Before today, I was a fan of Dr. Rivera and her staff and had made an effort to go to her office these past few years despite the fact that she was out of network for my insurance. I had read the reviews about her being rude and condescending, and despite being on the receiving end of her snippiness a few times (so yes, the other reviews ARE true), I generally found her to be pleasant and very thorough in her work.
However, today’s experience completed negated any positive feelings I had, and was nothing short of a nightmare ordeal. I was running a few minutes late to my appointment as a result of rain and traffic, and as a courtesy, I called Dr. Rivera’s office to let them know that I was running a little late but that I would be there no more than 5-10 minutes late. The male receptionist informed me that Dr. Rivera had a policy that anyone more than 5 minutes late could be in the danger of having their appointment rescheduled. I found this very surprising (5 minutes, really?) but before I could say anything, he informed me that an exception would be made today and that I would be seen. At this point, I was about 15 minutes from the office and so I continued on my way in.
When I arrived (exactly 8 minutes after my appointment time), the same receptionist took down my information and I waited in the waiting area for a few minutes. Then, a female staff member asked to speak with me and pulled me out of the waiting area to let me know that she had consulted with Dr. Rivera and that the doctor did not want to see me because I was 10 minutes late.
I was completely stunned by this. I was already in the office (after a nearly 50 minute drive), there were no other patients in the waiting room, and the receptionist had told me that I would be seen when I had called him previously. I also am an old patient of the doctor’s and was back in town for a visit as I now reside in a different state, and when I informed the female staff member of this, she told me there was nothing that could be done to accommodate me. The doctor’s office is pretty small, and so I know that Dr. Rivera heard me while I was trying to work something out, but she and her other nurses/assistants did not come out to talk to me.
I get that I was a few minutes late which is my fault, but the reaction from the doctor and her inability to be flexible and understanding is completely shocking, especially since my usual waiting time at her office is around 30-45 minutes. I would have somewhat understood her new policy had her waiting room been completely packed, but she had no patients in the waiting room and was not seeing any other patient at that time. I also would have somewhat understood had the receptionist turned me away when I had called and saved myself an additional 15 minutes of commuting time + 10 minutes of waiting time in the office. Instead, I ended up with no doctor’s appointment, wasted 2 hours commuting round trip, and extreme frustration.