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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No Rx Questions After Hours

This seems like a good policy...when it comes to patients and refill requests.
However, if you write a bad prescription, then I should be able to call whenever I am open to inquire about it.
Offices close usually well before pharmacies do. They can, and often do, turn off the phones but continue to call in or send us prescriptions after this time. This often means the prescribers have left but the nurses and staff are finishing the work. Sometimes prescribers can send prescriptions from home.
Great. But if it's wrong, and the patient has been waiting all day for it, expect me to track you down to fix it. With that in mind, please amend your "No Rx Questions" Policy with the answering service and tell them to stand down when the pharmacy calls.

Answering Service Lady: Dr. Zoffis's answering service. How may I help you?
CP: This is CP calling from a pharmacy. I just received a prescription and was hoping to speak with the office to correct it.
ASL: They are closed. This is the answering service.
CP: Thank you. Of that I am quite aware. I have performed this routine many times in my career. I need to go through you to get to them. Some of you are helpful, others, not so much. Which will it be today?
ASL: "I am sorry. They do not take calls about prescriptions after hours."
CP: This is not a refill request.
ASL: They do not take calls after hours.
CP: Here is the problem. They can send me an incorrect prescription after they shut off their phones and I can't call to fix it. In their haste to clock out for the day they mentally checked out as they sent this and now, with 4 hours left in MY day, I have to listen to the patient complain to me that it's my fault they can't get their prescription until tomorrow. How about you page the prescriber for me? If not, I may just have to have a contest between me and the patient as to how many times we can call you tonight. Please just page the prescriber. If he's a cranky twat, I can deal with him. The lack of clarity on this policy is not your fault. Let me splain it to him.
ASL: Okay. It just so happens he is the prescriber on call.
CP: Lucky me. Do they happen to have a 1-800-complaint number I can call to bitch about this policy?
ASL: Alas, they do not.
CP: They should.


  1. I really don’t think that doctors understand the legal liability that pharmacists have…I guarantee you that the first thing someone will say is “How could the pharmacy make such a terrible mistake!” People are outraged when they think we almost harmed them…because doctors are perfect! However, once they learn that the doctor tried to kill them, the anger quickly vanishes. They simply ask, “How much longer is this going to take?”