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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ah, Doctors.

My favourite quote from a John Grisham book/movie is "If it wasn't for lawyers, we wouldn't need lawyers". I think about how impossible my state's law book is to read and comprehend without an interpreter and am constantly reminded of this quote.
To go along with this, sort of, I offer: "If it wasn't for doctors who think they know everything...I'd have a lot less to complain about."
So it is that I offer this letter received from a patient. The patient was handed it by his eye doctor. Of all specialties, at least it wasn't a dermatologist...

If you're going to cut-and-paste from a law book, at least try to fix the typos so it looks professional.
If you're going to tell someone else how to do their job, at least read the whole thing yourself.
Notice the part at the end that says "...provided the Part D sponsor becomes aware of it"? Who's going to tell them? You, Herr Doctor?
(Yes. If a patient is in the Gap, the savings realised may approach or exceed those of their Medicare cards. However, this is not the intent of this letter or of Herr Doctor.)

Discount cards may be used IN PLACE of their Medicare D card but NOT IN COMBINATION with their Medicare D card. Your little letter here seems to imply otherwise which is encouraging a battle with your patients...a side effect I am sure you had no intention of creating with this anti-pharmacy drivel. The problem is you did not clearly explain this to your patients. Instead, they are mad at me.
With that said, I invite you to come to my pharmacy for a little lesson in how the real world works. Since you don't even touch the bills that come across your desk in your office, I am certain your knowledge of Medicare rules is severely lacking. How else to explain such a narrow-sighted (see what I did there?) view of how pharmacies bill claims for our mutual patients.
It is this type of (un)professional thinking that encourages a divide between prescribers and pharmacists and puts the patient in the middle. One for which we are blamed and you are unreachable after 5pm.

1 comment:

  1. If you want to be "helpful" to the prescriber, send back a lovely note telling them to stop sending out-of-date info to their patients. CMS updated guidance on discount cards back in August, see current reference in the Prescription Drug Benefit Manual at http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovContra/Downloads/Chapter14.pdf

    CMS even so kindly explicitly pointed out in the revision that a) discount cards are less useful these days with the gradual closing of the coverage gap post-ACA and b) it is the patient's responsibility to notify their Part D plan of purchases made using discount cards so that drug spend and TrOOP can be updated as needed.