Bribing patients with gift cards

Unlike some angry websites out there, I will never make you send money to a politician campaign fund for articles (who will just be bribed by your employer to sit there and do nothing like most politicians.  More Kool-Aid anyone?)  No briber..er..contributions needed here, we only serve raw recycled rants with some filler thrown in for roughage and some ads thrown in for good measure.  Not that I’m against anyone sending me money or you throw-..er..donating your money to someone…. Of course I work for an independent so what the shit do I know about anything?

Anyway, I’m sure you get the point.

Does anyone else find it a bit sad that our profession has sunk to a level where the chains have to bribe patients to get their Rx’s filled?  Oh, its disguised as “gift cards”, but its really bribery.  Lets call a duck and duck here.

Rite-Aid is now offering $25/rx (max of 4) for prescription transfers.  Wait, Rite-Aid?  They are still in business?  Drugmonkey said it best: New Rite Aid slogan: “We are the Chrysler of health care”

Obviously Rite-Aid/Walgreens/CVS/Whore-Chain-Y has some real winners running the show to think of these bribe cards.  Now let me ask you this, is the patient who transfers his Rx’s over for a $25 gift card (max 4) a patient that you really want?  Is this patient going to be loyal to your store and come to you no matter what?  No! This patient is going to call in his 10 medications, wait until you have them already filled and ready to go, then want them ALL transferred to Walgreens because they are offering free blowjobs with every Rx transfer!  These are the patients who view pharmacy as McDonalds (which most chains I believe have the same outlook.  Drive thru anyone?) and don’t give a rats ass about you, your store, your job, or what you say.  They are only fueled by what they are getting for free (and last I checked, it was illegal to give gift-cards to MediCal patients since the state is paying for their Rx’s).  This is the patient that will fuck you over the moment you let your guard down.  This applies to any store that does the gift cards/$4 generics/free antibiotics/etc bullshit.  You will end up spending more labor costs on these pain-in-the-asses than you will get back with their shitty insurances/$4 plans.

How about this novel idea:  Why doesn’t Rite-Aid/Walgreens/CVS lower the cash price of its generics to a REASONABLE level (ie: a price that’s based upon actual cost, not AWP) so they wont need to bribe idiots with gift cards.  Why don’t they offer SERVICE (Rx’s in say, 10 min vs 3 hours) rather than a CASH BRIBE to lure people in through their doors.  You know why In-and-Out burger is so damn popular? Because you get a smiling (and always cute) face, good food for not much money, and your order is ALWAYS RIGHT.

However the execs at Rite-Aid (way to drive that plane into the ground boys!) are a whole lot smarter (and higher paid) than me, so that means they obviously know what they are doing (*crash!*)  You can have all of the gift-card freeloaders.  I care about my patients, and my patients care about me.  If thats worth less than $25/rx (max 4) then so be it.  Better off without them.  The’ll come crawling back once the freebie well has dried up, they always do (and like an idiot I always take them back).

A profession of fighting

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.