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Friday, September 25, 2015

How to Complain

People complain.
Pharmacy patients complain a lot. At least it seems that way. 
Companies don't like complaints. Instead of using them as a tool to make positive changes in their business, they chastise the pharmacy team for not meeting the ridiculous expectations placed upon them. On my day off I ran into a former patient of mine. She was fired up and wanted to complain about the pharmacy she was currently using. As I listened to her, I realised we in pharmacy should guide our complaints. I could have told her not to complain but that wouldn't help. I could have told her to just call the 1-800# and allow the pharmacy to get in trouble. Instead, I opted for the third option: tell her how to complain. 

When patients complain, it is often a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived slight or overreaction to something that, had they taken time to breathe, may not have resulted in a complaint. In order to garner the appropriate response from the powers-that-be, we need to encourage the use of buzzwords. Without these, the corporate suits won't pay attention. Simply mentioning "metrics", "quotas", "HIPAA", or "privacy violation" will prick the ears of even the most inattentive corporate lackeys. 

Dear Pharmacy Gurus, 
It is with a solemn heart that I must call today for I wish to register a complaint. While the store where I shopped is the offender, I wish no repercussions to come to the staff there. They are only doing what is expected of them and therein lies the problem. First, you as company overlords are forcing them to meet quotas for vaccines. As a result, my pharmacy felt it necessary to run vaccine prescriptions through my insurance while filling my other prescriptions. While I am certain they intended to tell me what was and was not covered at the checkout window, this did not occur. It was not until I got home that I noticed the notes from my insurance company rejecting the flu shot, pneumonia shot, and shingles shot. If you did not place quotas or mandatory requirements on these pharmacies, this would not have happened. They also would have had the time to talk with me as I paid for my prescriptions. It is a sloppy, unprofessional way to drive business and I believe, unethical, which leads to my second complaint. 
If your pharmacies are engaging in this type of behaviour simply to meet your targets, is my privacy at risk? I believe that submitting a claim to my insurance without my permission is a HIPAA violation. Why? How? I haven't authorised you to bill them. I haven't okayed any claims other than the original reason for my visit today. I am disgusted with how you have taken this trusted interaction with healthcare professionals and turned it into a "do-you-want-fries-with-that?", cheap money-making ploy. Please remove quotas and metrics from your staff so they can get back to what they are supposed to be doing: providing me quality healthcare.
p.s. I think I'll follow up on that HIPAA thing. 

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