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so long, farewell…

Dear Animas,

We are through. Through. After three long years, our relationship has soured to the point where I’m cutting you loose.

Why, you ask? Of course you would ask that, given how much money you must earn from my daughter’s medical needs. I was happy with you in those first few months. You’re billing department has always been abysmal, but there were some positive experiences early on in our relationship. Your tech support and customer service folks were outstanding: responsive and concerned for my daughter’s well-being. When the print on the pump buttons rubbed off, you sent a new pump right away. When we were plagued by occlusion alarms, you helped me try different strategies to address the problem and eventually replaced the pump when it could not be resolved. Plus, you know, you have those pink infusion sets, which made the transition from injection therapy to pump therapy a little easier for my then 6-year-old to accept.

Over time, though, your services have deteriorated. Let me give you some specifics.

When sand and water kept getting into the connection between the insulin cartridge and the tubing, you kept telling me that I was doing something wrong. Have you changed the cartridge cap? Is the cap screwed on tightly? Our pump is highly water resistant… sand and water can’t be getting in there. I will give you some props: you did, at one time, express interest in figuring out this conundrum and actually asked me to send in sand-contaminated components to be examined by your R&D people. Yet, here we are, a year later (note, sand and water were never a problem in the original pump we received)… and there’s sand and water in the cartridge/tubing connection once again… and it’s because of user error. No, really, it’s not user error. Please. I can tighten a cartridge cap just fine.

Or how about this. At some point in the last three years, the software platform for your data program, Diasend, was improved. Since then, I’ve never been able to get it download data from Madeline’s pump. Have you updated the software on your computer? Are you sure you’re holding the <stupid> dongle properly to retain the data connection? Have you unregistered and re-registered the pump into the software program? Call Diasend. It’s their problem. Guess what Diasend said? It sounds like a problem with your pump. SoI’ve had to find other methods of keeping data so that I can analyze trends and make informed decisions about insulin programming. I particularly enjoy the time drain involved here, since I have nothing else to do.

And then this. Your billing department is horrible. HORRIBLE. Cannot apply payments appropriately, cannot tabulate the insurance copayment correctly. Cannot answer questions about my account. Cannot provide me with an invoice that actually itemizes the costs of supplies when my insurance company asks for documentation. And now, your shipping department seems to be following suit. When it takes over three weeks to process a simple supply order–an order I’ve been placing every three months for the last three years without a single change–well, that is just unacceptable. When you send me emails indicating that my order is proceeding through the pipeline, insurance coverage has been confirmed, yada yada yada, I assume there are no glitches. Until you call me and leave me a message instructing me to call you… and when I do, the customer service person tells me I’m not sure why we called you, because your order looks like it’s all set and should be shipping out soon. But then you call me back again, this time to say that you have no medical documentation on file that indicates necessity for the supplies, so therefore the order is on hold. Say what? Well, I found out the real story: you updated your billing and shipping systems recently and lost a good deal of electronic documentation in the process. And now, Madeline’s endocrinologist is scrambling to fax a letter of necessity before June 30, to help the order process before the end of the fiscal year so that I can use the funds in my health savings account to cover the copayment before I lose access to them.

Oh, it’s July 1 today. The order is still not complete. Goodbye, $267 in my health savings account.

I’m stuck with you while I court other companies, but once the deal is made, it’s going to be goodbye to you, Animas.

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About Heather Garcia Queen

I am… a mother of 3 spectacular children. A wife of an architect extraordinaire. An MSW. A psychologist in an elementary school. A (wishful) writer. A protector of family and spirit. A worshipper of the natural world. A seeker of knowledge. A lover of the arts. An introvert. A silver-lining kind of girl.

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