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My Day in the Health Care System
My experience with doctors and an independent pharmacy
I’m pleased to tell you that I don’t need to go to the doctor much. Partly because I’m fairly healthy, and partly because I’m stubborn and don’t like to be sitting in a waiting room when there are better things to do. Doctors don’t scare me. I’m just too darn impatient. My wife nags be about the 2nd point, trust me.
My family and I moved into a new area about a year ago, and since the move, I haven’t had a need to see a doctor, and thus never established a primary care physician. A health issue arose, and now I have a reason to see a doctor. I called my wife’s doctor, but they couldn’t see me for at least 2 months. This was just a superb answer (remember, I’m impatient). A friend of mine recommended another family physician in the area, and they were able to get me in the next day. Ok, maybe we’re back on track now.
So I see the physician, actually, a physician’s assistant, as I think you have to be bleeding out these days to see a real doctor, I presume. We go thru the diagnosis, and she determines I need 2 prescriptions. When I go to check out, the desk lady asked me where I want the prescriptions to be sent. Again, because I haven’t needed medical care in over a year, I don’t really have a preferred pharmacy either. One really nice benefit of working at RMS, is that RMS believes is giving back to community pharmacies, and will reimburse employee’s copays 100% if they take a prescription to a local, independent pharmacy. So I tell the lady to please send the prescriptions to an independent pharmacy. She looks at me with a blank stare, and asks, “What’s an independent pharmacy?” I can’t express here what I wanted to say, but it’s a sad state of affairs when someone in a doctor’s office doesn’t know the difference between a chain pharmacy and an independent pharmacy. I explained to her what an independent pharmacy was, and requested it be sent to a local pharmacy which I recall driving by from time to time. Ok, done with the doctor’s office. Phew!
I proceed to call this local independent pharmacy, and ask when my prescriptions would be ready. He asked for my details since I’m not in his system, and when I tell him what insurance plan I have (one of the major national providers), he tells me that they won’t be able to take that insurance, but he hopes to be able to by the end of the month. Ugh, more headaches. He’s nice enough to tell me that one of the scripts he can fill that the cash price would be the same as my copay, and I appreciate that. The other script though he doesn’t have in stock and it wouldn’t be until tomorrow till he could fill it. Ok, now my blood pressure is rising. Thinking of my best interest, he tells me if I want the script today, it can be transferred to a local chain store, whom he’s sure would have it in stock. What?? Transfer to a chain?? Are you kidding?? Granted, there are a limited number of independent pharmacies in my area since the chains have taken over, but come on, wouldn’t it be better to transfer to another independent in the area??
I proceeded to get my 1st script filled by this pharmacy, as I wanted to at least give some business to my local pharmacy, but I’m sorry to say, I did get my 2nd script from the aforementioned chain store, as I wanted to start my prescription regimen that same day.
So what do you think? From someone who doesn’t visit doctors or pharmacies much, from a patient perspective, is this typical? What would you have done differently as a pharmacist? What could I have done differently? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or by going here.
Mike Gross is VP of Sales and Marketing for RMS. Aside from being passionate about independent pharmacies and making them successful, he enjoys running, spending time with his family, and playing a little poker when he can. He can be reached at email@example.com.