So… I wanted to give a little update on the awful, horrible, rotten, worse-I’ve-ever-experienced customer service I received from St. Francis 24 Hour Animal Hospital…
Last week I posted that East Padden happened to have the notes I needed from St. Francis. Unfortunately it turned out they did not. They had notes from the Humane Society instead. 😦 I know they told me they requested the notes from St. Francis, but surprisingly (haha) they never received them. 😦
So that meant I was back to square one with St. Francis. I called them on Friday to follow up to see where we stood. I got a very helpful receptionist who this time actually listened to the issue. She agreed I was treated horribly was very apologetic about it and promised she’d pass along a message to management. So I thought we were getting somewhere. It turns out she’s the only one working at St. Francis with a decent bone in her body.
She called me on Monday to say that the chart notes I requested were ready but management had closed my account after what transpired the prior week. Since the account was now closed, my request was converted to a “inactive records request” or something and they don’t copy notes/medical history from closed accounts for free. She said there would be a fee if I wanted the chart notes. When I asked how much she said she didn’t know but I needed to agree to it before they’d release the notes.
Um… I’m not sure that’s even legal?? I told her that. I also burst into tears… I felt like an idiot but seriously.. the whole thing was just so beyond stupid that it broke me. I just really don’t understand how the three other vets involved in this could be so helpful… ALL OF THEM. But St. Francis was dangling me over a barrel and now extorting money out of me over ONE page of handwritten chart notes. Chart notes they KNEW I had to have in order to get my insurance claim approved. And while I’ve experienced crappy customer service before, NEVER at THIS level. Never THIS bad!
When I asked why they closed my account, she said “they” (her managers) said it was because I was “abusive”. … … … *I* was abusive? I asked her if I sounded at all unreasonable to her or if I was even slightly abusive to her. She said “no, not at all”. There was an awkward silence after that and she said it was probably due to the multiple phone calls from me and my insurance company. I explained to her that NONE of that would have been necessary had they taken the time to listen to the issue, listen to the fact that this was technically a SECOND request for records, and that their delays were costing me almost $1000.00!
I told her I agreed to the ‘unknown charge’ as long as it was reasonable and I made it clear I was agreeing to it under duress. She called back later and said the charge was going to be $20.88.. NOT reasonable at all! But… I drove down there and I paid it. What choice did I have? I walked out of there in tears saying I’d probably dispute the charge when I got home.
I then updated my BBB claim (yes I filed a complaint with the BBB. Have never done that before) to say that they closed my account AFTER I requested the chart notes (when the account was still open) only so they could charge me and I wanted to be reimbursed to resolve the complaint. No I’m not disputing the charge. I’ve had many tell me I should but they’d likely send it to collections, tack on a fee, and add interest or something.. and it’s really not worth it. THEY aren’t worth it. (My insurance claim was approved for the full amount two days after submitting those damn notes!!!)
The main doctor at St. Francis (the owner) replied to my BBB complaint that night and ADMITTED they closed my account AFTER I requested the notes. He also rambled about my one and only vet visit with them (which had nothing to do with my complaint.. my dog was never treated there.. only seen for 20 minutes then I refused their treatment and left!). He also stated he did nothing to hinder me in getting the notes for my insurance claim.
That made me LOL.
Making me wait beyond the LEGAL time period for a records request, then closing my account (how does one close a veterinary account anyway? what does that mean??), then charging me almost $21.00 for a one page photocopy is hindering. It was akin to extortion and was immoral and unethical.
I filed a complaint with the state department of health veterinary board as well. Fee disputes fall under their threshold of things to investigate but they were in violation of not providing me the records within 15 days as the law states they are supposed to. The catch is whether my verbal request when I asked them to fill out the insurance claim was going to count as a “written request” (the claim form asked for the medical history and notes.) They (the dept of health) were also very familiar with them even though the physical location of their office is a few hundred miles from St. Francis. They get a lot of complaints about St. Francis. A LOT. Had I taken the 2 minutes to look them up on Google, I wouldn’t have made the horrible mistake of going anywhere near that place.