Chasing Down Lab Results

Mom had a blood draw on the 6th, a week ago yesterday. A mobile phlebotomist did the draw at her apartment, and then took the sample to a lab. A week later we didn’t have any results. After asking her doctor and the community’s Health Services Director if they had results (no), I started by calling the mobile phlebotomist. They told me what lab it was dropped off to: Kaiser. Kaiser has been a closed HMO model since I was a little kid.

Kaiser is my first medical memory. My dad took me to their ER where I recall having a doc use a pink pliers to extract a piece of glass from my foot. It had been there long enough (little kid) that I had blood poisoning. My distant memory is that the group of medicos surrounding, and likely holding me down, were firm yet kind, and told me how important it was that they were able to remove the offending foreign object. This was also the first time I was made aware that I was allergic to penicillin.

I called the Kaiser lab number the mobile phlebotomist company gave me. Kaiser asked me for a member number…. I was perplexed from the start as to why the blood sample would have been dropped to Kaiser… The gal I talked to was sweet and helpful. Long story short, we concluded I needed to call the phlebotomist company back to find out exactly which, of many, Kaiser labs in our area the sample had been dropped off to.

I let the phlebotomy company know that I had gone from ‘understanding and collaborative’ to ‘fucking furious.’ Long story short, the gal who had given me the initial information owned up to having given me the wrong lab info. While that’s a ridiculous error, at least she had the correct lab info in her hand, saving a zillion steps hunting down mom’s lab results.

The lab where mom’s blood draw was dropped off had no information other than her name and birthdate. This is something I will drill down to bedrock on. I did not spend $65 for a phlebotomist to make a house call, and then toss the sample to the nearest geographical lab with zero details on where the results should be sent.

The service rep at the lab who received mom’s blood draw was a dear, had me hold while he called Dr. O for his fax #, and then got back on the line to let me know he was sending the results as we were speaking.

This feels like being the plaintiff in a car accident case. You are the one who has to administrate the insurance shenanigans when everyone else fucks up or drops the ball. 🙄

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