Has anyone but myself noticed how pharmacy has turned into a profession of nothing but fighting?
- Fighting patients: Early refills, lost medications, the lies, the bullshit, “Do you have any other insurance cards?”, “What do the pills look like again?”, “There is no way you should be out of those yet!”, “Who told you to double up, and why didn’t you let me know!”, ARGH!!! It seems like no matter who walks into the store its going to turn into a stressful conversation. The happy patient who brought their refills in on-time with a smile on their face and a compliment are long gone. Patients are the number one stressor in any pharmacy. From bitching about copays (that they think we set) to the pills looking different, they are both the boon and the bane of pharmacy.
- Fighting doctors/staff: Cheap front-end staff, people who cant call in medications correctly, sloppy handwriting, ignorant doctors and their drug-rep propaganda, the list goes on and on. Most doctors are pretty good about listening to what we suggest (because they know they really have no choice) but it takes a fight with one to ruin your day. “Yes, doctor, EVERYWHERE is short on generic Toprol XL” to “Are you sure you want Soma 250 or that new Prevacid???” at least doctors are mostly on our side. Fighting with the office staff is more of a problem, especially the ones who think they know as much as the doctor (“No, I want this!” when the doctor says “I dont care”) when in fact they know nothing.
- Fighting insurance companies: If there was a top-10 list of places to blow-up before you die, I’m sure that every pharmacist would have insurance companies as numbero-uno. Shitty contracts, reimbursing below cost, unavailable products, rejects, wrong shit on insurance cards, mystery person codes (like person 88), prior auths, “Plan Limitation Exceeded”, quantity limits, sig limits, day supply limits, limits on the limits on the limits, this list never ends!! It costs a pharmacist $1/min to stay on the phone, it cost the insurance company $3/hr (if that) for that Indian call-center person to answer your call. Who do you think is getting the deep dicking on that deal? Fighting with automated systems which require you to say your NPI number 4 times to be transfered to a live person who requires your NPI another 2 times.
- Fighting other pharmacies: Waiting on hold for a transfer for 10 fucking hours or calling every place around town to see if Cracky McCrackhead is doctor shopping. Pharmacist doesn’t speak english/is too busy to talk to one of his own/is off for lunch/the list goes on. Yes, it does take 4 hours and 2 phone calls to get that copy faxed over.
- Fighting technology: The fax machine jammed, the printer needs a new fuser, the pharmacy software crashes randomly as you feel like you’re talking with an insurance company when you call your corp help desk. Some days when the shit rains it pours. You hit your coffee and dump it into your keyboard or some tech sneezes all over your monitor you wish you could just crawl in a hole and die.
At the end of the day, when you sit down for the first time in 9 hours, you realize that it all is just going to repeat the next day.
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- An open letter to my patients.
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- Cleanup on aisle 4.. now 5… oh damn.