Currently the only way that us pharmacists get paid in a retail setting is by filling a prescription. The store makes zero dollars directly on phone calls, walk-in advice, or anything other than filling a prescription. Now I realize that being nice and giving advice = more patient support = more Rx’s for that patient filled at your store vs other stores = more money in your pocket. However, taking that phone call to help Ms. Jones find out what white pill is her lasix = 5 less Rx’s you can fill/day = less money made vs if Ms. Jones had not called.
So we already are giving away a valuable service for free rather than just machine-gunning Rx’s out and making the store some money. Here is where the insurance companies take a good natured thing that we do for society, and bend us over for it. Medicare Part D is forcing many of the smaller independents out of business. AWP-95% + 0.01 (here is your 1 cent dispensing fee, just hand the pills out in ziplock baggies with the drug/patient name written in sharpie on the outside).
So, stuck in a clusterfuck between the Insurance companies and being the most benefit to society, we have painted ourselves in quite a corner. Our choices?
Pretty screwed arent we? But alas, here is the kicker:
Insurance companies are the cause of this. They are the driving factor in why we need to hammer out at least X Rx’s a day to break even (but cutting reimbursement rates). However by making us do this, they are increasing the chance of medication errors which will land their patients in the hospital costing them /more/ money in the long-run. So they force us to fill more Rx’s per day with less staff, yet they gladly pay out the ass when we fuck up and someone lands in the hospital! Ingenious!
So how do we fix this? Obviously the insurance companies are reporting record high profits year after year, so the answer isn’t to increase our reimbursements. Medicare part D has that patient care thingy (where they pay us like $65 bucks for an hour of consultation or something like that). But if you get a net profit of $10/Rx (HAHAHA! Quit laughing you guys!!) you can do at least 20 Rx’s an hour and make more than that. Plus you have a set amount of time to bill for the Medicare part D consulting before it sunsets and you cant get anything. Not to mention its probably paper-billed and not online billing.
Answer? We’re screwed. Plain and simple. Short of selling the narcs out of the back door (or not taking any insurances and just charge patients your usual&customary) we will never truly be paid for our time and knowledge.
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