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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Houston, We Have a Problem

Is it ironic that Led Zeppelin's Communication Breakdown was playing on my XM radio when I got in my car to drive home after work? Here's the story.
Phone rings and Super-Tech answers it.
ST: CP Pharmacy, how may I help you?
Flustered Patient: Did my doctor call in yet?
ST: No, ma'am. Not yet.
FP: They said they faxed you all morning and have been trying to call.
ST: I am sorry but we have nothing.
FP: Ok. I shall try them again.

<a couple hours later>
FP: I just had them on the line. They say that when they send the fax, it comes back to them as an error and it won't go through.
ST: I just checked our fax machine. It has plenty of paper in it and we have been receiving a pretty steady stream since we opened this morning. Perhaps it's user error?
FP: They also said they have been calling you all day and the line just keeps ringing.
ST: Silly question. Are we talking right now?
FP: Of course.
ST: Good. Then it is safe for me to assume that my phone is receiving calls and working. Phew. One problem down.
FP: I just had them on a 3-way call when they tried to reach you and I heard it ringing.
ST: Silly question #2. Did you hear what number they dialed?
FP: Of course not. Can you please call them and ask for Wonderful Nurse?
ST: I shall put my pharmacist on it post haste!

CP: <gets the phone menu with no option for WN>
(I called back for a total of 3 calls and left messages under each mailbox since there were no options for "Live Human Being".)
This is CP calling for FP. I was told you were having issues reaching us today. If I can call you just fine, and the patient can call me just fine, it must be something on your end. But that is neither here nor there. Since it appears this is of great import to the patient, it is Friday at 5:01 pm after all, I hope you get this message. My suggestion to you would be to have someone in the office use her cell phone to call me. This way, the patient's needs are met and we all can have a happy weekend.

<10 minutes later my voicemail alerts me to a message>
WN: Hi. This is WN calling in for FP. Apparently we haven't been able to reach you all day. I had to grab her information and I'm calling from my cell phone as I drive home.

CP: <calling FP> I don't know why they didn't think of this first, but apparently someone heard my message and called from her cell phone so I received your prescription and it's filled and ready for you to pick up this evening.
FP: You are fantastic. Thank you so much for all your effort. I don't know what their problem was and why they were so difficult.
CP: It was our relentless teamwork, and a little bit of charm.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Technology is Too Slow for Me

First we talked. People moved away and then we shouted. Eventually telephones were discovered and we could call (though some still shouted). Then came the answering machine. A delightful device that took the worry out of leaving the earshot of one's telephone. Never again would you wonder if you missed an important call because you had to go to the store. Now a blinking light would assure you that the message had been captured. Cordless telephones were nice because you wouldn't have to miss a call or message while spending some quality time in the bathroom. Then came call waiting. The fear used to be that someone was trying to call you while you were trifled with some other call. We used to rush people off the phone saying "I'm waiting for a very important call". Caller ID was huge. Now instead of having to answer that annoying call while waiting for the important call, you could politely ignore, okay, screen your phone calls. The future really hit with the creation of the cellular telephone. With this device, an annoying person could carry on an annoying conversation at an annoying decibel at any location without fear of, well, loss of self-respect. No more would you have to miss a call. You could accept (and many people forget, decline) a phone call anywhere. It took the best creations, call waiting, caller ID and put them all in your pocket. (Eventually in your pocket. Have you ever seen the first cell phones?) There exists on these devices a program of some sort that actually records messages. It is like the answering machine's badass rebel grandchild. It is called voicemail. Amazing creation, this.  If you somehow choose to ignore or miss a call, people can talk to this recorder and then you can retrieve it, play it back, and even call them back right there if you want!
But why the history lesson today, CP? It's the end of Pharmacy Month.
Because every day I get this conversation, excerpted from last week:

CP: Thank you for calling CP...
Really Interested Person: Hi. My name is RIP and someone from there just called my house?
CP: That's a question. Are you telling me someone called your house?
RIP: Yes.
CP: And?
RIP: Is there something you need?
CP: I don't know. Did we leave you a message?
RIP: I don't know. I didn't check them. Let me listen to them and call you back.
CP: Okay. Because doing that first would have answered your question before you had one. Best you took the time to call me first, wait through my phone menus, ask for the pharmacist, wait on hold, then waste my time when all you had to do was play your voicemail.

