Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Miseries of TRICARE

How hard could it be? Go see the doctor you were assigned, get a pregnancy test, be referred to an OB/GYN. Everybody's happy.

IN REALITY:

1. Drive away from house to find phone reception. Ask assigned doctor if she will see you even if you have been unable to change your legal name with TRICARE. Be reassured and invited to visit.

2. Visit doctor, wait for an hour, and submit requested specimens.

3. Wait two days for authorized referral from TRICARE. Not too bad. Be advised by friends that there are certain OB/GYNs in the area you ought not visit on peril of your life.

4. Wait a full week for a phone call from Dr. Unintelligible-Over-Your-Voicemail.

5. Receive a letter from TRICARE with the name and number of the OB/BYN you were assigned. Be informed that you must call them (they won't actually call you like they said they would), make an appointment, call your regular doctor to inform them of the appointment, and visit TRICARE's website and log the appointment so everyone can get paid. Apparently they can't communicate amongst themselves.

6. Wait until the next day's business hours to attempt to make an appointment.

7. Drive away from house to find phone reception. Call the OB/GYN with paperwork in hand.

8. Be rebuffed by OB/GYN, who apparently isn't accepting any new patients and has no idea why you were referred to her.

9. Drive back home, nick a quick internet connection from the neighbors to look up TRICARE online.

10. Drop-down menu fails to function properly, rendering a search of the site impossible.

11. Dump Safari for Firefox and attempt search again.

12. Discover there are only two OB/GYNs in the area accepting new patients. Write down contact info.

13. Drive away from house to find phone reception. Realize you left your pen at home and have nothing to write with.

14. Drive to PX and buy a bag of cheap pens. Finally make call to new OB/GYN from PX parking lot.

15. Sit on hold for ten expensive minutes, with no music.

16. Receptionist can still barely hear you and is incapable of spelling your name correctly despite numerous attempts. She cannot promise OB/GYN will accept you without changing the referral/authorization from TRICARE. The paper from TRICARE seems to indicate that such a change would be unnecessary, but she isn't interested in an explanation.

17. Discover that the office will be closed for lunch practically all day long, and the best they can do is invite you to visit and fill out "extensive paperwork" in the hope that you will be approved upon review.

18. Drive back home and kill time writing a fuming blog post while you wait a few hours for their lunch break to end.

In conclusion, after almost two weeks, I'm still basically nowhere. No one wants to see me, no one cares a rat's hindparts about my problems, and no one anywhere really knows what TRICARE is all about. Apparently everyone has to become his own expert, because there is never anyone you can trust to give you a straight (or accurate) answer.

Is this normal? Does this happen to everyone? No wonder the world is angry.

4 comments:

  1. This is normal for TRICARE, according to the military moms of the area. I get to sit and listen to them rant and rave about unintelligible doctors and the horrors of military healthcare every Thursday while Riley's in gymnastics. So you're not alone, but I doubt that makes it any less frustrating.

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  2. I've heard it referred to as "Try-To-Get-Care."

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  3. I'm so sorry. Andrew was telling me about all the problems his Mom would have with TRICARE and such. Just hang in there. :-/

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  4. I have more faith in my abilities as a problem solver as a result. I filled out their "extensive paperwork" and made some more calls, and hopefully the situation will resolve itself. What kills me is that this whole runaround was completely unnecessary. o_O

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