Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Attempt #4 - Interpreter for the Doctor's Office.

I walked in the doctor's office this morning and found a different secretary at the appointment window. To cut to the chase, I informed her that I was here previously and had been on the phone with them. I'd like to meet with someone about having an interpreter for my appointment. The secretary referred me to the same nurse that I've previously been with and I believe this is the same person that hung up on me yesterday.

This nurse handed me a clipboard with paperwork attached and tried to fingerspell to me. I was moderately surprised because she never fingerspelled to me in my previous two visits. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand her fingerspelling so we went back to writing back and forth. She wrote that I had to complete the new patients information forms before I can be admitted for appointments. Which was upsetting because I filled out the very same forms in 'Attempt #1' as I've told her over the phone yesterday.

As I turned in the forms, the nurse notified me that she'll need schedule my appointment two weeks in advance to find an interpreter. I was given the tentative date of July 19th. note: the doctor's office is closed from July 3rd to 7th. I wanted to asked for an appointment at a sooner date but I held back because what really matters is that they're finally making progress to get an interpreter and I'm confident that at future appointments, they'll learn that they can set up appointments within 72 hours in advance.

Within few hours, I've received an e-mail this afternoon that they've gotten an interpreter and was able to move up the date of the appointment to July 17th instead of the 19th.

Mission accomplished!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Attempt #3 - Interpreter for the Doctor's Office.

It's been over a week and I have not received an e-mail or phone call regarding my upcoming appointment with an interpreter.

I called the office this morning and spoke with the secretary that remembers me from the past two times I've been at the office. She apologized that she couldn't find an interpreter and told me that she has seen me read and write well hence I can come in for an appointment without an interpreter. I remained steadfast and assured her that she can find an interpreter and I asked her for the names of the interpreter agencies that she called to get an interpreter then I was put on hold...

Another woman picked up the phone and told me that they know how to fingerspell and repeated the mantra that she has seen me read and write well and asked me to have my appointment without an interpreter. I explained to the lady that I can write back and forth at a fast food restaurant for my order and I can write back and forth at the auto store for a specific part I want but at the doctor's office, I require an interpreter to have a full access and understanding of what is happening and being explained during my appointment.

The lady on the phone soften and told me that they will try and search for an interpreter but at the time, they cannot serve me because I'm not in their computer. I told her that I was in her office twice in the past two weeks. She then tells me that the secretary tells her that I didn't fill out any form last week then I replied that is because I already filled it out two weeks ago and the secretary last week didn't ask me to fill out any forms. The lady on the phone replied, "I'm sorry, that's your word against her word. We don't have you on our file and you'll need to come in and fill out paperwork."

I then came to a conclusion...I told the lady that I will be in her office late today or tomorrow after I complete phone calls to "people" that I was not provided service. The lady suddenly gotten upset and told me not to do that because they have not refused me an interpreter. I told her that you may have not refused me an interpreter but you are denying me of service due to putting me through "red-tape" of changing my PCP provider and coming back to fill out "paperwork" when I've filled it out in the past and you are encouraging me to come in without an interpreter. She then hung up on me.


Shortly after the call, I called my local GACHI office and explained to them of the phone converstation I had. I was told that they've called and faxed information on the ADA regarding interpreters at the doctor's office and they've faxed a list of interpreter agencies and freelance interpreters to them. They will make another call to the office today to follow up on my case.

I also called my insurance provider and explained the situation to them. The person on the line apologized on the behalf of the doctor's office and will be contact them today to have them provide better service and inform them that they must provide an interpreter by request.

I will be at the office tomorrow morning to fill out their "paperwork" and hope that this third trip to the office will be the charm to receive service and an interpreter.

For further information on having interpreters for the doctor's office. Go to this link - www.nad.org/doctors.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Want Change? Give Feedback.

I'm on the look out for jobs and the best place to do that is to contact your college/university's career center. I've signed up for my alma mater's e-mail listserv of job listings. I receive several e-mails from them a day/week and it has become time consuming to open all those e-mails and attachment to find that the position is advertised for California, Montana, or Maine. Whereas I'm interested in certain states. Thus, I decided to e-mail to my career center on the feedback to add the intials of the state in the subject line of the e-mail so we can easily sort them out as we look for job positions. To my delight, they've loved the feedback and they've adopted the change.