Remember, you can give someone an education, but you can't make them take it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Turning the Tables...

As pharmacy staff, we are used to prioritizing. We are used to reshuffling our work. It's a stretch, but let's call it ER triage. People who just arrived and whose e-rxs haven't been processed yet get a bump and those with sick kids do as well.
Your doctor's office? Not so much. In fact, never. I don't just mean in the waiting room carefully designed like a casino with lots of magazines and TVs to distract you but no clocks to be found.

It's one thing to be like this with your patients but it is quite another to be like this with the pharmacy. I loathe that most offices do not have a phone option for "If you are a pharmacist with an immediate question about a prescription we wrote or sent electronically, Press #3". Instead, we get this...

CP: I have a very important question about an e-rx you just sent me. I literally just got it and noticed the problem. The patient just walked in and really needs it and...
Office Rep: Yeah, you have to call the refill line.
CP: But why do I have to leave a message? It's not a refill.
OR: I'll transfer you.
CP: Wait. It's important! We need the answer now.
OR: No one can answer your call right now.
CP: Can I hold?
OR: No. Transferring...

It took them an hour to get back to me. I politely explained that I had an urgent matter with Patient A.lready H.ere's prescription and it needed addressed immediately. I also mentioned that they needed to get a protocol in place for pharmacists to have their questions answered. I believe they likely laughed at me when they played that for all in the office to hear. Anyway...

Doctors' Offices tend to not respond to us. They brush us off like an early refill narcotic patient. Here is what I propose:
Whenever the phone rings into the pharmacy and it is a prescriber's office, the conversation will go like this:
Uber-Tech: Thank you calling CP Pharmacy where we are just plain awesome. How may I help you?
OR/RN/MD/APN: Calling from Dr. Zoffis with a question and to phone in a couple prescriptions.
UT: Ok. I'm sorry but we no longer accept phone calls from offices. Period. There is nothing you have to say to anyone here that you can't say to our voicemail. Our pharmacists have decided to take care of their own patients right now. We found that by not wasting our time actually talking to you, we can save hours a day and increase our flu shots and MTMs. It was a liberating epiphany. You can call back and press #666 for the prescriber voicemail. This way the pharmacist can play and repeat the message as needed. Please do speak clearly as unintelligible messages will be deleted and disavowed and we will make no effort to contact you since you don't answer our calls. Thank you and remember what a vital role we all play in the healthcare of our patients.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How Do I Love Thee?

How does a person pick the pharmacy where they choose to do business? A little over 2 decades ago, it used to be due mostly to the pharmacist. Next on the list was location. People tended to stay local. Now that has changed considerably. With often multiple chains on the same corner with the same conveniences, what truly separates us? Oddly enough it's the pharmacists. But that's not why you've assembled here today.
Let's suppose for today's example that we are in small town USA with only one little pharmacy. Neighboring town USA has a few options, including a link in the chain of Small Town's pharmacy. It is an idyllic day in this peaceful waterfront community.
Being the go-getter, uber-effervescent individual I am known to be, I bounce up to the counter to assist, unbeknownst at the time, Mr. Grumple-Foreskin.
CP: <Chipper> How may I help you today?
GF: <Knocking aside the chipper> They never have this. <flings Rx at me>
CP: Ok.
GF: But you always do.
CP: Well that seems like an easy decision to me.
GF: It's not. They have a drive-thru. And here I have to walk all the way to the back of the store. I hate it here.
CP: I have to walk to the back too, you know. At least it's scenic, past some lovely shrubbery.
Uber-Tech: NI!
GF: That's not funny. I hate this place.
CP: Forgive me for playing the role of ObviousCP, but, why are you here?
GF: Because you carry what I need and the idiots over there need fired for not knowing how to order.
CP: Forgive me for asking. Have you thought for a second they DON'T want to order this? See, you come in and ask for it, knowing they are out of it. You get all grumpy on your ride over here and I have to deal with you because I actually carry this for my patients. Seems as though they've outsmarted you, Mr. GF.  Perhaps next month these will remain on manufacturer backorder at my store. I'd suggest you call before you make the long drive in from Neighboring town. There are plenty more pharmacies with drive-thrus around. Why don't you keep driving around until you find them? All of them...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Do you have any questions?

