About Me: Getting My New Ears: Part II

You can read the first part of this journey here. I won’t recap the events that led up that first part so if you’re curious, start there.

It has been a month now since I posted that first article. That means that it has been a total of 6 weeks since I first met with the TWC to begin this process. FYI: I still have not ordered my hearing aids. In fact, the TWC still hasn’t given me a price or anything regarding that purchase at this point. So, yeah, 6 weeks and I’m barely past the point I was at a month ago.

Let’s catch up on real quick on where we left off. The TWC had finally faxed the request to the doctor’s office for my hearing test results after I had questioned the status of the request. I had made a polite request with the TWC rep to let me know when they had received the requested information or to let me know if by the next Tuesday they had not received anything.

So here’s what has happened since.

I checked in with the TWC rep the following Wednesday morning for a status update since I had not heard anything from him since the previous week after they had sent the request for my records. The only response I got what that he would have to check with his assistant to see if anything had been received. That was it. I got nothing else from him that day, not even an update on what, if anything, had been received.

Friday morning rolls around and he finally gets back to me to indicate that they have yet to receive anything from the doctor’s office. This struck me as odd because I had already talked with the doctor’s office and they had everything ready to send, they were only waiting on the request from the TWC along with my signed release. At this point, it had been over a week since I was told the request was sent so it seemed strange that nothing had been sent back.

I called the doctor’s office. I spoke with the front desk and the medical records people. Neither group had any record of receiving a request from the TWC for my records. I provided them with the date and approximate time that it was supposedly sent and they confirmed there was nothing in their system to show anything as being received. I confirmed with the medical records individual which number the request needed to be faxed to and other pertinent details. I wanted to give the TWC staff the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they had simply misdialed the number without realizing it.

I updated the TWC rep, who at no time made an effort to track these records down himself, of the doctor’s office denial of receiving the request. I provided him the fax number, hoping that maybe the number in their system was out of date maybe, and requested that he resend the request. The staff at the doctor’s office said they would be standing by to watch for the request if the TWC would resend it. I tried to impress this fact upon the TWC rep too.

The TWC rep confirmed that the fax number I provided was the one that they sent everything to originally but did not resend the request. I had to make multiple requests to have it resent before he agreed. I don’t care what number you thought you sent it to, or perhaps did send it to, if the doctor’s office doesn’t have it then it has to be resent if we are to move forward. This was just basic logic to me but I felt like I was getting some resistance to my resend request until it was stated multiple times.

The request for records was resent that day around lunchtime. So here it was October 6th and we finally had a confirmed receipt of the request for my medical records of the tests I had done on September 18. It was nearly 3 weeks since starting this process and the only thing that we’ve accomplished is getting a request for records sent to the doctor’s office. I’m not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling about things.

Fast forward a few days to October 11th. I ping the TWC rep to see if he’s gotten everything back that they request from the doctor. He acknowledged that some information had been received but not all of the forms had been sent back. He said he hoped to have them by Friday, it was currently Wednesday. Well, Friday came and went without a single message from the TWC. This meant that on Monday I had to reach out to the TWC rep again for a status update. 

And this is where I start to get pissy.

The TWC rep informs me that the doctor’s office wants me to go in for a hearing aid selection appointment. He tells me that the doctor’s office is refusing to return the forms from his request unless I do a selection appointment. It makes no sense to me. I call out the unnecessary redundancy as I’ve already completed the selection with the doctor’s office so I don’t understand the obstacle. He tries to explain it as the TWC paying for the appointment but it still doesn’t compute. I’ve already been and paid for that appointment so why does it matter if I pay for it or the TWC pays for it. I’m trying to understand the issue but the TWC rep isn’t explaining things in a way that makes sense. Finally, I just tell him that I’m calling the doctor’s office because it seems silly that they’d refuse to sent back a form unless I complete a process that I’ve already completed with their office.

I call the doctor’s office that day and get to speak directly with my doctor. She informs me that the forms the TWC is asking to be completed are extensive. I mean pages and pages of information. The twist is that the information they want completed in these pages and pages of forms is the same information that’s already included in the various reports and results that they requested along with the forms. There’s no reason the TWC couldn’t complete the forms with the information provided but for whatever reason the TWC is mandating that the doctor’s office complete this mini-booklet of information. The doctor’s office isn’t so much refusing to complete the paperwork but that they are trying to be compensated for their time as completing these many forms is very time consuming that would prevent the doctor from seeing other patients. The doctor tells me that its just a matter of procedure and that by booking a selection appointment through the TWC would authorize the TWC to pay for the time to complete the forms and that we could do the appointment over the phone since I’ve already done everything else.

