Monday, October 7, 2013

I'll keep at it if you meet me halfway

I'm not computer-savvy enough to link to YouTube videos but if you get a chance, go to YouTube and search for "Louis C.K. hates cell phones". Then watch the video of the comedian Louis C.K. on Conan explaining why he doesn't want to get cell phones for his kids.  It's great -- funny, sad, and true.  As someone who watches people all day with their nose in their cell phones, I realize that the loss of eye contact caused by technology (and other kinds of personal contact) has really been a bad thing for our society.  It also makes it increasingly hard for anyone in the service industry to do their job.  I lament this and I refuse to give in to the zombie-like behavior of those I am supposed to be helping.  And it's not just the customers.  I work with pharmacists who see themselves as paragons of professionalism but apparently have no problem whatsoever being distracted by stupid texts and stupid Facebook crap on their personal cell phones. All day long.  While they are checking your prescriptions.   I don't accept that.  I love my iPhone, but it has no place in my workspace when I am doing my job.

I understand that the airlines are contemplating allowing people to use their devices all the time, including during takeoff and landing.  I am totally against this. Make people turn the goddamn things off for 10 minutes and listen to what's going on around them.  No, your iPad cannot be used as a flotation device.

I didn't participate in the recent Pharmacist Tweet-A-Thon.  I just wasn't in the mood.  My first customer of the day handed me a letter that said his $300 prescription had received prior approval from the insurance company.  He spoke not one word of English.  When the prescription was filled and I prepared to collect a $3.00 copay, he looked at me quizzically and shrugged in the universal "no money" gesture.  Another person haughtily informed me that she did not have $1.00 for her copay. When I indicated I was not going to just hand it over, she reached into her purse and pulled out a dollar.
Someone else told me I was "full of shit" when I tried to explain the rules regarding quantities of diabetic test strips when covered by Medicare.

I have a few tips for everyone who is entering the health care market under the new legislation (and I'm truly glad you are getting health care, by the way):

1.  READ.YOUR. POLICY. You, and only you, are responsible for understanding it.

2. Understand that everything is not going to be free. Being 'covered' by insurance also means that you might have to pay $3 ( or $100) out of a $300 prescription.  This is nothing new.  Even my long time customers with good jobs and good insurance have trouble grasping this.  The payer makes the rules.

3. You have to be able to communicate. Please learn the language or bring someone who speaks it.

4.  Be patient.  Be courteous and respectful of people in health care.  We are human too. I will move heaven and earth for someone who gives me an ounce of respect and practices common courtesy.
And please don't walk up to me with your face in your cell phone.


Officer Cynical said...

See, I don't get it. In Cynicalville, I go to Great Big Pharmacy. It's a great big pharmacy (plus grocery/clothing/book/candy store) that's in every town. They are really busy sometimes, and I can tell when by how the pharmacist never looks up from what she's doing, and the techs' faces are red. But they are really nice and fun. I've been going there 12 years, and have developed this running insult-gag relationship with one of the techs. The pharmacist has kids that go to school on my beat, and I see her sometimes when I'm running radar in the school zone. She always smiles and waves at me. They are knowledgeable, friendly and fun, and since I've moved clear to the other side of Cynicalville, I've continued driving there to get my Smegmastatin scrips filled every month. I wouldn't think of transferring them to the one a block from my new house. I just don't get it. I love my pharmacist and her techs.

Anonymous said...

I don't work in community, but I love your blog. Reading through the 2008 posts and some of the 2014 ones, I see the same themes popping up that we face across the border. Even in hospital we see so much entitlement (in Canada, other people are paying for your hospital stay). People want everything done for them. They want everything for free. They don't want to put any work or time or energy into their health. They go from 0-360 the minute something doesn't go perfectly their way. It's an overwhelming ignorance, self-absorbed and immature, and I think we face it more so than other professions because patients don't perceive us as being as educated in community because of the nature of the practice setting.
I also loved one of your earliest posts about workplace loyalty. How you do your job and do it well, but don't volunteer for some of the extra stuff the company does as a means of self-promotion. I agree. The hospital expects so much extra as do the higher ups, way beyond just doing your job well and thoroughly, and yet you know to them you are entirely disposable and they don't care about you as a person at all.
It's so great to see another pharmacist with personality, integrity, and conviction and who stands up for herself. The profession would be a better place if there were more of us with that kind of strength and integrity.