Uber-Tech: Do you have any questions for the pharmacist today regarding your prescriptions?
Every Single Customer: I've been taking it forever.
UT: Wonderful. It hasn't been around that long, though you do look pretty old. Let's try this again: Any questions regarding your prescriptions?
ESC: I just said I have been taking this all my life.
UT: That is not an answer to the question that was asked. This would have involved something along the lines of "yes" or "no" since that was the type of question presented to you.
ESC: I've been on this forever! How many times can I say that?
UT: I don't know. My guess is that no matter how many times I ask you my question, you're going to try to beat your old record.
ESC: You're starting to annoy me.
UT: Good. Maybe logic will sink in sooner rather than later. While we wait, let's try to explain why your answer is insanely short-sighted...Your argument is this: Since you have been taking the same medication for an eternity, there is absolutely nothing you can learn about it. There is nothing that could change about it. There are no reactions you could develop and there are no changes that could occur. There are no interactions with any medications you are adding and there are no new side effects you could ever possibly have.
ESC: Essentially.
UT: Good. Then you are an expert and could probably teach my colleagues a few things. Even though body chemistry changes and medications react differently in people as they age and even though allergies can develop years after starting a medication, you factually know you shall never experience this. Is that correct?
ESC: I've been taking it forever with no issues, so it must be true.
UT: Jolly Good, sir! You have stuck to your guns and continued saying that. Then may I ask you to kindly sign this waiver?
ESC: What is it?
UT: A simple form absolving all pharmacy staff here of any liability should you ever have a question or experience you need to share with us about your medications. It waives our legally mandated offer to counsel you. It allows us to never annoy you with the pesky "Do you have any questions..." spiel we always pester pester pester you with every time you visit our boutique. Basically, we shall never again ask intrusive questions about your "medication you've been on all your life". Satisfied?
ESC: But what if something happens?
UT: You have assured me it shall not. Good day, sir!
ESC: But.
UT: I said Good Day!

ESC's Wife: Next time just say "No". You always fall for this and you always lose. Well-played UT. Well played.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good Deed

Every once in a while there comes a moment; a memorable moment that lets you question your cynicism. Did that really just happen? You want to look around and ask someone to pinch you, just in case you're dreaming. When you do realize that yes, it indeed just happened, you must swiftly act upon it and bring recognition to its existence.
"CP, whatever is this life-altering event of which you speak?"

It was a dreary day, like all the others, when I heard it: the voicemail. It called me. Knowing I could not ignore its existence any longer I wearily dialed the code to retrieve its contents. It was a moment that changed me forever. Upon hearing the first dulcet tones of her lilting voice I knew this was a message like no other. She said she was calling in prescriptions for a patient about to be discharged from her facility and wanted us to have the time to get them ready. That day she left 10 prescriptions on my voicemail. But it was her pacing that was the game changer. She spoke with such a rhythmic cadence that I did not need to rewind or replay any part of the message. Her pace perfectly matched my writing. It was as if I were thinking the words as my pen spewed them forth upon the paper.
Upon completion of the call, as a lone tear streamed down my cheek, I knew what I had to do. Knowing it was nearing 5pm I knew I had to act quickly. I immediately called her back. She initially thought she had forgotten something.

CP: I just wanted to tell you that you left the most perfect voicemail I have ever received. You were perfectly paced, organized, didn't miss any information and didn't pause to look for anything. I had to thank you because I'm pretty sure no one ever calls to say they appreciate your messages. If only every other person who left me messages could learn from you, my days would be so much better.

Awesome Nurse: Thank you. I'm always concerned I go too fast or sound stupid. You just made my whole weekend.
CP: You are quite welcome.  Praise for a good job comes all too infrequently and you definitely deserve it today.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

To Drink or Not to Drink?

