Let’s Talk About Incompetence: Apria Healthcare Can’t Get it Together to Get Patient Oxygen.

Let’s take a minute and talk about insurance and home health care companies. See, when you have an insurance like Cigna, which is what I have, instead of going to a pharmacy and getting some medications–you have to order it from a specialty mail-in pharmacy.

My first experience with this was about a year ago when I first started my Sub-Q therapy. It took about two weeks for Blue Cross to get it together with CareMark and Carecentrix and then of course they had to work with a home-nursing company who provided a nurse who had no idea what she was doing.

Fair enough.

The drama continued as I tried to get refills that never came, and bags of Saline that would come with the kind of needles you would not want to use for that kind of procedure. Then came the drama of a shot I’m supposed to take that was so late arriving that I ended up paying close to $100 to buy it at a local CVS–and was never refunded.

So here’s the latest: I’m supposed to be taking oxygen on the plane ride. The POTS Treatment Center strongly recommended this, they believed it would help with my motion sickness and vertigo.

Okay– Had my doctor write me a script and then called Cigna to figure out where to submit it. They asked me to fax it to CareCentrix. Okay–took it to Kinkos, sent the script via fax–and then went home and called Carecentrix to make sure they received it. They did–and they promised someone would call me that day to schedule a drop off time for the oxygen.

But nobody ever called. Weird.

So I called them, reitereated the situation to one of their reps–and she gave me the number for a company called Apria. Apria was their oxygen distributor–and that meant that instead of working with Cigna, or Caremark, or Carecentrix, I was going to now have to speak with Apria.


Called Apria–immediately went into a hold…and I waited…and waited…

and nobody ever picked up. In fact, the line eventually just went dead.

Thinking this must be a glitch, I called back and tried three more times. Nope. Not a one-time-thing.

Frustrated, I called Cigna–and then Carecentrix again and let them know that no one was picking up at Apria–and could they try calling?

So they tried and when the rep came back on the phone with me, she told me that someone from Apria would call me back.

Guess what? Ah, smart readers! Or maybe that was just too easy? They never called….

So now it’s Friday–and I wake up concerned. Yes, at this point I’m thinking–no one is showing up at my house today with a portable oxygen concentrator. Nobody has this handled. I’m lost out in space and no one is coming.

So, on my way to Cardiac Rehab I get on the phone and straight out plead with the rep from Carecentrix to fix this and get me oxygen today.

Rattled by my tale of woe, the rep says she’ll contact a different company to send me the oxygen–and someone from that company will call me within the hour.

Can anyone guess what happened next?

Nothing, that’s what. Because nobody fucking called.

Twitching, frothing at the mouth–I delicately placed another call to CareCentrix.

“You realize that I’ve been trying to fill this order all week, right? That I’ve put on every note, and said in every conversation that I need this filled by Friday? That you guys are supplying me with OXYGEN–not antacids. There very well might be a need for urgency and for someone to manage this….”

Someone would call me back.

Finally just got a call from Apria just now and my heart nearly stopped with releif.

Except when I picked up they said that my prescription didn’t specify that the oxygen was for traveling–and the oxygen they had was not made for transportation.

I think my head exploded. The rep said I needed to speak with another part of Apria, in another state, who could tell me what flaming hoop I’d be asked to jump through next in order to get some canned air.

So I placed another call. To another rep. And as I’m on that call, and the rep tells me she needs to speak with another rep who is managing my case–the call gets interrupted by my called ID–and someone from Apria is calling–while I’m on the phone with Apria.

I merge the two calls and try to reason with the agents that there must be some way to deliver portable oxygen today.

And after a long and frustrating conversation….


….They said they’ll call me back.

It does not look like I’m going to be getting oxygen for this flight.

But it was a really nice thought anyways.