HOW TO COMPLICATE
3 April 2002
Now I remember why it was that I hated working for a big medical organization.
We received a FAX the other day, inviting me to attend a luncheon for "Surgery
Scheduler's" [sic I know that apostrophe doesn't belong there!].
Dr. G hasn't done a surgery since I've been there, but Dr. C, if she sticks around (that
was being decided today while I was at the lunch), does quite a few of them so I'm back in
the surgery scheduling business, I guess.
Besides, why pass up a free lunch?
At the appointed hour, I arrived at the hospital. Memories of both happierand
considerably more painfultimes.
I parked in one of the patient slots in the parking lot. As employees, we were not
allowed to park close in, but had to park way out in the hinterland. In truth, now that
I'm getting into this "movement" business, the walk in from the hinterland was a
rather pleasant thought, but I parked close, because I could.
I walked up the pathway to the hospital. It was a beautiful warm spring day. The birds
were singing in the trees overhead and off to my left was a field of brilliant yellow
mustard blossoms. I would rather have been out riding my bike.
The last time I made that
walk it was on the night Steve performed for all the doctors. I smiled when I thought
about what a good night that was, and how happy I was to have been able to pull it off.
I followed the corridor to the meeting room. I remember that meeting room. I used to
argue with the higher-ups there, supporting my doctors against what the HMO was trying to
do to reduce the quality of care for the patients. Each argument put another nail in the
coffin of my "career" as a medical office manager (at least for a big HMO...I
got my revenge the day Dr. G hired me to run his office!).
The meeting room was half full when I arrived. I was pleased to see a couple of people
I knew from my days there and I sat with one of them. It was nice to see a friendly face.
Lunch was sub sandwiches from Togos, chips and soft drinks. I chose the smallest sub
and skipped the chips and drink. I was amused to realize that I was mentally calculating
how many points it would have been for a bag of chips and realizing that it wasn't worth
it. (By the way, another 3.4 lbs gone today!)
I hadn't really been sure of what the purpose of the meeting was. I assumed that it was
to go over the specifics for how to schedule surgery, but no. It was to introduce a brand
new program, what is to be done before a patient turns up to have his/her surgery.
Basically, this consists of two new forms to fill out, and a new person to FAX them to.
Seemed pretty straightforward to me.
But it required--
* a committee of about 30 people to develop the program
* a team of four people to present it
* an overhead projector
* a flip chart
* a binder with the new forms, and 20 pages of expanation
* a backup set of papers in case you wanted to take notes
* an hour of explanation
The overhead projector showed slides of things that were in the binder and in the
back-up set of notes.
There were questions and answers, concern about confusion regarding the forms, more
instruction about how to present it to the patient, how to get the doctor to participate, where and when to send the forms. Etc., etc.
It went on and on and on.
It all felt so familiar, as I struggled to stay awake, and actually at one point let
the pen in my hands slip through my fingers and fall onto the floor, as I nodded off. I
remembered all the meetings like this I struggled to remain awake for in years past.
With perspective, the pointlessness of it all becomes so blatant.
Bottom line is: "Here are two new forms. Fill these out before the patient has
surgery, and make sure that you send it to the hospital in time."
Is that so difficult?
I'm so glad I'm not in that ridiculous world any more!!