Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wait, Wait.... I know the Answer

A physician called the other day with a question and I drew a complete blank.  To be honest, it wasn't a question that was strictly in my area, but certainly something we covered back in pharmacy school.
The caller I spoke with before that was someone who had an e-prescription sent to our pharmacy, but wanted to pick it up at a different store in our system.  She wanted it transferred to the "24 hour pharmacy" at the hospital where she 'went before.'   I debated back and forth with her for several minutes, explaining that that was the HOSPITAL pharmacy and they would not fill an regular outpatient prescription (she wasn't buyin' it.)  I gave her a nearby alternate pharmacy and she wanted specific instructions on how to get there.  Then she decided she'd fill it at a chain pharmacy and wanted me to look up their phone number for her.  Then she hung up on me.

Which brings me back to the physician question.  I hate feeling like my pharmacy knowledge is slipping away.  Some days it really hits home how much of my time is spent screwing around with e-prescription problems and trying to figure out people's insurance coverage.  I am awash in prescriptions for over-the-counter products, trying to put them through insurance, trying to explain to people that they're not covered, or if they are covered, why there's a copay and why it is what it is.   Attempting to generate an e-prescription for any medication that requires ANY personalized directions is like putting a square peg in a round hole.   And arguing with people about WHERE their prescription should be filled....  I've said it before, I kind of miss the days when people brought you a piece of paper and that was that.

So Doctor, I'm sorry I had to put you on hold and scramble to find that information for you.   My life is full of argumentative customers and prescriptions for insulin syringes that say "Take one 3 times a day."
Have mercy on me.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Well, most of the allergies are taking a break till fall, the hacking coughs seem to be at a minimum, and the ADHD prescriptions await the start of school.  Things are perhaps a little slower right now for some of us.  Our regulars, the core patients, continue to visit us though.  When I hear statistics describing how a small percentage of people account for a disproportionately large percentage of health care expenditures --- well, I sure believe it.   Don't get me wrong, I know most of them would rather not be in that group, but there's always the few who are demanding, entitled and have no concept of how much money is being spent every time they walk in the door.  I wish they knew.

My other summer observations, in no particular order:

If your insurance won't pay for your dose of gonorrhea medication because you've exceeded the maximum of once every 30 days -- maybe it's time to change your lifestyle.

I hate to harp on this, but I really am sick and tired of Vitamin D prescriptions. We could save billions of health care dollars by putting a big barrel of the stuff at the pharmacy entrance with one of those scoops in it, like the bulk section of the grocery store.  Help yourself.  All ages.

People are STILL stunned by this whole prescription coverage thing.  Again, just because your doctor writes the prescription, doesn't mean your INSURANCE has to cover it.  It also doesn't mean they have to cover it at little or no cost to YOU.   This is nothing new.  People still have a hard time getting this.

I get it, it's summer -- you're going out of town tomorrow, and need everything refilled NOW.  You wouldn't have thought of taking care of this yesterday, or the day before.  The insurance company is not going to pay for it early, so I'll drop everything and call them for you while you stand there with a quizzical look on your face.  What do you say we take this little task away from the pharmacist and give it back to the vacationer?

I don't lecture people on good eating habits or unhealthy lifestyles -- I get rather bored with that stuff myself.  But I would swear that some of my co-workers eat a fast food meal EVERY day.  Guys, that's not good for you.   I guess I get discouraged when I see people making bad lifestyle choices of all different descriptions, and it never seems to get better.

I guess I'll see you at the pharmacy in about 20 years..... every week or two, regular as clockwork....