After being told that my packages were undeliverable, I did what scientists due: I researched it. I called the USPS station that delivers to my house in Michigan and asked them if the address was good. It took me a while to get there, at least three phone calls, but Jeremy answered the phone and asked me right off the bat, was I getting any mail there. Yeah, I get baskets of junk mail. Then, dude, the address is good. We deliver if the address is good. Your address is fine, ma’am. You have a good carrier and that route is a nice one. Thank you for confirming, Jeremy.
I called Aetna back. This time, I asked for a supervisor, who swore up and down she would call back in 40 minutes. After about two hours, I called again, and as usual, the third time was the charm. I somehow to get connected to the actual pharmacy service (instead of “customer” service), and spoke to a guy who not only could see the entire file, but started from scratch with the data, checking and double-checking the address information. We got as far as the ZIP code when he asked me if my town was near Akron, MI.
Any modern piece of software that ends up printing a shipping label has a neat feature called ZIP code cross-check. This automatically populates the city field based on the ZIP code entered. Pharmacy guy found the error with minimal effort – the city that was typed into the manual entry field was different than the city from the ZIP code, because the ZIP code had not been transcribed properly. One digit was off.
I’ve reconfirmed that address with at least five Aetna reps over the last two months. Not one of them noticed the ZIP code error. This kind of issue is what software is supposed to fix for us – to reduce the impact of human error. In this case, the software worked fine. But apparently it required its user to understand the importance of what it was doing. This is just more proof that there is still no cure for stupid.
I live in Germany (duh). My generous employer contracts with Aetna International to manage my health care benefits. This has produced some rather funny phone calls that have left me with a serious case of indigestion. Most focus around the pharmacy benefit – Aetna’s international plan strongly recommends that participants use the Aetna mail-order pharmacy to save costs. Sounds good, right? Until you discover that they don’ t ship out of the country.
My first go-around with these people centered around two reps at the pharmacy call center who were sure that Aetna shiped to Germany “all the time”. I repeatedly told both of them that NO, I DO NOT LIVE ON AN AIRBASE. I HAVE A GERMAN POST CODE. Both swore up and down that this was no problem. Four weeks later, I was sitting in the office of a German doctor, begging in broken German for a maintenance medication that is so rarely prescribed over here that she had to call a pharmacy to see if it was even available! It turned out to cost four times what the US generic price is due to being unusual.
Once I had some meds, I returned to the phone. Since not only does the US Government prohibit US pharmacies from shipping out of the country (APOs and FPOs are technically US addresses, so don’t count), Aetna refuses to allow its reps to make international calls, severely limiting the contact options for those customers living overseas. Once I determined (I had about 6 hours into phone calls at this point) that I was on my own, I figured out that I could get the meds shipped to my job and the kind staff in shipping would forward them to me.
This worked fine, until the USPS decided that I no longer lived at my house.
From my Autoholics feed: There is, indeed, a McDonalds in the BMW dealership in Düsseldorf.
You want fries with that 7er?
Two smallish pillions got their first rides today. No panic attacks, no disasters. Two future riders? Who knows….
I am a Organometallic chemist, and my chief interest is is the interaction of hetero-atomic molecules with transition metals, specifically copper, zinc, and iron. Hetero-atomic molecules are those that include atoms such as sulphur and nitrogen in addition to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. I like to examine the electrochemistry of the metal surface and how it changes when certain hetero-atomic molecules are brought into contact with it under a variety of conditions such as pressure, sliding and wear. I am particularly interested in the Extreme Pressure (EP) elements- Sulphur, Phosphorus, and Chlorine.
The boundary regime of lubrication is also of interest to me, specifically the area of the transition from Elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHDL) through the Thin Film (TFL) regime, and into the Boundary regime. I hope to do a lot of work in this area one day. The research group in Mechnical Engineering at the Imperial College of London, headed up by Dr. Hugh Spikes, is a good place to start if you would like to learn more about this area of study.
I also like to investigate the oxidation of aluminum when I am not otherwise occupied
If you would like a copy of any of these, please email your request.
“A tank gone bad: an Investigation of the failure modes of copper wire Drawing Lubricants;” Helmetag, K; Wire Journal International, June 1998
“Aluminum wire Drawing Filtration;” Scalise, J, Helmetag, K; Wire Journal International; September, 2000
“There’s Gold in those Tanks! Getting the Most from Your Aluminum Wire Drawing Oil;” Conference Proceedings of the IWCMW; 2000
“A New Look at an Old Idea: the Torque Curve Revisited;” Helmetag, K; Bench Testing of Industrial Fluid Lubricants for use in Machinery Applications; STP 1404; American Society of Testing and Materials; 2001
“Effective Molecular Weight Considerations in Thin Film Lubrication of Grafted Polymers;” Helmetag, K; Proposal for Oral Candidacy Examination; Drexel University; 1999
“Supplemental Research on Effective Molecular Weight Considerations in Thin Film Lubrication of Grafted Polymers;” Supplement to Proposal for Oral Candidacy Examination; Drexel University; 1999