember Greece? Same thing there. Iceland narrowly avoided this fate.

Like I said, this is happening on large and smaller scales.

My friend worked for a prominent media company in the US, probably 4x's or so the size of your current firm. I just read today that Clear Channel (who owns A LOT) is 21 BILLION dollars in debt, yet going through a "successful" restructuring....

Seriously, run away from this mess.
posted by jbenben at 11:41 PM on April 9, 2014

Response by poster: jbenben, I dread going to work nowadays. A redeeming feature is that I'm graduating next month with my BS degree in Health Administration. Hopefully, at least on paper, that will help me get a gig at steadier organizations sooner than later. I'm tired of trying to help patients when people neglect to return their calls. Earlier in the morning, I was trained for a hour to upload documents into the system while taking inbound calls. I don't have the time to upload documents when I'm trying to troubleshoot why certain accounts have been pending for so long in getting the necessary documents. Just to take a ten minute break, I have to inform my manager to make sure the queue isn't backed up. What you've read so far isn't even half of it unfortunately..
posted by tnar23 at 11:56 PM on April 9, 2014

Sounds like your company needs to hire more people. In the meantime, this isn't your problem - definitely be applying for other positions elsewhere.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:20 AM on April 10, 2014

It's common practice look for a new job that accepts your degree before you actually have it in hand. Start looking. Your college may also have job resources.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:53 AM on April 10, 2014

My wife has dealt with countless medical supply organizations over the last 20 odd years due to diabetes. You probably don't want to hear this, but your experience sounds normal for the industry. She is constantly on the phone trying to get insulin pump supplies shipped. Supplies that ship every three months, on an order that never changes, yet never shows up without her on the phone with the supply company and the manufacturer and the insurance company, all blaming each other for the problems. The customer service reps get caught in the crossfire.

If you stay in the industry don't expect the next gig to be much better.
posted by COD at 5:22 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

In general, I think, if you dread going to work then you should look for a new job while continuing to show up to the current job. Nothing here changes that.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:09 AM on April 10, 2014

Hit your university's job centre ASAP. Get help on making your resumé shine like the superpowered gold it will be. Make sure it lists everything you do at this ridiculous overextended mess of a place and also points out your kickass new Health Administration degree.

Apply, apply, apply. Interview, interview, point out all the awesome stuff you do at the terrible place, and say that you're looking to expand your skills or something like that.

With the degree, help from your university, and the level of work you'll pulling here, you'll find something new, better, and you can just throw this company to the wolves.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:19 AM on April 10, 2014

I worked in similar situations in a variety of phone service call centers. Eventually I found a new kind of job that does not require me to use the telephone at all. Those jobs gave me an intense loathing of speaking on the phone.

You are being treated unfairly. There is no way this work will get done right with just two of you. There will probably be no resolution from within the company for this. All call centers work the same way.

Document everything. You spent 2 minutes discussing X with customer #1, 3 minutes discussing Y, and 15 minutes explaining why X and Y are taking so long, and another 4 minutes explaining there is nothing you can do personally but they can speak to the next person up the chain. Transfer them to the next person up the chain. If there is no one to transfer to, give them the address and name of someone to send a complaint letter to and assure them you will notify the higher ups that you have had complaints, and put that down in your notes. Repeat with customer #2.

When asked why you are transferring so many people or why you are taking so long on the phone with each person, explain that there is no way for you to handle each call in less than 5 minutes and obviously the company does not want unhappy customers. If they don't like this, then explain you need concrete steps to follow with each unhappy customer. Ask lots of questions you anticipate getting from customers. Make this as big a problem for the next up the chain as it is for you. Be aware this won't work, though. It is unlikely anything will change.

While this is going on, find a different job, one that does not involve phone calls or a call service center. Call service centers are identical in this way.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 8:33 AM on April 10, 2014

Also, in my experience, coworkers not working and managers not managing is par for the course in call service centers. :) No gambling problem required for that.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 8:35 AM on April 10, 2014

It doesn't sound like a call center as much as a fulfillment and/or broker type operation, where a lack of apnea equipment shipments to end users will indeed affect the company's bottom line.
posted by rhizome at 2:25 PM on April 10, 2014

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