Medicare helpline is criticised as inacurate, inappropriate and incomplete

(U.S.A) Federal investigators said that about one-third of their calls resulted in faulty responses or no response at all because of disconnected calls. The accuracy rates varied a great deal based on the question, but when it came to one of the most important questions, operators provided the right answer only 41 percent of the time. That question concerned which drug plan cost the least for a beneficiary based on certain drug needs.

The investigators with the Government Accountability Office also kept track of how long it took for operators to answer the phone at 1-800-Medicare. For 75 percent of the 500 calls made, the wait was less than five minutes. However, for more than one in 10 calls, it took operators more than 15 minutes to answer the call.

“In one case, we were placed on hold for 54 minutes before being disconnected,” the GAO reported.

The investigators also looked at the federal government’s Web site, as well as the information described in a handbook sent to all beneficiaries. They found problems there as well.

 

How to shorten the waiting time could be an interesting topic in Health Economics/ Public Health.

 

为缩短某特定方面的健康热线咨询的等待时间,设计调查问卷及数据处理方法。

 

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