The paperwork. It burns.
© 2014 Roy Benaroch, MD
I love seeing patients, and I love being a doctor—at least when I get a chance to be a doctor, in the short gaps left during the day when I’m done with telephone calls and “paperwork.” Here’s a few gems from my inbox this week.
From UnitedHealthcare came a letter reminding me that their “members” will incur additional costs if they use an out-of-network lab. This, I knew. We actually have a specific process in our office to steer patients toward their “in-network” labs, so they can save a few bucks. The new development came in this paragraph:
“If the member elects to receive services from a non-network lab, you must complete the Member Advance Notice Form, obtain the member’s signature on the form and retain it for your records.”
Wait—the member (I prefer to call them patients, but I’m old-fashioned) is the one who decided to go to a non-favored lab. So now it’s my job to obtain this form, get it signed, and keep it? I’m supposed to be UnitedHealthcare’s goon enforcer? Maybe I ought to get a truncheon and dimly lit room, you know, to convince them of the error of their ways. Those members, trying to make their own decisions. Fools!
Then this showed up: a subtle thing, but it rubbed me the wrong way.
A fax, addressed to my “Form Nurse.” I don’t have a “form nurse”! Nurses are there to care for the sick, to teach, to help deliver medical care. They’re part of my essential team. They are not just there to complete forms. If you’ve worked hard and gotten your nursing degree and license, and then someone wants you to be a “form nurse”—no patients, no icky touching people, just filling out forms, day after day—any nurse I know would just poke their own eyeballs out with a fork.
Of course, I’d rather them aim their forks at the UnitedHealthcare goons.