21 December 2009

You Can, In Fact, Train Lower Order Mammals to Enter Data Correctly…

So why can no one at TRICARE seem to manage then?

Let me start by saying that I do, in fact, realize that I have the best health insurance available in this country. It is free to me (effectively an HMO with DH’s employer, the DoD, paying all the premiums) and offers 100% coverage assuming you get care at a Military Treatment Facility or via a network provider depending on what is available where you live. TRICARE also grants me access to what I really feel is the best healthcare that our nation has to offer. Most of the time it rocks and I could not be more grateful. However, things have not gone well of late.

The basic timeline is that Little Cheese (the new baby) was born, we got her into the system and trundled off to out first newborn check at the newborn clinic. All is well and when the NP asks where we are seen, I tell her at Boone Clinic, but that I would like to change to being seen full-time at the Naval Hospital. She says no problem and gets me an appointment with a pediatrician who has openings in his schedule and tells me to get an invite to the practice from him and we are in. Sweet deal. Go to said appointment and get the authorizations for both girls and off we go. DH finishes the paperwork and I turn it in to the TRICARE Office at the Naval Hospital. This should pretty much be a slam dunk. All anyone in enrollment has to do is enter the new data in the system and we are set.

Anyone else who has had the pleasure of working within the Military Health System can pretty much see where this is going…

Two weeks later we get two letters in the mail. One stating that Cha Cha has been assigned the new pediatrician, and the second saying that I have been assigned the new pediatrician.

And there it is.

Sure enough Little Cheese has not been registered with our new doctor, but I, a mumble-something year old female, who shares no information in common with this child (we even have different last names, so it was truly a remarkable stretch even if you overlook how our first names, birthdays, ages and relationships to our sponsor are different) has been. Awesome. Call to try and straighten it all out and get little to no help at all. In addition to having altered her coverage from “Prime” to “Standard,” a truly extraordinary feat given that she should have been automatically enrolled in the same plan as us and that if you even wanted to switch to “Standard” it practically requires a letter from President Obama himself, there are now no open spots for her in the practice. In classic TRICARE form no one can explain how it happened or promise that it will be fixed.

At the end of the day we now have a pending request for transfer to the pediatrician’s slate of patients and we will have to see if they can get us a spot. Even though we had a spot and they cocked it up. Even though there was, apparently, room for me to see this doctor even though I am ineligible for attendance at his practice. Yup. Totally bitchen.

While trying to evaluate if I was being completely irrational in my homicidal rage about this I was really able to pinpoint the major issues with the whole situation. While there are many, too many to list here less I really bore you all to tears, the bit that really grinds my gears is that they screwed up and won’t apologize for doing so, let alone guarantee they will fix it. I could almost let it go that a mistake was made. It happens. I could probably look past the constant “passing of the buck” on accountability, that is the military way after all. What I can not get over is the complete lack of willingness to fix the problem. In light of the completely unhelpful response on behalf of the no less than 8 people we spoke with today, I can not find it in my heart to forgive anyone at TRICARE for anything. Now I have no choice but to be the Asshole Avenger and systematically ruin the lives of every TRICARE employee in the North Region until I get some actual help. Really, I see no other way out…

As it stands I will wait the required 4-5 days for the request to be processed and call back on Monday to confirm it was taken care of. I am just really hoping it is resolved by then. Not only so I can be done with the whole drama llama, but because the total freak out I will have if TRICARE does not fix this will be HLN Morning Express With Robin Mead news-worthy. Check your papers. If you see the headline: “VA Military Spouse Roundhouse Kicks TRICARE Enrollment Supervisor in the Face,” you can rest assured, it was me. Let us pray for a Yule-tide miracle.

Have a TRICARE (or other HMO related) horror story to share? Send it my way. Not many people read this, but blogging is the new social media and social media is the new conduit to change, so maybe if we all bitch enough and refuse to accept this level of service, some good could come of it all.