Are Walgreens' Customers Stupid -- or does Walgreens Just Expect Them to Be?

Walgreens, CPAP, Durable Medical Supplies, Health Insurance, Forms, Hassle, Give a "Chip"


With all the advertisements on TV and other media, more than likely most folks ahve heard of Sleep Apnea.

It is a condition in which a person's air way partially or fully collapses while they are sleeping, and they are not getting enough oxygen -- which results in their partial awakening to open the passageway, lack of sleep, and possible heart problems down the road.

There are many different causes of the air way collapse.  I was diagnosed with this condition about 15 years ago, and in my case, per my doctor, my jaw is too far back, there is residual scar tissue from when my tonsils were removed, etc.

My options were major surgery moving both jaws forward (I was surprised to learn that the upper jaw can be moved with the lower) along with additional slicing and dicing ------------------ OR I could simply use a little machine called a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) which works on the blowing up a balloon principle, and keeps the airway open.

Simple choice for me --- I took the machine over the breaking and repositioning of jaws and doing a roto rooter job on my throat!

After almost 15 years of bliss --- using the CPAP --- updating machines as they improved and getting new parts and accessories as need --- lo and behold, my current insurer does not use the durable medical equipment supplier that I had used for over a decade.  Therefore I had to change to their supplier of choice, Walgreens.

There is a whold separate story here about the need for a new sleep study, new prescription from the doctor, setting up an appointment with Walgreens for new fitting, and of course co-ordinating this all with the insurance company.

These new CPAP machines are basically pretty automatic, unlike the old ones.  The old ones were pre-set to a certain pressure, and had to be changed manually if that setting was no longer the proper one.  The new machines have a computer, that detects the proper pressure and continually re-adjusts it to meet the needs. It has a little computer chip that can be read by computer to give a nice little prinout to the doctor, to verify all is well.

Sounds fairly simple and it should be.  Doctor calls supplier to get reading on chip, supplier does reading and sends to doctor.

But simple must not be in Walgreens vocabulary.

The doctor called them for a reading.  They called me a couple weeks ago (but did not identify themselves except to say they were calling about the computer chip) -- I was in a meeting and asked if I could call them back, but the gal said she would call me back in about an hour.

Whle two weeks later --- I get another call, this time they say they are with Walgreens, and need me to bring the chip in for them to test, per my doctor's request.  They left this message on my voicemail, did not leave a call back number, did not tell me how to transport the chip (could it be mailed?), or much of any information at all.

They are way out around 113th and Water Town Plank Road, which is a pretty good distance from Shorewood, but this morning I figured I had better get the chip to them and get it over with.  Despite no instructions of even where the chip was, I found it, put it in a container and drove out there.

Of course, the receptionist could not take the chip, which makes sense, so I was asked to wait for a techinician to come out for it. 

After about 5 minutes, another gal (I presume the technican) comes out from a door, with an armful of papers and a new chip.  I give her the old chip, and she hands me the new chip..................... and then the fun began!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She plopped down this ream of paperwork and told me to sign at the bottom of the top page.

This page was filled with a couple of dozen spaces that were filled in by hand, with all kinds of numbers --- some well over a Thousand Dollar$.

I asked what all the numbers were, and she said that was the agreement for the machine, which the insurance company actually rents for the first 6 months, and then buys it ( I asked but never got a good answer as to whether that is more expensive than just buying it).

Of course all that paperwork had been done months ago, when I first got the new machine.  I told her that, and said I was just dropping off the chip.

She said, oh actually it is just for this number, which was a $75 charge for downloading the information, of which I would have a $9 co-pay ....... and that ALL the other numbers, which were handwritten, did not apply.

Great -- I said then I would just cross out all those other numbers and just sign for the $75 ........

Nope --- she didn't want that, she said they all had to stay, and she needed the form signed.

NOW --- back to the opening question ....Are Walgreens' Customers Stupid -- or does Walgreens Just Expect Them to Be?

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer --- but even I know better than to sign some form with handwritten amounts of Thousands of Dollar$ without knowing what it says ...... along with the sheaf of papers attached (I have seen less paperwork involved in buying a car from a dealer!)

Oh they assured me --- they would go over all the paperwork with me so they could explain it ........

UH NO --- not in the deal. 

I was asked to bring chip in, I did.  I did not volunteer to spend half an hour going over some paperwork they blindside me with ---- I have appointments and it was already an hour wasted just to take the chip to them.

So as far as I was concerned --- they had their Chip --- I had my Chip --- and other than that, I did not give a "Chip" :-)

Would you (readers) have signed the form without knowing what it was?  Would you gladly have spent another half an hour going over a form that was never mentioned?  Are you a Walgreens' customer --- are you stupid --- or does Walgreens expect you to be stupid?


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