Fr: deb(at)gallaudet.edu
To: sonnyjames(at)yahoo.com
Subject: RE: Job Postings

Hi Sonny!
Nice to hear from you. Hope all is well with you. Thanks for your brilliant idea. We will start adding the state next to the job title in the subject line so the alumni will only open the email they want to read.
Have a great summer!

-----Original Message-----
Fr: sonnyjames(at)yahoo.com
To: Gallaudet University Career Center
Subject: Job Postings

For future reference could you please post the initials of the state that the job is being advertised from in the Subject line because I cannot go through them all to find if the job announcement is from Georgia, Alabama, or Tennessee.

To be connected to your Alumni Job Network - click on your alma mater.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Attempt #2 - Interpreter for the Doctor's Office.

I waited for a week after my first attempt at the doctor's office to give my GACHI Advocate time to mail information and pamphlets to the doctor's office on the ADA law and how to get an interpreter and serve the deaf community. In that time frame I've also received my new insurance card with the correct doctor listed on the card as my PCP.

I walked in the doctor's office and met with the same secretary that I was with last week. I gave her my insurance card and asked for an appointment. She said I could come in tomorrow. I reminded her about last week that I had requested an interpreter for the appointment. She didn't flinch or turn around and talk with the nurse about an interpreter. She surprised me by asking, okay, how does this work?

I told her that there are two ways. She could go ahead and give me an appointment that is a week in advance then begin calling for interpreters and ask them to come in at that specific time. Or with my flexible and open schedule, I permitted her to call interpreters and let them decide when was the best time to come in and let me know when that is and I'll be there.

I will call the doctor's office through video relay to follow up their progress on finding an interpreter. That is to be in my next post.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Attempt #1.5 - Interpreter for the Doctor's Office.

Immediately after 'Attempt #1' - I contacted my local GACHI advocate (Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired, Inc) about being turned away after asking for an interpreter at the doctor's office.

I explained what had happened and gave the advocate the address and phone number of the doctor's office from the business card I've gotten. The advocate said they'll send the doctor's office information sheets and pamphlets on the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) on requiring interpreters at the doctor's office. If the doctor's office turn me away after the 2nd time, they'll call and may visit the office to educate them and help me to get the services that they're required to provide.

The second step after getting in touch with my local GACHI advocate - I called my insurance carrier and changed my PCP (Primary Care Physician) provider to the one that I had visited. I also took the opportunity to explain on what had recently happened and the customer representative that I spoke with assured me that this should have not happen and if it happened again, my insurance carrier will contact the doctor's office and lobby on my behalf to have them to provide an interpreter.

I've just received a new insurance card in the mail with the correct PCP on my card. I will be going to the doctor's office this afternoon and keep you posted.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Attempt #1 - Interpreter for the Doctor's Office.

Growing up back in Faribault, Minnesota - I never had a problem receiving an interpreter for the doctor's office. Onward to Gallaudet University in Washington, DC - I never had a problem receiving an interpreter for the doctor's office. BOOM - Here I am in Cave Spring, Georgia - I was told by the local community that its near-impossible to receive interpreting services in the doctor's office and even in the hopsitals. Please note that Faribault and DC indeed has a large friendly deaf community but Cave Spring stands out because this town has nearly 1,000 residents and approximately ten percent of them are deaf or hard of hearing. Where else in America can you find a community that has ten percent of its resident deaf or hard of hearing?

Attempt #1

On the Internet - Through my insurance provider's website, I made my pick of a family doctor based on how close her office was to my home and the Wal-Mart Supercenter that I could shop after the appointment.

I called the doctor's office through video relay services (VRS) and the secretary was friendly and told me to come in the next morning to fill out paperwork before I could schedule an appointment. That went well, I thought since the secretary had no problems with the VRS.

The very next morning, I stopped by the office and I was warmly greeted by the secretary and was given two pages of simple "paperwork" as I turned in my insurance card. Within 15 minutes, I was given an appointment at this Monday, June 19th at 2 pm. That was easy and quick, I thought.

At this point, I asked for an interpreter to present at my appointment and suddenly this secretary turned to an older lady who appears to be a nurse and quickly talked back and forth. The secretary wrote back that the doctor knows some sign language - and I wrote back that its wonderful she knows sign language but as she is a medically professional doctor, I will also need a professional certified interpreter alongside. With my reponse, I was "put on hold" for several minutes as the secretary and the nurse talked at length and the nurse took over the secretary's seat and went over the computer then she wrote to me that the office cannot serve me because they are not the assigned PCP (Primary Care Physician) on my insurance card. I notified the nurse that I'm new to the area and the PCP that is assigned to me is not my choice and I choose this office. The nurse replied, "contact your insurance company to change PCP then come back."

