How to Get Rid of a Customer


customer service

Hello, ERP here from ER stories.

The other day we had a woman come in the the ER with complaints of vague chest and back pain for many months.  We noticed she had never been there before and was from out of state.  When asked why she suddenly decided to come in for this problem, she stated that she a seen an ad for our hospital’s new ER on a bus in her neighbourhood and thought, “Hey, that hospital looks great! I think I will go over there right now!”.

Some of the docs joked about how our hospital’s marketing dept was doing too good of a job – in attracting the wrong type of customer!  This hospital wants insured patients to come and schedule elective surgeries and have expensive out patient studies done.  Instead, they got someone with out of state Medicaid come to the ER for a completely non-urgent problem.  (I was personally more annoyed about the fact that she came in for a chronic condition than her insurance status).  Anyway,  due to her Medicaid being out of state, she would not be able to follow up with any of our doctors or our clinic so she would wind up being referred back to her state.

Which is why I was more than suspicious when the lab mysteriously lost not one, but TWO sets of bloods that were drawn on the patient.  Thus she experienced a delay of more than two hours in getting a disposition.  She expressed her frustration by saying “Your hospital is not great at all!  I am not coming back!”.    Hmmmmmmmm.


  1. ““Your hospital is not great at all! I am not coming back!””

    *Trailing off* Oh no, we don’t want you to *leave*, come back….come back.


  2. That’s funny! :)

    So ..did you ever find out where the blood went?

    Anonymous 12:37 also funny!

    Where I worked ..when I would inform staff the patient was threatening to leave (after triage)and before being seen to go to “the other” hospital (even busier and half hr away)because the wait was too long on a busy night… they’d say they’ll be down to hold the door open for them on their way out. :)

  3. Um, I agree with her. A hospital losing two sets of bloodwork? Unprofessional with any insurance status, and plain dangerous from a liability standpoint. Chain of command? Accountability?

    She may not understand medicine and where to go when, but she’s on the ball in evaluating performance.

  4. There’s an apocryphal story of a pile of old blood vials, etc being found a the bottom of an old Bellevue elevator shaft. Seriously, though, your hospital would make more revenue and increase patient satisfaction by opening its own “Minute Clinic” across the street, allowing triage of these patients to an appropriate level of care and decompressing the ED. Win – win.

    • Part of the problem with that is that many Minute Clinics require a co-pay up front and the ER is “free” with Medicaid.

  5. I have no idea what happened to the blood. However, blood does get “lost” with annoying regularity. It usually shows up mysteriously after several complaining phone calls though. These were just really lost – which is why I thought it was bizarre…..

  6. Arthur Deininger, M.D. on

    I work in a military hospital ED as Locums Phys.
    where all medical care and treatment is free.
    Greater than 50% of the patients I see could wait until the next day for evaluation in the clinic.
    Many have very minor complaints.
    I would like to see a health care system (even in the military) where a small co-pay ($5) is required for all who have “free” care.
    I believe this would dramatically reduce ER volume and costs from unnesessary Emerg. care.

  7. It certainly looks like there was a disconnect between what she really needed and where she chose to get it, but unfortunately, I think this is pretty common. It seems that more and more people turn to the ER to provide this type of care, which likely means that patients who actually need to be in the ER are waiting longer. With that said, how did her blood become lost? This seems atypical of most labs…

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