Facebook and Twitter

and follow my blog on Twitter @pharmacynic to receive notifications on new posts.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How to Make Money in Pharmacy Without Really Trying

I like making money.  For the last decade at least this has not been a problem.  With an over-saturated market of licensed pharmacists and lower reimbursement rates from PBM's and state and local governments, retail pharmacy needs to find ways to make more money.

I realized that a lot of people take credit for things they already do.  They also have figured out how to charge for these things that they used to do for free.  For example, airlines used to fly your bags for free.  The space was empty anyway and you were seated just above them headed, most of the time, to the same destination.  When they realized they needed more money, they started charging for the bags to tag along.  

How can this translate to the world of retail pharmacy you ask?  It's called " a la carte pricing".  It sounds better than fee-for-service but hear me out on this.  If doctors require us to fax them for refills and look up prescription information even though they have a chart in their office, I am going to charge them for these services.  I know.  This was in the last few blog entries but this is where it gets good.  The examples will look something like this:

     Patient is Responsible for:

  •      Handwritten Rx's--------------------$2.00 each
  •      Rx Too Old---------------------------$1.00

     Offices Responsible for:

     If we have to call your doctor because information in missing or incomplete:

  •           Wrong/Missing patient name----------------$3.00
  •           Missing drug or strength---------------------$3.00
  •           Illegible/Missing Directions----------------$5.00
  •           Quantity missing----------------------------$2.00
  •           Refills Unclear-----------------------------$0.50
  •           Not Signed--------------------------------$25.00
  •           Forgot to select anything on a preprinted Rx where all he has to do is check a box----------------------------------------------------$15.00
  •           All Refill Requests you Require me to fax---$1.77
  •           Looking up Refills you are Calling in to me-$8.23

     Computer-Generated or Faxed Prescriptions--Flat fee of $11.38 per occurrence

  •           Wrong patient
  •           Quantity (N/A)
  •           Drug/Directions Mismatch (take 5 mg tab intravenously)

All prescriptions are required to be completed electronically and either sent electronically or faxed according to state and federal laws.  They may be issued to a patient directly, but please do not forget to sign them as per your state law.  Phone-in prescriptions will be free, for now.  The exception to this is offices that employ nurses who have an ADD-type disorder and omit information regularly in which case the above prices will go into effect.  Also, if your nurse does double-duty as a Micro Machines pitchman or commercial legal representative on TV or radio ads and I can't understand a damn word she says, please read the pricing chart above.  

Since we are already performing this task, we might as well get our piece of the pie too, right?  Insurances can't complain about this since it doesn't affect their bottom lines.  What are doctors going to say?  Let's think about this.  
     1. I don't like you charging me for forgetting to sign my name.  I'm a doctor!
     2. I don't like you charging me for always entering N/A on the quantity line when it should auto-compute.  I'm a doctor you know!
     3. It's not my fault you can't read the Prednisone taper I clearly wrote, even though it doesn't say for how many days and the quantity is "QS". I always write it that way.
     4. It's not my fault the computer put Oxybutynin ER first and I wanted the regular.  You should just know that because it's cheaper.  

It may seem petty, but how long have we given away our professional services?  We have automatic refill systems, auto-faxing to doctors for refills (which used to be a courtesy), and reminder calls to fill and pick up your prescriptions.  How much else are we willing to give away for free?  
This is not anything more than an attempt to be compensated for our time and energy.  This is time and energy that have to be redirected to fix something that never should have left your office in its current condition.  

No comments:

Post a Comment