There you have it - I will be back to that doctor's office and I will blog on my second attempt.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Spread LiveChat.

For anybody that has connections to small, medium, large, or even extra-large business - I'd like to spread awareness of the LiveChat feature whereas it doesn't only gathers them more clients/customers but become leaders for providing services to the deaf and hard of hearing people. On a second thought, this LiveChat feature would also be great for our local, state, and federal government.

Below are the various links to acquire the LiveChat feature. Please spread the awareness to your connections.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Quicken Loans - LiveChat.

I've received an awesome e-mail few days ago and I've received permission to post it.


I work at Quicken Loans in Livonia, Michigan and thought you might be interested in writing about a new feature on our website – online chat -- that seems to be popular with our deaf customers.

We’ve learned that our deaf clients prefer online chat because of its ease and security. We‘ve also found that deaf clients like the added benefit of being able to communicate directly with us, avoiding having to use a relay service to translate the conversation. Obtaining a mortgage is one of the most stressful financial transactions a person can make and there’s not much room for error. Good communication is key to a successful transaction, and chat is really proving to be a useful tool.

Interestingly enough, when we first began testing chat on our site, we weren’t even aware of the benefit to deaf customers. It was through our interactions with our deaf clients that we realized they preferred the service. Below I’ve included a few pieces of actual chat transcripts that I thought you might be interested in (names and phones numbers deleted for privacy reasons):

[01:17:00 PM] Karen: With over 150 different options I am confident that we can find something that makes sense for you. Would you like to continue the process through chat or would you prefer to continue over the phone?
[01:17:18 PM] Visitor: thru chat is fine since I m deaf... smile...
[18:26:50] Lindsi: What number can I call you at?
[18:28:05] Visitor: ok, let me explain you first. you will need to call Sorenson Video Relay Service (VRS) first at (deleted) then VRS will ask you for my home phone number – (deleted). Is it clear to you?
[18:28:39] Visitor: it is just because I am hearing impaired
[18:29:10]Lindsi: Do you prefer to chat about it then?
[18:29:24] Visitor: yes, it would be much easier
[18:31:41] Lindsi: Okay, whatever is best for you. I have my grandfathers hearing and I could not get in to the teaching program in school based off my hearing test. That was hard although I assume that your situation is different. Where do you plan to go on vacation?

[13:30:13] Chelsea: Okay, with over 150 different options I am confident that we can find something that makes sense for you. Would you like to continue the process through chat or would you prefer to continue over the phone?
[13:30:42] Visitor: thru chat
[13:30:44] Visitor: bec im deaf
[13:31:28] Chelsea: Okay, just one moment, let me get you your reference number.

Nwani: That's right, you said it was discharged 3 years ago. Okay, (name deleted), right now we have over 150 programs going, and what I need to do is narrow them down to the one or two that will work best for you. The quickest way to get you the information you need is to spend a few moments on the phone. What’s the best number to reach you at right now?
[10:07:05] Visitor: I am deaf and I would prefer to do it like this instead of over the phone.
[10:08:10] Nwani: Okay (name deleted), what I'll do is get you over to one of our bankers. Let me get your reference number...

If you have any suggestions on how we might make our site more accessible, we’d appreciate that feedback as well. Or, if you ever do a blog entry about businesses providing services to deaf people, please consider mentioning us. We would greatly appreciate it.

And of course, feel free to try out the chat yourself (no purchase necessary). Just go to our site www.quickenloans.com and click on the “Chat online now!” link in the upper right corner of the page. One of our bankers will join the chat to answer any questions you ask.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Newsweek's Equal.

From time to time, I like to google up my own name or my blogsite and find who and what is linking to me out there in the world wide web.

I found an excellent blog by Mike McConnell's Kokonut Pundits blogsite citing "How Readable Is Your Deaf Blog?"

Mike has rated my site and found that I'm Newsweek's equal and I'm honoured...after all I do subscribe and read those type of magazines - Newsweek, Time, U.S. News & World Report and Week.

Correction: Mike didn't actually rate my site and others as well. He used the 'Juicy Studio: Readability Test.' Please read his blog link above to get the full idea of how the readability test works.