Monday, January 18, 2010

Personal responsibility

Personal responsibility. Two words that are heard on a regular basis inside the confines of my pharmacy but don't seem to translate to the masses standing on the opposite side of the pharmacy counter.

Inside the pharmacy, personal responsibility means that you:
  • understand how your insurance works, including deductibles, copays, plan limits
  • contact your physician when the bottle says "No Refills"
  • call ahead to see if your physician phoned in a prescription
  • take a proactive role with regards to your prescription medications

But to the people on the other side of the counter, personal responsibility means that:

  • the pharmacy staff should know that I am out of refills and call my physician for me
  • the pharmacy staff should know the ins and outs of my insurance plan, along with the 700 other plans that they deal with
  • the pharmacy staff should call me when my physician calls a prescription in for me
  • the pharmacy staff should call me when my physician hasn't called my prescription in yet
  • the pharmacy staff should have every medication in stock, including the Mevacor 40mg DAW written by my physician who is 225 miles away
  • the pharmacy staff should be able to fill my Vicodin script on Saturday night, ten minutes before closing, even though it was written on Tuesday by the pain management specialist who is only in town once a week, and the prescriber forgot to sign the script
  • the pharmacy staff should have the prior authorization done for me, even though I just dropped the order off twenty minutes ago
  • the pharmacy staff should have my insurance on file, even if this is my first time at the pharmacy
  • the pharmacy staff should have my new insurance on file. They sent the cards out this week

We've all heard these lines a thousand times in just the past week. We like to complain about it, but we're the ones to blame. Well maybe not those of us on the front lines of retail, but the higher ups in the corporate world have created this in the name of "customer service".

Think of the things that we do in the name of customer service that has created this expectation of the customer:

  • faxing/ calling for refills
  • faxing/ calling for prior auths
  • reminder calls to pick up prescriptions
  • predictive refills and the courtesy phone calls to let people know their meds are ready
  • the list could go on and on and on

We've even allowed the profession to devolve to the point that we are open at all hours of the day, every day of the year.

What other professions carry the hours that pharmacists do?

Physicians?

Lawyers?

Accountants?

Engineers?

Bankers?

For all of these professions, their clients make the time to get to the professional during the professionals office hours. Apparently it's worth the effort to make it to these professionals during their established hours.

Why not us?

Ponder that for a while. I'll follow up in a few days with my thoughts.

3 comments:

Frantic Pharmacist said...

There are always a few people who genuinely need help navigating the system, and are appreciative to get it. The rest of them, I'm tired of babysitting! For some people, the attitude is "I'm 'sick', I need medicine and therefore everything now revolves around ME." I would bet most pharmacy staffers these days don't even realize it is a courtesy for the pharmacy to even call the doc for refills!

Anonymous said...

Had a couple real winners the last couple of days. One was made because we did not call her when her PA was approved...ummm WE DID NOT KNOW! or when the doc got back to us...I see over 2000 people per week, do you really think I have time to keep track of it?

Today was the best, pt had a $100 deductible, got mad about his copay, and told me "we don't have deductibles" I then printed out the Tx screen that it shows accrued deductible of $88.31, he threw it back to me and said his wife would be in to fix it! LOL She will fix it by paying me my $88.31.

I hate stupid ppl

Chris said...

One of our favorite sayings at our pharmacy is "Help me help you". Yes I really do need to see your new insurance card, yes you need to have valid refills to get your medication, no, prescriptions are not valid for forever!!!!