Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Open enrollment begins soon

Medicare Part D open enrollments start in a few days. Aren't you excited?

Personally, I'm getting a little tired (already) of people asking me questions about which plan to enroll in. I have my canned response to the question. Visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE for help in determining which plan works best for you.

I don't know why people think that a pharmacist wants to help them determine which plan to select.

Actually, I do.

They are too lazy to do the work themselves. They would rather pawn the responsibility off on to somebody else so they can complain about it later if things start to cost too much.

Isn't that the American way?


The Bearded Professor said...

Or perhaps they have come to trust your judgment where their health is concerned and want to include you in their decision-making.

One man's laziness is another man's rational ignorance. Because you are a pharmacist and no doubt deal with these Part D plans on a daily basis, your patients probably believe you to be far more knowledgeable than they could be in this area and, since you've shown a willingness (I hope) to help them before, they believe you will help them with this decision as well.

pharmacy chick said...

Stephen...pffffft. Are you a pharmacist? Sorry, many want a babysitter and somebody to just hand them their plan. I don't know their income, what they want from a plan, and I dont want to be responsible for selecting the wrong plan. I also dont have time to spend hours with one guy selecting a plan. There are organizations for such things. Shiba for example will sit down (since they actually have time to so and I don't)and help a person select a plan best for their needs. I am no more suited to select a medicare D plan than A Dr is for selecting the best insurance for me.

The Bearded Professor said...

Oh, wait. I'm not saying you should help your patients choose a plan. I was explaining to our blogger why his patients wanted his advice. I quite agree that he shouldn't give it. To direct a patient to a particular plan would be ethically inappropriate, and, as you say, we don't have the time.

Also, comparing your patients to babies is not helpful. If you consider the trust that your vulnerable patients place in you, I think you'll find your characterization more than a little distasteful.

After all, you chose pharmacy as a career. You chose to take up the most trusted profession. It's no use complaining when you got what you asked for.

pharmacy chick said...

comparing some of my patients to babies is a truthful and rational assessment to how some take care of themselves, and view how we should be taking care of them. take today for instance. (and this is by no means an unusual occurrence). Mrs X wants me to refill her rx's. I ask her what she wants.."all of them" is her reply. No, we cant do it that way. What is the name or the number of the prescription you would like me to refill? Her response: I dont know the name of anything..isn't that YOUR job? I need the yellow one, the white one, the one that makes me pee, and that other one. I had 5 but i'm only taking 4 now.
(I kid you not..that is exactly how she said it)

I am not generalizing that all my customers are this way. I have a tremendous amount of terrific people who care about their bodies, take good care of them to the best of their abilities and make sound health choices. But Stephen, there are just as many who are as clueless as the baby I compared them to.

yes I chose pharmacy. But the profession I practice now is not what it was when I went into it 25 years ago any more than MEDICINE is what it was 25 years ago. That is not a rock one should throw. Sorry you find my comments distasteful. this is a medium to allow us to vent some frustrations that we are never allowed to in our work setting.

Eric Durbin, RPh said...

I think it boils down to two words that seem to be lacking in our current society.....personal responsibility.

Since I became a pharmacist 15+ years ago, I've seen the decline in personal responsibility. Once upon a time, patients called their own doctors to get their refills. In the name of "customer service", pharmacies started contacting the prescribers when a patient requested a prescription that was out of refills.

Now we have auto-refill (or predictive refill) programs that fill the scripts when the patient should run out of their meds. Then a phone call is placed to let the patient know the prescription is ready.

Then a reminder call is placed a few days later.

Heck, we even store credit card data for the patients so they don't need to remember to bring a form of payment.

So why would we expect the patient to do anything for themself like-
1. pick-up the phone and call Medicare or
2. visit the Medicare web-site or
3. have their children help them

No, the pharmacist does everything else for them so why not pick out their prescription drug plan.

I'm gonna side with the Pharmacy Chick on this one. Once the people start showing a little personal responsibility when it comes to their health care, I might be inclined to consider the trusted professional viewpoint.

I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

"Also, comparing your patients to babies is not helpful."

You're right. That is VERY unfair to babies.

Julie said...

Hi Eric-As soon as I read your post, I remembered a commercial for CVS several years ago. It was a pharmacist saying how much he liked his job and he helped one of his elderly pts pick a Medicare part D plan. Does anyone else remember that? Not saying I think pharmacist SHOULD help with this, it just reminded me of it.