St Francis Animal Hospital = Horrible Customer Service

So remember all the vets and issues, etc we had to deal with two days after we adopted Mia? We were so fortunate that everyone we saw treated us wonderfully, kindly, with compassion, and understanding.. EXCEPT: St. Francis 24 HR Animal Hospital. In my experience, they have the most unprofessional people working for them than I’ve ever encountered in my life. And they saw Mia only once. For about an hour.

They tried to get me to pay them a thousand dollars claiming my dog had parvo. (She didn’t). They apparently don’t even know that a modified live parvo vaccine can cause a false positive and that there are varying degrees of “testing positive” for parvo. A weak positive, which Mia’s was can just be the vaccine.

Apparently this is common knowledge. Don’t take my word for it, though. Google it. The links above all describe it.. and I’ll quote another website:

False negative results can be obtained because parvovirus is shed for a few days only. Test results are most accurate if taken the first few days after infection, or within 5 days after clinical signs appear. False positive results are often a result of recent vaccination with a modified live vaccine (within 5-12 days of vaccination).

St. Francis forgot to bill me for the parvo test so they called and asked that I come down right away to pay for it. I told them I would but then as you know, Mia got sicker and it was a crazy week, so I didn’t get to it right away. Not even a week later they sent me a letter stating I better pay them for it or they would send it to collections. They used a yellow highlighter to highlight the part about it going to collections. I thought this was rude, and tactless, but hey, I did say I’d come down there and didn’t… and sure it’s only been a few days.. but sheesh.

I called them to let them know I’d be paying it soon and explained how Mia got sicker. While on the phone, I mentioned to them the ‘false positive’ and was happy to report Mia did not have parvo and was doing much better. I didn’t tell it to them to be rude or rub it in their face. My tone and attitude was “hey guess what?! She’s better and doing great and didn’t have Parvo.. isn’t that awesome?”… Their reply was, and I quote:

A positive result is a positive result. There is no such thing as weak or false parvo test.

I replied that the other vets told me about the weak positive / not parvo thing, and that she never actually had true parvo symptoms so it probably wasn’t parvo.

Their reply:

A positive result is a positive result. There is no such thing as weak or false parvo test.

Yes, they just repeated themselves. They didn’t even comment on the fact that I just told them Mia was all better. They were just right, everyone else was wrong… where’s their money?

I paid them on Monday as promised but guess what? I got another letter, the same one, yellow highlighter and all on Tuesday. So they were sending me letters weekly apparently to be sure they got their $36 bucks.

A couple weeks later I had to go back there to have them fill out the pet insurance claim for the visit. East Padden Animal Hospital filled out the forms while I waited. Columbia River Veterinary Services tried to fill out the claim forms while I waited and were also very friendly about it, but they had an emergency come in and didn’t know when they could get to it and hated to keep me waiting. So they offered to fax over all the claims (even the ones not pertaining to them) if I left the docs with them. I said sure. They faxed them in that night as promised and called me to let me know it was done. Very nicely done.

St. Francis on the other hand took the forms and told me they’d get to it whenever. Maybe Sunday. This was mid-week that I was there. When I inquired about the wait, they said only their administrative office handled those forms. They acted like it was a major inconvenience and practically shooed me out the door. I was dumbfounded but I thanked them and left without so much as another mumble.

I thought I was done ever having deal with them until the pet insurance needed more info ….The NON-PROFIT humane society got me the information within minutes and had it waiting at the front desk for me. They offered to fax it too but I have no way to receive a fax. East Padden emailed me the information within an hour. CRVS emailed it to me within 5 minutes of my phone call. All easy right?

St. Francis told me they’d call me when they had the information I requested. When I asked when, they said they didn’t know and couldn’t give me a time frame. I explained the situation ($1000 claim, kinda hinging on their information the most because they were the first to see Mia for the issue) and that it would be helpful if I knew when I could expect the information. They said it could take up to two weeks. I was thinking a couple hours. Or maybe a day. But TWO WEEKS?

