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Today, I Cracked

September 22, 2010

I was on the phone with an international clinic trying to arrange payment for one of our employees and my blood started to boil.  I was trying to enroll the employee in a managed care program, but due to a miscommunication the last time I went to the clinic could not. He had seen the doctor before I spoke to the sales and marketing department, which apparently is a major no-no. I didn’t realize this since the sales department approached me last time after another employee had already seen the doctor and received treatment.

Long story short, I was on the phone brushing up against a wall of “cannot, impossibles,” when I realized that I was yelling into the phone. I took stock of my situation, asked the woman I was speaking to if I could put her on hold then brought Joellen up to speed. Knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to continue in a calm manner and that I was going nowhere, I asked Joellen to tag into the conversation. She did. We made little progress. We’re both worked up.

My first instinct is to throw my hands up in the air and say, “Damn, Cambodia!” But, that isn’t fair. Insurance and doctors are complicated and messy the world over. I could have been having the same exact frustrating conversation from the comfort of my own home or office in the States.

I want to blame the clinic. I want to rant about how the medical and sales departments are clearly not communicating. I want to rail against policies that do not serve the customer and are completely inflexible. There are always exceptions to the rule and systems should be in place to bend policies when appropriate. I want to scream from the rooftops how insane I find the Asian practice of “saving face,” which prohibits one from ever admitting a mistake and devolves into a conversation of, “Well, I told you…” He said, she said conversations focused on placing blame are never productive. Let’s move on to find a solution, eh?

But, in reality, part of this is my fault. I misunderstood. I should have been more proactive in finding the terms of the managed care program. I should have sorted out the details sooner. I should have kept my cool.

Should have but didn’t. So, what now? Taking deep breaths and trying to calm myself down. Eyes looking towards the horizon and hoping I’ve learned a valuable lesson in all of this. Probably that old adage about assumptions or maybe this was another exercise in trying to maintain grace under pressure.


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