Finally, there’s a bright spot to this mess. I understand the holdup after talking to the doctor and we can sort it out quickly with a simple phone call once the TWC authorizes payment. I got back to the TWC rep and let him know that I understand the situation better and that after talking with the doctor that I’m ready to move forward with a second selection appointment but that I’m unsure of how to proceed. I’m told that there’s nothing for me to do. The TWC will send the required authorizations to the doctor’s office and then I’ll be contacted by the doctor’s office to set up the appointment.

That exchange took place on October 16, almost exactly a month since everything kicked off and we still haven’t gotten all of my medical records. Four weeks in and we are still at Step #2 of the process.

Jump to October 23, a week since the agreement to have the redundant selection appointment and I’ve heard nothing from the TWC or the doctor’s office. I touch base with the TWC rep to see if we are waiting on anything from their side (see my previous article about their timelines) but he tells me that everything has been sent and it should just be a matter of them calling to schedule the appointment. He even indicated that he had a call in to the doctor’s office on the issue too.

That’s the last I heard from him on the matter.

Friday, the 27th rolls around and I have still not heard anything from the TWC or the doctor’s office. This means that 5 full weeks have passed since my first physical meeting with the TWC and I’m still dealing with trying to get the paperwork the TWC wants completed but doesn’t want to leverage the information already in hand to do it. To a degree, I can understand wanting to have that paperwork filled out by someone more familiar with the data but at the same time, if you want this paperwork filled out then why are you also requesting that same data in other forms and thus increasing the overhead of both your office and the doctor’s office? You either accept their evaluations and reports or your accept their assertions made in your paperwork but to ask for both is just unnecessary, in my opinion.

At this point, I’ve given up on the TWC taking care of anything. The TWC rep had a call into the doctor’s office for 4 days with no progress or any communication to me that I didn’t initiate. The TWC is ineffective in their role and if anything is going to happen then I have to make it happen. So I called the doctor’s office and inquired directly about my appointment. The young lady I spoke to said that she had received the TWC paperwork and that she had been working on verifying the authorization and requested billing codes associated with the paperwork. I attempted to explain that I just needed a virtual appointment to confirm my hearing aid selection with the doctor and that I had already discussed this with the doctor with that being her suggestion. The young lady on the phone countered that the billing codes on the authorization form dictated otherwise and that I would have to make a physical appointment. 

Fine. When’s the next available appointment? Next Monday morning. Fine. Let’s book it. This has gone on too long as it is and I want it to be done and over with. Okay, see you Monday morning.

I showed up to my appointment this morning and the doctor was stunned. She was confused why I was there. I explained the conversation I had with her scheduler and she just shook her head in disbelief. We spoke for 5-10 minutes and then I was sent on my way with her assurance that the TWC forms would be completed and sent back shortly. My doctor is about to be out of the office starting at the end of this week so she would be sure to have that finished before she left. That leaves me with a maximum timeline of 5 days before the TWC gets my paperwork back.

Immediately upon leaving my morning appointment, I notified the TWC rep that the appointment had been completed. I have yet to receive a response and it’s been 9 hours. Not even so much as a “thanks” in the text message.

The bottom line is this: TWC communication is terrible. They don’t seem to be willing to do anything that they aren’t forced to do. I’ve asked multiple times to be kept in the loop and multiple times I’m reassured that will be the case only for me to wait in the dark for days before I initiate contact. When things go askew, the information provided to me is confusing and inconsistent. If I hadn’t called the doctor’s office about them receiving the request for records then we’d still be waiting because no request was received. If I hadn’t called the doctor’s office about the issue with the forms then I wouldn’t understand what the issue was and what wasn’t being completed or why. If I hadn’t called the doctor’s office then I might still be waiting to get that 2nd appointment scheduled. I can only imagine how many more phone calls I’m going to have to make for a TWC process because my local TWC office can’t be bothered to do their jobs, or at least do them well.

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