If I were to give you a drug name and ask you to tell me one thing about it, what would you say?
Would you give me a side effect? An allergy precaution? What it treats? It's main indication? What it looks like? Smells like? What would you say?
Suppose I amend my statement to: If you were given exactly 3 words to counsel about a medication, what would you say?
I present this to you today based on one customer interaction I had recently. We had put a bright shiny sticker on the patient's bag alerting her to a potential, serious reaction. I heard the patient ask my technician a question. My ears perked up and quivered and I slowly started to walk to the counter.

Quizzical Patient: Can I drink with this medication?
CP: No. Absolutely not.
QP: But my doctor said it's okay.
CP: Really? That's bizarre. Did you ask him directly or did he just tell you it'd be safe if you decided to join Dionysus for some wine?
QP: I specifically asked him. I told him we are having our monthly "spirit" walk and I would be imbibing most of this weekend.
CP: To which he replied?
QP: It's totally safe. Have fun.
CP: Unless he really didn't like you or was intending to be facetious, I don't think "have fun" is what's going to happen if you mix alcohol with this medication.
QP: Are you sure?
CP: Let me explain it like this. If you were to ask me to tell you one important thing about this medication, and gave me 3 words to do it, my answer would be "Absolutely No Alcohol!" We have even warned patients not to mix OTC cough medications that contain alcohol.
QP: Well that damn doctor just screwed up my weekend.
CP: I think you should call him and invite him to join you this weekend. You can share some of your medication with him while he gets spirited and see what happens.
QP: Do you have any suggestions for what I can do?
CP: Depending on your priorities, if you can stand to be miserable for a few more days from what this treats, then you could wait until after the weekend to start it. Judging by the look on your face, make it a Shirley Temple this weekend.
QP: Thank you for saving me from an almost certainly miserable weekend.
CP: You are welcome. My name is CP and that is my job.
(And this is one of those times where you wish you could force a customer comment card into their hands and ask them to tell the Powers-That-Be how wonderful we are. But we don't. Why don't we? Because it's our job. This is what we do. I don't need a corporate pat on the shoulder for validation, even though it would even out a complaint about not knowing why we don't stock the powder of some vitamin, only the gelcaps.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

What is thy bidding, my Master?

In response to this letter...

Please take this note to your doctor...
Dear Prescriber,
First, if you want me to call you and do your job, you had better expect a bill in the mail. Each letter I receive will result in a charge to you of $75.00 plus whatever amount you receive from the patient's insurance. If you know a product will not be covered, then prescribe an alternative. Write on the prescription Besivance OR..."first alternative". Do the same for the Lotemax Gel. Give me an either/or option here. You are either lazy, incompetent, or both. It is not the pharmacist's job to call the insurance for alternatives. The patient gave you his insurance card. Use it. Before Besivance and Lotemax came around, what did you formerly prescribe? Go with that.

Second, restricting the hours I can reach you is absurd. In the real world, patients come to pharmacies after 6pm and on weekends. If you want me to reach you, give me your cell phone and home address. You can bet that when the patient comes to my pharmacy at 7:45pm on a Friday night and has surgery scheduled for 8am Monday and needs his prescription right now even though you wrote it 3 months ago, he is going to blame me. In order to appease him, I will personally drive him to your house so you can experience the full fury of the pharmacy patient. If you choose to put the onus on me, you'd better expect to be held accountable and play by my rules. I will not roll over and let you dictate how I will run my pharmacy.

Finally, grammar. It's "Fridays", plural, not "Friday's" possessive. If you're going to try to communicate with another professional, the least you could do is appear intelligent. Failing to do that furthers the opinion that you don't have to be smart to be a doctor...

I am not your Bitch

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Tale of Two E-Scripts

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There I was, at the data entry terminal, minding my own business, working ahead on the e-rxs when it appeared. First came the Omeprazole 40mg, 1 capsule twice a day, #60 prescription. As I finished processing it I noticed a second e-rx had appeared. This one was for Nexium 40mg, 1 capsule once a day #30. Hmmm. (I made my pensive face.) What to do? Was there a message from the doctor? Did he really want this patient on both PPIs? If only I could read his thoughts through my computer. If only there were notes attached to the e-scripts. If only the office would call me...After 35 minutes of staring intently at the phone, begging it to ring, I realized I should call the office myself. Dutifully I called and it went like this...

