Hi Folks. I work as a "PST" (phlebotomist) for labcorp, and wanted to chime in on some of what I'm reading here. I can't comment on anything concerning missing tests, inaccurate tests or billing (as I don't work at the lab or the billing department), but I can explain a bit about the rest.
There are three issues here: staff, who are often rude; wait times, which are often long; common sense, which many of you - as patients - lack. I know that last one probably irks you, but I've got no ego in this. I FULLY accept my own flaws in regards to the service you may receive from me...but it IS a two way street.
Rude staff: Really, there is no defense here. We're paid to do a job, and we should do it in such a way that you don't feel disrespected. Yet, I've been rude. I've snapped at patients. Why? Frustration. Sometimes owning to that lack of common sense. Sometimes because I'm just tired. It's a stressful job. You're on your feet 9 hours a day, doing the EXACT same thing over and over. In my case, this is compounded by a slipped disc in my back that I can't get treated because I can't afford the insurance labcorp offers. Seriously.
I'm not trying to justify bad behavior here, but I am trying to explain it. When I started this job over a year ago, I was always pleasant and polite. But over time the monotony, the rudeness (yes, you guys can be rude too) and the demoralizing atmosphere that comes with knowing that no matter how hard and fast you work, you'll never really be caught up (I'll explain why in a bit), eventually piled up and made me maybe less than ideal in behavior all of the time. Again, NOT excusing, just explaing.
Wait times: You come in, sit down, and end up waiting over an hour before you are called over to have your blood drawn. Reasonable complaint, but let me break this one down:
1. Make an appointment: Some of you have claimed you've waited and waited even WITH an appointment. This is totally unacceptable and you are completely within your rights to be royally angry. Pure incompetance on the part of staff is the only reason such a thing could happen.
But as for the rest of you - you have the option of making an appointment, so make one! Even with an appointment, how long do you wait at your doctors office? I've waited nearly an hour at my doctors office. Want to know what I've never done? Got in the nurses face and started complaining about wait times.
At my location, you'll wait no more than 15 minutes if you make an appointment. That's a promise. But if you don't make one, especially after you've been told during prior visits that you should, whose fault is that? I've heard it all: "I'm diabetic", "I've been here for hours", "I've been fasting since 8pm last night". Ok, and? If you walk into my location at 7:30am without an appointment, you will have to wait.....probably a very long time.
So really, let's use a little logic: make an appointment and wait maybe 15 minutes, or walk in and wait over an hour. Which is the better option? Come on.
2. Labcorp understaffs it's locations: Pure and simple. My site sees about 70 patients a day. There are two of us. We can't get everyone in and out as quickly as we'd like. It's simple math....and it's compounded by...
3. Appointments AND walk-ins both "welcome": At my site, we allow for 2 appointments every 15 minutes. Two 730s, two 745s, etc. Now, as I mentioned above, there are only two of us phlebotomists.
Lets break it down: Because we have to not only draw your blood, but ALSO enter and order all of your tests, AND prepare your specimens for the lab, we must spend an average of 10 minutes per patient. Sometimes it's less. Sometimes it's much more, as when you come in with a scribbled order we can't read, or a laundry list of obscure tests we have to look up.
Point is, it's VERY easy to go over that 10 minute mark. Now, you've got 2 phlebotomist and 2 appointments every 15 minutes, with that huge possibility of some kind of issue. As a walk-in, realistically, when are we supposed to get to you? In between appointments? Come on, do the math. Should we skip over people who planned ahead for you? Why? And even if we did, take a guess as to what the guy with the appointment is likely to say?
I can't control how many people work at these sites. I wish I could. But look, you're dealing with a publically-traded corporation. Their concern isn't you or me: it's their shareholders. Lab stuff is just the means to their end, and their end is doing well on the stock market.
Your lack of common sense: Just like there is no real excuse for my rude behavior, there is no excuse for your lack of common sense. I'm going to touch on a few of the things I've read on this site and heard from my own patients.
* "They wouldn't draw my blood because I owe them money": Uh....and? You received a service. Pay for it. How about your boss pays you 1/4th of your paycheck and promises to pay the rest in increments? lol. Come on.
* "They wanted to put a hold on my credit card": No, "they" didn't. This one annoys me to no end, because the very sheet of paper that prints out once the card is swipped says - in the VERY first line - that NO hold is being placed on your card. I don't understand how so many grown adults lack the ability to read just a single sentence, and can't comprehend it on the same level as a 6th grader would.
99% of the time I ask for a credit card, people get all discombobulated, despite the fact that there are signs posted pretty much everywhere in the drawing station explaining that NO HOLD IS PLACED ON THE CARD.
*"They wouldn't see me because I didn't bring my insurance card": Well, how are these tests being paid for? With your MEDICAL insurance? Don't you think that you might want to bring your MEDICAL insurance card that covers the cost of your MEDICAL tests to your MEDICAL appointment? When you drive your car, do you bring your drivers license? Again - come on. This is not rocket science
*"They couldn't tell me whether or not I have to fast": Did I order your tests, or did your doctor? Of the two of us - your doctor and I - who do you think you should be asking?
I know I'm going to think of a whole bunch of other stuff to say once I post this, but I think I've covered everything I've wanted to say. Here's my message, stated simply:
1. This is a *** of a job. And before you say, "Oh, you should have got a better education", I've got two college degrees, But you know what? Things don't always work out the way you want them to. I do the best I can, and I sincerely apologize to any patient I've been rude to. But understand, the job can be demoralizing. Do you know that labcorp has "branding statements" they want all the phlebotomists to say? Its basically their version of "Welcome to McDonalds, may I take your order". I don't do it, and I won't. It's demeaning as ***. But just to know that the "higher ups" see you as a monkey who has to be instructed what to say and do...ugh.
Again, no excuse for rudeness. But just realize, you're probably going home to a better home than I have. And you HAVE medical insurance that you can afford. I don't. And probably that rude girl you had to deal with at labcorp today is in the same boat as me. It's not an excuse, but you know, it's the truth.
2. Labcorp is a corporation. They want to make money for their shareholders. They don't care about ANYTHING else. Not you, me, no one. Everytime you come into one of our drawing stations, remember, this is the dark side of capitalism. I'm not communist or fruity socialist or whatnot, but this IS the world. It's OUR world. We ALL made it this way - by shopping at Walmart, by buying cheap Chinese ***, and so on. We ALL want to save money and make money. This is the result. This is what happens when we ALL want the same selfish things.
3. Be informed, use common sense, and don't think you can cop an attitude with me because I'm paid to draw your blood. I can accept my part in these negative reviews. Accept yours.