Saying You’re Sorry, Part 1

Good customer service DOES mean having saying to say you’re sorry…when you’ve done something wrong.

Tampa’s Tower Radiology Center aka Tower Diagnostics Center — they seem to have a branding problem, too — is supposed to keep mammogram records for 10 years. This was news to me, since I’ve always been told you should have your FIRST mammogram as a benchmark and thought they would store all of them. Silly me.

If I knew Tower Radiology (not to be confused with Tower MSA Partners, based in Delray Beach, Florida & serving clients nationally, taking care of all their Medicare Secondary Payer needs, including Medicare Set Asides, in addition to being [disclaimer] a wonderful King Knight Communications client) was going to purge my films, I would have requested said films a long time ago and kept them in a closet at home…but that’s a moot point now.

Since I’m moving to North Carolina (but not retiring, so keep that work coming…) I want to take all my medical records with me. Therefore, I requested my mammogram films.

After recovering from the shock that Tower Diagnostics only kept 10 years’ worth of film, I found out that they ALSO can’t count. Apparently my films only go back to 2008.

Now, I’m a PR person and we’re notorious for our lack of math skills. [We have to whip out our Iphones to calculate tips at restaurants.] Yet, 2014 minus 2008 does not equal 10. Even I know that.

Tower Diagnostics (or Radiology Center–make up your mind, people) PROMISED that my films would be ready to pick up at its South Tampa clinic on May 8. Naturally, I didn’t believe them so I waited until Monday, May 11.

The receptionist, who was very nice, couldn’t find them and called someone. “They’re upstairs and it will take 15 minutes for someone to bring them downstairs,” she said. “No problem,” I replied. “I’ll run over to CVS and be back in a few minutes.” Visibly relieved, she smiled and nodded like that was a great idea..

I came back. Now there was a problem. The films weren’t upstairs and taking 15 minutes to stroll downstairs.  They had never arrived at the South Tampa office at all. The main medical records office just never sent them. At this point I didn’t even care why. I just wanted the films.

“Ok. They weren’t here Friday as promised and they aren’t here Monday,” I said.

“Yes,” she said meekly.

“Can they be mailed to my house?”

“Oh yes.”

This was interesting information since the MD’s office told me they were not allowed to mail medical records because of HIPAA. But, we’ll see. Someone is lying–or let me be nice–being mendacious–or maybe diagnostic films are different than medical records.

Of course my medical records from my MD’s office were wrong anyway because they said I am a smoker (not) and hadn’t even had a mammogram since 2008—like I wait for a big financial crisis to go get one. But that’s another story, blog post and maybe a Tampa Bay Times story pitch.  Suspect a reporter might be interested in a story about how patients should check the accuracy of their medical records.

So, South Tampa Tower Diagnostics never received the films from the main medical records office. I didn’t bother with why, just chalked it up to incompetence in the health care system, which I have come to expect.

However, the receptionist apologized to me. Looked me in the eye and said, “Ms. Knight, I’m so sorry you came down here and your films aren’t here. You were inconvenienced and we are sorry.  And we will mail them to you. Again, I apologize.”tumblr_static_i_m_sorry

I was blown away. She didn’t say it flippantly like “Sorry!” or  “Sorry about that” or “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  Just I’m sorry.  It’s our fault and we’re sorry.”

I felt better. Less like getting on the phone and chewing out the medical records department, which would waste my energy and not bother them.

Of course, I still got the phone number to call when the films don’t arrive in the mail as promised…..