Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dear Diary

I wrote a blog post back in July about my frustration with the constant "how long is it going to take to fill my prescriptions" battle that we fight every day, and I'm afraid I have to write another one today, if only to give myself some self-therapy. Maybe I'm just late to the party, but this is something I really think is going to cause me a meltdown one of these days. Before this I guess I just took it for granted that being speedy was supposed to go with the job. Forget about counseling, profile review, MTM or whatever you want to call it now -- it's ALL about the customer convenience, and that means be FAST. Nothing else matters.

I made a minor error this week while trying to check a bucketload of prescriptions for someone who kept asking how much longer it would be. Nothing really significant, but it required a phone call and it made me very angry because I knew exactly why it happened. I was trying to hurry. I tried to glance at it too fast -- there was no other reason. I was so, so mad at myself for allowing this.

Another customer brought 3 prescriptions and actually got snotty when we told her it would be about 15 minutes. Yep, and she even asked if we could 'call them to another pharmacy' (we did not). You see, the idea that she would have to sit and wait, even if it's just 15 minutes, is intolerable. But if we 'call' the prescriptions elsewhere then they will magically be ready when she gets there, and so technically she doesn't have to actually 'wait.' Just stop for a minute and imagine this scenario in any other business on the planet. W...T...F.

And then, a customer brings in a prescription... there's a couple of people ahead of him. Probably about 10 minutes passes, and we discover the prescription is not covered, and needs a prior authorization. I explain the situation to him, and since he just came from the doctor's office I offer to call them and see if they could prescribe something else that is covered. And his question to me is, "Well, how long will THAT take?"

So, I'm trying to HELP you, and all you can ask is how long it will take. Well, damn it , forget it then. I'm going to send you away with no medication and tell you the doctor needs to do the Prior Auth. Buh-bye. I will then fax the form to the doctor's office where it will linger in the Prior Authorization Black Hole for a few days. You will call several times and ask me if your prescription is ready. I'll say no, I haven't heard that it's been authorized, and why don't you call your doctor. Then I'll get a call from the doctor's office telling me they never got any fax. I'll send it again (when I have 2 minutes to spare). Your doctor will be out for the day and the nurse will call me back when she doesn't have your prescription insurance information and doesn't know how or what to send them. Days will pass, probably more phone calls back and forth until someone takes the bull by the horns and either gets word back on the prior auth., or changes the prescription. Meanwhile, you will recount this to everyone you know and bitch about how screwed up the health care system is.

So, looking back, it probably wasn't such a bad idea for you to wait another few minutes for me to make that phone call, huh?

Help me. I'm afraid I may hurt someone.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sorry for the Sour Tone Here, but I'm Tired

.....and so in the spirit of Jimmy Fallon's "thank-you" notes, here are a few of mine:

Thank you...... Walgreens, for handing your pharmacists the responsibility for 'walk-in' flu shots. I know it's a big money maker and all, but when I call them for a copy on a waiting customer's prescription and get told to call back later because the pharmacist is 'giving flu shots right now,' it's a little frustrating.

Thank you..... pharmacist who worked yesterday, for not ordering the drugs that I need to fill prescriptions today. Yes, there were things about the prescription that needed to be clarified. But now that everything has been straightened out, it's Friday and I don't have the drug, and now won't have it till Monday. Would it have killed you to order it in, inventory be damned, knowing the prescription was pending and was eventually going to be dispensed??? Now the customer is probably going to take it elsewhere, after we did all the legwork, and I don't blame them.

Thank you...... manager for whom I am filling in today, for establishing a nice lax and borderline unprofessional atmosphere in your pharmacy. The staff loves you for it, but I sure don't. Staff seem to show up when they feel like it, come and go as they please, and pretty much operate in a bubble of their own entertainment, into which neither the customers nor I am invited. I am truly embarrassed at times. In addition, because you're such a social animal everyone else in the medical building seems to have chosen the pharmacy as their hang-out spot to come in and shoot the breeze. GET OUT OF MY WORKSPACE AND GET OUT OF MY PHARMACY. My services are devalued enough without you coming in here and assuming that what I'm doing requires no concentration at all. There's gonna be a showdown here, mark my words.