All the insurance company wants is the chart notes they took for the visit. That’s IT. So it’s not like we’re asking for major stuff here. Just the notes… Like I said, the three other vets managed to have that to me within minutes, or hours. Apparently St. Francis 24 Hour Animal Hospital has to go through their administrators to provide their clients with information. I kinda jokingly asked “well what if Mia was dying and I needed those notes to take to a vet so they’d know her history?” She replied “this is hospital policy”. I asked if THEY had access to their own notes if a patient comes in during an emergency. They said “This is hospital policy”.

So I asked if there’s any way to speed up the process, if there was someone I could call and I again explained why.. They replied it was hospital policy. I asked if I could have their admin office’s number. They said they weren’t available. So I told them in a “ya know…” type of voice that I’d probably not ever come back there and this is why. They said “whatever” and hung up on me.


I called back and got someone different. I figured SHE wasn’t the rude one so I wouldn’t bother her with the issue. I simply asked for a supervisor. . She said without even a moment’s hesitation that the supervisor wasn’t available. So I tried to explain the whole story, nicely, calmly, but she kept cutting me off saying “it’s hospital policy and you were told that”. I kept trying to say “I TOTALLY WITHOUT A DOUBT GET that it’s HOSPITAL POLICY … but the issue has turned into horrible customer service” but she wouldn’t let me talk .. AT ALL. She just kept repeating that I was already told about HOSPITAL POLICY .. and I kept TRYING to say “I KNOW, I GET IT” but she repeated herself so many times I finally said “Look, just let me talk to your supervisor”. She HUNG UP ON ME.

I would totally understand if I was being irrational or rude, but I wasn’t. And now I’m not even sure they are going to “forward my request to the administrators per hospital policy” because both had hung up on me!

So I waited a while… then I called back and simply asked for the administrator’s office. She said they were unavailable but could take a message. I asked if I could leave a message myself (why would I trust them to leave a message at his point?) and she asked my name. I told her and she WENT OFF on me saying that if I kept calling she’d make my request take longer to process. What the? I told her I didn’t appreciate the threat, I just wanted to talk to the admins myself, leave a voicemail, anything to ensure my request was even processed. She hung up on me!!!

At this point I was pretty ticked off. Instead of calling them back I called the insurance company and explained what just transpired. I explained that I wasn’t confident they would even put my request through. No one ever said at that point they would, they just kept hanging up on me.

The insurance girl was baffled and said she’s NEVER heard of a vet taking weeks to provide chart notes, or having to go through weird administrative red tape for something so simple. I asked if it was absolutely necessary I have the info from St. Francis. By then I had all the other vet’s notes, it was only St Francis holding things up. She said they must have it but offered to call St. Francis herself and see if she could get anywhere. I told her go for it and wished her luck.

She called me back only a few minutes later and guess what? St. Francis gave her the proverbial finger too.

I really don’t think these people should have named themselves SAINT anything.

To sum it up, St. France 24 Hour Animal Hospital:

  1. Doesn’t know much about parvo tests or the vaccines and how they work — “a positive is a positive”. They need to learn how to use Google.
  2. HARRASSED and THREATENEND ME for payment not even a week after THEY forgot to charge me.
  3. Didn’t care about my dog. Just wanted my money NOW.
  4. Gave me nothing but horrible, rude, and unprofessional customer service
  5. Have weird policies no other vet I’ve dealt with has that make it impossible to get information in a timely manner.

The whole thing was like an episode out of the Twilight Zone.

Just as I was about to hit publish on this post, East Padden Animal Hospital called me. Not only did they already send me their chart notes, they also happened to have the chart notes from St. Francis because they requested them for THEIR records when Mia was first admitted to them (I told them the story about St. Francis and their weird policies). So they are sending me the ST. FRANCIS notes now via email. They didn’t have to do that… but they did.

THAT is good customer service. And St Francis will never get another dime from me again.

Update: LOL the BBB gives St Francis Hospital an F rating… 27 complaints. For a little city Vet who hasn’t been around all that long, that’s pretty bad!

2 thoughts on “St Francis Animal Hospital = Horrible Customer Service

  1. My Gawd! What morons! Makes you wonder how they ever got into business, doesn’t it? Glad you got Mia well taken care of elsewhere. Hate cretens like this. Makes you want to neuter THEM to make sure they don’t populate the area with more of their ilk.

  2. Pingback: St. Francis in the news (and Mia too) « Jack 'n Tracie ~ Life

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