Me: Thank you for calling the medical center. How can I help you?
Patient’s mom: Yes I’d like to have my [adult] son see a psychiatrist for depression.
Me: Let’s take a look then. [verifies chart details] So most of our mental health services go through Hospital A. We can certainly set him up with a new patient phone screening appointment if you’d like.
PM: Hospital A? Hospital A isn’t very good. Don’t you have any mental health at Hospital B?
Me: We do have one clinic over there but they’re only taking new patients with medical referral from an internal provider. It looks like he hasn’t seen any of our providers so if that’s the route we want to go I’m sure we could find a clinic with an upcoming new patient appointment to get the ball rolling in a referral.
PM: A referral? Why are you making us jump through so many hoops! This is going to take so long.
Me: If we don’t want to go about getting a referral then I can certainly schedule him without one at Hospital A.
PM: No we don’t want to do that. Let me get my husband. He’s a doctor.
[noise in the background of patient’s mom explaining to dad what’s going on]
Patient’s Dad: Hello?
Me: Hi I was just speaking to your wife about our options for mental healthcare for your son.
PD: So our options are Hospital A without a referral or Hospital B with one?
Me: Yes that’s correct.
PD: Well I’m a dermatologist so I’m a doctor and I can tell you for sure he’s depressed. Can’t that be enough to get him in at Hospital B?
[Yeah because being a dermatologist makes you an expert in mental health?]
Me: No sir. My scheduling instructions are very specific. He needs a medical referral from a provider within the Medical Center system. I have a clinic near him with new patient appointments as soon as Monday.
PD: But that’s going to delay his care and we want him to be seen ASAP!
Me: I’m sorry but those are the options I have. I’m following the scheduling instructions given by the clinic.
PD: But I’m a doctor! Can I speak to a manager at the clinic? I’m sure they could bypass this and make an exception.
Me: Certainly I’ll get you over to the clinic.
Clinic: Thank you for calling Hospital B clinic.
Me: Hi this is Umbracelestia from the contact center. I’ve got an interesting one for you. [explains what has transpired] and the patient’s dad thinks if I get him over to the clinic that you guys can make an exception and have him seen without the referral.
Clinic: Yeeeeah they’d be wrong but I’ll tell them that. Transfer dad over.