Office Girl: Hold <click>
CP: <thinking to self> Wow, I'd get dinged on my customer satisfaction scores for doing that. Too bad offices aren't graded too...
OG: How may I help you?
CP: Pharmacist calling with an important question about two e-scripts you just sent to me. It's very important.
OG: Okay. I'll transfer you to the prescription refill line.
<message left on refill line went like this> CP calling with an important question that cannot wait. I suggest the next time I call you teach your staff to NOT transfer me to the refill line as I am questioning e-scripts you just sent to me. If there are errors on your prescriptions you need to have a protocol in place to have them immediately addressed. I look forward to hearing back from you as soon as you determine it is important enough for you to call me back.

<Exactly 54 minutes later>
RN: RN calling. Someone called and left a message about a question on an e-script but didn't leave the question.
CP: That was me. Thanks for taking my call. First time caller, long time e-script filler. Did you really intend to put this patient on two PPIs?
RN: Huh?
CP: Pull up what you sent me.
RN: The Omeprazole was canceled back in September. He was supposed to start Nexium last month.
CP: So you sent me a prescription for a canceled Rx, then sent me another for Nexium, which he already is getting from another doctor?
RN: Yes.
CP: Why, may I ask, would your office send me a canceled Rx AND a new Rx? Am I supposed to guess that is what happened? Why did no one call me? What would have happened had we filled the Omeprazole and the patient took it? He would have been pissed at me and blamed me and yelled at me. How about next time I say "it's important" your OG lets me talk to you straight away. It took you an hour to call me back. Glad it wasn't anything serious like an anaphylactic allergy. So I'm canceling the Omeprazole but what about the Nexium?
RN: Just cancel that too if he has refills from another prescriber.
CP: Ok. Thanks for wasting my time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

But My Doctor Said He Sent It!

...But I watched him send it...
There are no more terrifying words in the world of retail pharmacy. (Ok, "can you look at this rash?" is a close second.) In the world of electronic prescribing, where perfect prescribers prepare perfect prescriptions, everything is wonderful. "Please don't tell me everything is wonderful now..." In the Utopian world that was sold to us healthcare professionals by the e-script services, there would be no errors. According to prescribers, who apparently received a different, additional memo, the prescriptions are not only transmitted to the pharmacy in nanoseconds, but are filled instantaneously there as well.
As you are all well aware, I'm here to tell you that this world only exists in prescribers' heads; and they are never to blame.
Yesterday was a day like all the rest. Birds singing on my shoulder and helping me put on my smock, mice singing as they tie my new Under Armour shoes. Yes, it was a Disney type of morning...until the phone rang.
Impatient Lady: Is my prescriptions there yet? My doctor said he sent it.
CP: No. We are all caught up on our prescriptions. It's not on voicemail, e-scripts, fax, or pneumatic tube.
IL: He said he sent it. I was there in the room with him. I WATCHED HIM SEND IT!
CP: Oh, in that case it must be here. Let me check my other inboxes...nope, not in the Pony Express satchel, it's not on the teletype, no Morse Code or telegrams, and the smoke signals have been down all morning but I'm pretty sure it's not there.
IL: I'll call back later.
CP: Yes, I know you will.

<Later (17 minutes)>
IL: Is it there yet?
CP: Nope. Not even via candygram.
IL: Are you sure?
CP: What is this, a deodorant commercial? Yes, I'll raise my hand if I'm sure if that'll help.

<Later (23 minutes)>
IL: How about now?
CP: Nada.
IL: But I watched him send it.
CP: You keep saying that. Let me ask you this: Did you see WHAT he typed?
IL: No.
CP: Did you see WHERE he sent it?
IL: No.
CP: Did you ask them, any of the last 3 calls you made to them, WHERE THEY SENT IT?
IL: No.

