What to do with a nonresponsive pump company?

October 20th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

 (Got this question on facebook yesterday and decided I had enough to say in response I might as well blog about it.  Thanks for asking, and I hope something here helps you out somehow!!)

What do you do when your insulin pump company fails you and won’t send you supplies?

My first reaction when I read this question was to question “How does a pump company fail anyone?  What promises does someone think they made to you?”

But I do recognize that I have been disappointed in MiniMed for several years; after Medtronic purchased MiniMed I felt their service levels changed.  I now spend a minimum of 30 minutes on hold before I can speak to anyone.  That disappoints and frustrates me.

And that wasn’t really the question.  Seems to me the question was based on a current crisis.  Even if it isn’t a real crisis (maybe you still have 3 weeks of supplies), it most assuredly feels like a crisis!  I do hate that—as if we don’t have enough to think about, we spend time worrying if we will get our supplies in time.

But really, a pump company will hold up supplies usually for two reasons.  One, there is a problem with your prescription for supplies.  Perhaps it was unclear, perhaps it expired.  Either way, they won’t send you a thing until your doctor okays it.  Two, there is a problem with your account.  Maybe they missed recording your last payment, maybe your insurance changed, or maybe there is some wacky hold on there for some reason.

But the bottom line is you need to take care of this as soon as possible.  If that means calling from work, that’s what it means.  If it means calling your doctor’s office and asking them to call the pump company to straighten out what they need, that’s what it means.  It simply will not get resolved without your repeated efforts to get a response from the pump company.

And yes, this is one of those things that just completely bugs me about having diabetes.  Seriously.  We all deal every day with everything we EAT, everything we DO, everything we THINK ABOUT, and we pause our lives several times a day to check our blood sugar levels.  And this is what bugs me: having to stay on top of the administration of my disease. 

But that’s the truth: no one else is going to care as much about your own health as you do.  No one else is going to stay awake worrying if you will get your supplies on time or not.  (I imagine they are busy worrying about their own health.)  So it really is up to you to take care of the administrative side of your disease.  (Maybe a spouse can help, but even that can get complicated these days with HIPAA.) 

My suggestion and response, then, is to 1) recognize that the pump company is a company and not someone who owes you anything or can fail you on a personal level; 2) recognize that any problem you face with getting your supplies probably has a simple root hidden amidst the tangled mess you see now, and 3) recognize that no one else has the same motivation you have to get resolution.  Ask for help from your doctor’s office; ask for help from the customer service people at the pump company; ask for help from anyone you can think of! 

Good luck getting a resolution and more importantly, getting the supplies you need!

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