August 17, 2016: Why is this so difficult?

This is a different kind of posting than I have ever done to my website - to address an issue with a large public entity. Here goes:

The week prior to this writing I had minor surgery which required that I provide my photo ID (my driver license) and my insurance cards (Medicare and AARP supplement). I carried these in a small leather wallet, and after the information was posted during registration, I put them back in my pocket. I went into the prep area and had to change into a gown and put my belongings into a plastic bag. After surgery, I was recovering from the anesthesia and was given the bag to don my clothes, which I did.

Five days later, I noticed that I did not have my driver license or insurance cards. I phoned the hospital and they did not have them. We searched the car and other possible "hiding" places for the cards to be, and did not find them. I had to have them replaced. Now the fun began.

Going to the Medicare site to request replacements was very simple, easy, and fast. In less than a minute I had confirmation that the replacement card was being sent to me. The supplemental insurance site indicated that I had to call to request a replacement, so I did. After negotiating the now commonplace phone menu with my verbal responses, I talked to a gentleman who quickly and easily helped me and assured me that a replacement card was on the way. So far, so good.

The PennDOT website (PA's Department of Transportation), provided me with information regarding the methods supported for getting a replacement. There were three: (1) go to the website of a private "runner" firm that would acquire my license for me, but for a fee and with me providing an entity unknown to me with significant personal information to conclude the transaction; (2) print a form, fill it in, get my signature notarized, and send it to PennDOT with a check or money order only; or (3) visit a photo ID PennDOT site with the form and the check. Like a fool, I chose to do #3. I looked up photo id license sites and found one thirty miles away. I drove there and found that while they issue new photo licenses, they do not do replacements. They directed to a site an additional forty miles from my home. I chose to return home instead to pursue option #2.

Mailing the form requires that my signature is notarized. Notarization is an archaic notion whose supporters say helps proves signatures in the case of litigation. Uh, I sign my IRS tax forms without notarization. Most of us execute all kinds of online transactions without a notary. Why not require me to dip my signet ring in a seal of melted wax?

If I sound angry, it is because I am angry. This institution should be attending to the needs of the public and to providing service in an efficient way - efficient to the public and not just to the institution. Kurt Myers, the Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services of Transportation for Pennsylvania for the past ten years has made this an annoyance, and he should fix it. It should be a simple as getting a replacement Medicare card.

Return to Home Page