<Later (4 minutes)>
Office Lady: Calling in a prescription for IL.
CP: What happened to the one she saw him send?
OL: Oh, he sent it to the wrong pharmacy.
CP: And you could not have figured that out sooner? A simple little, "Yes we sent it at 12:56pm to Little Big Horn Pharmacy and got a confirmation that it was received" would have helped straighten that out since I am CP Pharmacy. Simply telling the patient "yeah, we sent it" is not good enough. Do you have any idea how much of my time was wasted talking to this lady because your office can't get their act together? How many people in your office talked to her without tracking this down for her? Instead of simply resending it to me, you had to call me, take me away from another task, to give me a prescription that, had it been done correctly any time in the last hour, would have already been filled and waiting for her. Oh, I don't suppose you told her you sent it to the wrong pharmacy, did you? Or are you going to leave me hanging out to dry as the inept one in this debacle?
OL: You can tell her that if you like.
CP: I shall, but she likely won't believe me. She didn't believe me when I told we didn't have it, what makes you think I'm getting off the hook that easy? Prescribers are always Teflon Dons...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I never knew America was on the barter system. Years ago in a Greek Agora it was common practice to barter and haggle for products sold on the street. In many countries this is still the way it is. I wish America worked like this for everything. Apparently pharmacy customers have long held this belief and I was oblivious to the role I was supposed to play.
I feel like shouting "inconceivable!" vis a vis Vizzini...but I digress.

Next time I am at a department store, I am going to haggle over the printed price on the tag.
CP: $300? For a sweater?
Department Lady: But it's Cashmere!
CP: I don't care if Led Zeppelin signed the sweater, it's not worth $300. Does it have mini heaters in it? It's just a bunch of fibers all sewn together. I'll give you $20 and not a penny more.

How about at the movie theatre?
Ticket Seller: That'll be $15 for your 3-D Gravity ticket.
CP: I can get this at Redbox for like $2.00 in a couple weeks. How about you settle for $5.00?
TS: How about I stuff your nostrils with those Sno Caps?

Gas Station Attendant: That's $3.29 a gallon.
CP: <waving hand across the counter> That's not the price I was looking for.
GSA: That's not the price I was looking for.
CP: <waving hand> I want to charge you $1.79 a gallon.
GSA: I want to charge you $1.79 a gallon.
CP: ...and grab a free Mountain Dew...

I know people who have complained about their cable bills and received a discount/promotion/bonus for signing another contract, but that's the way the cable companies want it and they're not shy about telling you that. Argue and they'll give you free HBO. They like it when you argue. Eschewing masochism, pharmacy should not be a place for negotiations. In fact, the negotiations already took place, and they were short. Your copays were established long ago; so long ago in fact, that they're printed on your card or your EOB. That's the price you have to pay. No, we don't put Nuvarings on sale. (This is excepting those places that do free antibiotics during the pharmacy winter and $1.99 or $4.00 generics. Those are geared towards CASH-paying customers. We already established they only make up less than 20% of our patient base.)

I feel like this whenever people wish to 'aggle...

I have always believed that the price was the price. Whether it's a can of soup or a blender, a soccer ball or a steak at restaurant, I always pay the price listed. Can't you just picture some of our favourite pharmacy patrons in a 4-star restaurant arguing over the price of the filet? We have prices on price tags for a reason: so you know what to pay and we know what to charge you. It's a business, not a garage sale. For the eleventieth time pharmacists do not set your prices. Quit arguing with me. Pay up.

Monday, October 7, 2013

There's a Glitch...

"Dave. What are you doing, Dave?
Whether it's HAL from 2001, A Space Odyssey or Ash from Alien, the computer is always to blame for man's demise. However, man continues to forget that man programmed the computers. Man has to do the double check for safety reasons. Pharmacists don't have the luxury of blaming the computer. Doctors however can be absolved of blame simply by invoking the "Computer Glitch" defense.

