Monday, November 9, 2015

Medical Monday: how to file a grievance with a health care provider or system


So much can go wrong when we're interacting with anything involving our health. Doctors and health care systems are, sadly, not immune from making mistakes. This is something that we chronic patients have to understand in order to be fully engaged in our care.

Perhaps you went in with an abscess that a doctor saw as a pimple and laughed like like I have.

Perhaps you've shown up in an office green and obviously ill only to be dismissed.

We've all likely been there. It's enough to leave you sick but now you're upset with your care and your concerns are not being heard.

What do you do?

One thing that some people feel comfortable with would be to speak with another member of the staff where you receive care. Perhaps the doctor was the offender so you might want to talk to his nurse, or vice versa. You might even speak to the clinic manager, which is kind of like the head nurse in some systems, or the head doctor or dyad.

Another idea is to contact someone else in charge of clinic operations. There is often someone who works more of a 9-5 that helps coordinate maintenance and such, but can hear complaints as well. You can sometimes find this information, though it isn't always readily available.

You can definitely go through patient relations. Depending on the size of the system you're involved with, this could take a while if the offense isn't super huge and egregious. There are sadly some systems that don't necessarily care as much about one patient's experience and so may not be helpful with this route.


One of the more popular things to do, though, is to contact the health care system via social media. This often gets a faster response even in slower systems because you've now made the complaint public. By doing that, you put pressure on the system to acknowledge the issue and work with you.

This route isn't for the shy or reserved. Unfortunately it can take a bit of back and forth to really get help even here. However, as I said, the system is then under pressure to perform.

This can be true for insurance companies as well as we see here with Anna, fellow SJIA fighter and all around awesome person, trying to get access to Orencia.


The bottom line is that, in order to have your complaint heard and acted on, you have to be loud and assertive enough to do so.

Not sure that's your thing? It might be worth analyzing why you think that. If it's because you don't feel you're worth the fuss, please do yourself a huge favor and read up on self-care and self-love.


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