Why Everyone Needs to Know How to Write. Everyone.

Tonight I am having bubbly with my Mom, with our grilled cheese sandwiches, to celebrate getting her cards from her HMO granting her a doctor of her choice she visited in December.  Yes, we got to talk to a person who could do something, because I wrote.

Here’s the email I sent last Sunday:

Dear SCAN,

My mother, Dolores R Brown, moved to San Jose last November from San Francisco, where she had enjoyed medical care provided by your SCAN doctors and staff for several years.

She looked up a PCP who is also a specialist in nephrology, Dr. Suzanne Austin.  Since Dolores (my mother) did not have her senior transit pass because she needed the form signed, we arranged for my daughter to drive over from Capitola and take grandma to Dr. Austin.

My mother was delighted with Dr. Austin (and forgot to have her transit form signed).

However, she received a SCAN notice that Dr. Austin was not contracted and could not be her PCP.  She was referred to another doctor as a PCP.  This doctor’s secretary rejected her on the phone call.

Then Dolores went up to stay with her younger daughter for the summer in Ashland, Oregon.

I received her mail here.  A card was sent to her with the rejecting doctor’s name on it.  I spent 45 minutes on the phone with your customer service trying to figure out why my mother could not see the doctor she wanted and needs.

I was given 3 names.  Mom called them from Oregon and was directed to a doctor in the south valley, about a $40 cab ride each way.  (My daughter’s car transmission died meanwhile)

Dolores went to the doctor and was rejected for a visit because of the name on the card, even though she had been told by your office to make an appointment with a different provider.  She was very tired and very upset when I came home from work.

Did I mention that Dolores is 86 years old and a kidney transplant operator?  She deals with many physical issues, and seldom complains.

Honestly, when I tell people what she has been put through they call it “senior abuse.”

So Dolores went back to the doctor after her card was cleared Sept. 2.  We are going on almost a year with no satisfactory health network in place.  She needs to see a podiatrist.  I’m shuddering to think what will happen when she calls the one I looked up online this morning.

Dolores had been told that if she went to the distant primary care provider the plan named, then she would be referred to Dr. Austin.

The letter authorization # 2015090822276849 from DCHS denies Dr. Austin, but did provide a different nephrologist.

I have attached your website search.  Dr. Austin is clearly a PCP and a specialist registered with DCHS.  And I got this information from your SCAN website.  Yet, P.S. yesterday DCHS sent Dolores a letter denying her referral.

I feel that we are being given the run around.  I am a teacher who works overtime to make ends meet.  I cannot sit on your customer service line for hours at a time.

I have watched my mother feel so rejected and frustrated, that she is still waiting for her senior transit from the city and still does not have the specialist she was told she could request.  Last night, since she is in pain, she just rolled her eyes when I suggested she calls your office.

Your customer service people are VERY sympathetic on the phone, but unable to solve problems.  What I need from you is a clear directive and a better plan than your website provides to get my mother’s health services lined up here.

I will be calling DCHS on Monday because I think they denied my mother’s doctor’s referral to Dr. Austin as a nephrologist in error.

Without your assistance, our only alternative is to enroll in a different HMO during November open enrollment.  Is the difference in service between what Dolores got in San Francisco and what she is “getting” here in San Jose that you really don’t have a strong group down here?

Very sincerely,

Laura R Brown

And teacher readers, salut!!

3 thoughts on “Why Everyone Needs to Know How to Write. Everyone.”

  1. Laura, what a powerful letter and a powerful way to show why writing is crucial. You captured so much in that letter and the whole time I could not help but think of your mom and how unnecessary all that tossing about is. I am so glad you shared this moment.

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