CP: Hi. This is CP calling to verify a prescription that was sent electronically.
Glitchy Office: Go ahead.
CP: It says here to take 1 tablet by mouth with the first main meal of the day, twice a day.
GO: Uh-huh.
CP: Is the patient a Hobbit?
GO: Sorry?
CP: You know, Second Breakfast?
GO: No. That's a glitch. Our system defaults to that.
CP: So you know it's a problem and your answer is "It's a glitch"?
GO: Yeah. You guys usually call us and our doctors are really busy. They figure you'll catch it.
CP: I wish you didn't have so much faith in me. I'd like to have a little faith in the prescribers but they continually erode that every day with every prescription they send me. I find it funny that the AMA considers pharmacists calling to verify prescriptions a nuisance. Apparently your office considers it "backup".
GO: What's your point?
CP: How about you call the AMA and tell them that you can't figure out your software and you're too damn cheap or lazy to call out the tech to teach you how to use it properly? Then you can ask them to pay the bill I'll send you for each prescription I have to call to verify. Better yet, how about next time I don't call? How about I just fill it and document the Rx with "office says it's a glitch and just fill it like it is because we don't have time to check our work"? I sure wish I could use that excuse as a Healthcare professional. I didn't realise "glitch" was a legal defense in this country.
Sorry, it was a glitch that caused us to dispense 10 mg of Coumadin when your doctor ordered 1mg. Oops. Damn glitches.
Sorry the patient died due to the doctor's incompetence in using his software. Sorry no one double-checked the information before it was sent to the pharmacy.
GO: Isn't that why you're there?
CP: It is. I also expect the prescribers to actually know how to prescribe. We've gone from an era of errors we couldn't read to the age of legible errors. Now we know exactly what's wrong with it. If you're going to request us to call or fax you for your patients' refill requests, then I'm going to request that all your prescriptions make sense.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Everything's My Fault

"I wish I was like you, easily amused...I'll take all the blame..."

A lady comes in after 5pm, peak pickup hour on the banks of the pharmacy. (The time I tell everyone to avoid the pharmacy.) She is already fired up because her insurance has changed. She has the new medical insurance card, but there is no prescription information on it.

After getting a little louder with each syllable to the point where I can now hear her from a few rows deep in my holding cell, I decide to step in and rescue my tech. (Besides, a crowd was starting to grow and you know how much I love playing to the crowd.)
(Keep in mind, this has already been billed to an insurance. When it originally rejected, they gave us the new number to call. We have the correct one but she doesn't believe us because the copay is nearly $300...)
Super Annoyed Person: <Just handed the "new" card to tech> I don't see what the problem is. I gave you the card. Everything is on there.
CP: Yes. Everything except for the pharmacy information.
SAP: I know it's there. You just have to call that number on the back.
CP: Which one? The one that says "customer service"? That would be for you to call as I am a provider and that number is not listed. It also says to call "between 7:30 am and 4:30pm" and here you are at 5:15 pm.
SAP: I don't see the problem. You are just an idiot. I could do your job better than you and faster too.
CP: Okay. Prove it. We are currently accepting applications and, as you can see, we are a little shorthanded at the moment. In fact, let me open the door for you right now. Since you are the expert, I invite you back to fill your prescription yourself. Come in.
SAP: You people couldn't handle me back there. Everyone would quit because I'd actually make them do work and light a fire under some asses back there. You wouldn't know what hit you.
CP: Again, I say prove it. You are welcome to apply on your way out. Have a pleasant night.
SAP: Oh I will. You better damn well believe it.

<Flash Forward 5 days where SAP has called and verified the information we told her last week.>
SAP: I'm here to pick up my prescription.
CP: The one with the new insurance? Turns out what we had was correct, huh?
SAP: You people are too damn expensive. I'm transferring all my stuff out of here. You don't know what you're doing.
CP: Bummer. I was so looking forward to more verbal sparring with you. You do realize, of course, that your copays are the same regardless of where they are filled, right? Anyway, I'll make sure when the other store calls for the transfers that I tell them you are looking for a job and they should give you an application. I will put in a good recommendation for you and tell them how experienced you are. I will give you credit. You did call your insurance. You did get the information for processing the claim. Too bad I did it faster than you and without the chippy attitude. I know, it sucks to be wrong. It especially sucks after the animated, demonstrative display you put on for everyone last week. Just tuck your little tail between your legs, lick your wounds, and heal up for your battles with your new pharmacy. With your history, There Will Be Blood...