Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Written Monday, 07-03-06 @ 2:56 PM

It has been 10 business hours since our phone lines and internet services have gone down. At 1 o’clock on Friday, out of no where, all the lines and connections went dead. Here is how it went down:

Silence……I notice my music (from the internet) has stopped and I have a prompt that says there is a problem connecting to the internet.
I then look up to see 3 people come to my office door simultaneously:

“ I can’t get a phone line out, I think my phone is broken….”
“The fax machine doesn’t seem to be working, can you come help me?”
“ I can’t dial up to Medicare….”

It is amazing to me how quickly the world around you can freeze up and seize operations completely. What amazes me further, is the total lack of independent thought and initiative that exists here in this office. I am the Director of Patient Care Services… basically the engine of the company…. I start it, authorize it and make sure it gets done. If it is not working, I make it work or hire the people to make it work. I explain to the owners the problem and how it is going to be solved. I then write a policy and educate the entire staff on what the problem was, how “we” are going to fix it and the procedures they must now follow, backed up with regulatory requirements to shut up all groaning and moaning that will inevitably follow the announcement of the new policy and procedure.

I call the phone company and surf through the very creative prompts asking me questions so that it can direct my phone call through proper channels… the irony of this whole situation is that I have to call the phone company to explain I have no phones…. The true reason God gave us cell phone technology.

“I will start a trouble ticket for you, ma’m”
“What does that mean?”
“Someone will call you to discuss your needs further”
“How are they going to call me… I have no phones!”
“Is there an alternate phone number you can be reached?”
“That probably should be put on that trouble ticket, hmn?”
“Yes, ma’m….”
“Listen…. This is a home care agency… we rely solely on this phone for our patients to access medical attention, we must be placed in an urgent status”
“Yes, ma’m….”
“Is there any way you can capture the line and forward it to our answering service”
“Yes, ma’m”
(Can YOU perhaps offer anything to help me through this so that it is as painless as possible?!?!?!?!)

I get a call back
“We are not getting a line response”
(REALLY?!?! You mean I didn’t accurately explain the situation earlier on the trouble ticket when I stated the lines were DEAD)
“We are going to have to call SBC to have them come check the lines”
(I thought they were called ATT now, but I am too pissy to get into a “RIGHT FIGHT”)
“And how long will that take?”
“I am not sure, ma’m…. I have to send them a trouble ticket with an onsite request”
(shoot me… just shoot me….)
“What are your business hours next week?”
“It can’t be next week, it must be today.”
“What time do you close?”
“If you can make them come, I will make sure someone is here”
“Will you be there Saturday?”
“I would prefer today, but again… someone will be here whenever they need to be here to get this problem solved.”

“SBC is here”
(Again…. ATT thought swims through my head…. DROP IT!)
“ The problem is outside… do you have keys to the pad lock?”
“No, let me make a phone call…..”

“They need to make an appointment to meet us there….”
“No, they are here now… the problem is now….. they just figured out the problem now and the problem is behind the pad locked area.”
“It’ll take me 20 minutes or so to get there.”
“I will tell them you will be here is 20 minutes”
”Well… it depends on traffic”
“Okay…. I will tell them you will be here in 20 minutes depending on traffic”
“Well… if they can wait”
“They will”

Needless to say they didn’t get it solved and it is not solved yet…..Monday afternoon. We have played a constant game of it’s their problem… no it’s THEIR problem between phone companies and I now have a cell phone bill through the roof as all phone calls normally made through 5 lines to an office full of people, are all channeling through my cell phone.

Internally I have a staff of people who have no idea what they should be doing since they can’t access the phones or the internet….. I cannot believe that I am actually reminding them of things they can be doing without phones or the internet…….


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