WARNING: This post may be painful for those in the profession to read.

Why does it take 20 minutes to fill your Vicodin?

 

Here's the Scenario:

You come to the counter. I am on the phone with a drunk dude who wants the phone number to the grocery store next door. After I instruct him on the virtues of 411, you tell me your doctor was to phone in your prescription to me. Your doctor hasn't, and you're unwilling to wait until he does. Being in a generous mood, I call your doctors office and am put on hold for 5 minutes, then informed that your prescription was phoned in to my competitor on the other side of town. Phoning the competitor, I am immediately put on hold for 5 minutes before speaking to a clerk, who puts me back on hold to wait for the pharmacist. Your prescription is then transferred to me, and now I have to get the 2 phone calls that have been put on hold while this was being done. Now I return to the counter to ask if we've ever filled prescriptions for you before. For some reason, you think that "for you" means "for your cousin" and you answer my question with a "yes", whereupon I go the computer and see you are not on file.

The phone rings.

You have left to do something very important, such as browse through the monster truck magazines, and do not hear the three PA announcements requesting that you return to the pharmacy. You return eventually, expecting to pick up the finished prescription…..

The phone rings.

……only to find out that I need to ask your address, phone number, date of birth, if you have any allergies and insurance coverage. You tell me you're allergic to codeine. Since the prescription is for Vicodin I ask you what exactly codeine did to you when you took it. You say it made your stomach hurt and I roll my eyes and write down "no known allergies" You tell me……

The phone rings.

…..you have insurance and spend the next 5 minutes looking for your card. You give up and expect me to be able to file your claim anyway. I call my competitor and am immediately put on hold. Upon reaching a human, I ask them what insurance they have on file for you. I get the information and file your claim, which is rejected because you changed jobs 6 months ago. An asshole barges his way to the counter to ask where the bread is.

The phone rings.

I inform you that the insurance the other pharmacy has on file for you isn't working. You produce a card in under 10 seconds that you seemed to be unable to find before. What you were really doing was hoping your old insurance would still work because it had a lower copay. Your new card prominently displays the logo of Nebraska Blue Cross, and although Nebraska Blue cross does in fact handle millions of prescription claims every day, for the group you belong to, the claim should go to a company called Caremark, whose logo is nowhere on the card.

The phone rings.

A lady comes to the counter wanting to know why the cherry flavored antacid works better than the lemon cream flavored antacid. What probably happened is that she had a milder case of heartburn when she took the cherry flavored brand, as they both use the exact same ingredient in the same strength. She will not be satisfied though until I confirm her belief that the cherry flavored brand is the superior product. I file your claim with Caremark, who rejects it because you had a 30 day supply of Vicodin filled 15 days ago at another pharmacy. You swear to me on your mother's'….

The phone rings.

…….life that you did not have a Vicodin prescription filled recently. I call Caremark and am immediately placed on hold. The most beautiful woman on the planet walks buy and notices not a thing. She has never talked to a pharmacist and never will. Upon reaching a human at Caremark, I am informed that the Vicodin prescription was indeed filled at another of my competitors. When I tell you this, you say you got hydrocodone there, not Vicodin. Another little part of me dies.

The phone rings.

It turns out that a few days after your doctor wrote your last prescription, he told you to take it more frequently, meaning that what Caremark thought was a 30-day supply is indeed a 15 day supply with the new instructions. I call your doctor's office to confirm this and am immediately placed on hold. I call Caremark to get an override and am immediately placed on hold. My laser printer has a paper jam. It's time for my tech to go to lunch. Caremark issues the override and your claim goes though. Your insurance saves you 85 cents off the regular price of the prescription.

The phone rings.

At the cash register you sign….

The phone rings.

……the acknowledgement that you received a copy of my HIPPA policy and that I offered the required OBRA counseling for new prescriptions. You remark that you're glad that your last pharmacist told you you shouldn't take over the counter Tylenol along with the Vicodin, and that the acetaminophen you're taking instead seems to be working pretty well. I break the news to you that Tylenol is simply a brand name for acetaminophen, and you don't believe me. You fumble around for 2 minutes looking for your checkbook and spend another 2 minutes making out a check for four dollars and sixty seven cents. You ask why the tablets look different than those you got at the other pharmacy. I explain that they are from a different manufacturer. Tomorrow you'll be back to tell me they don't work as well.

Now imagine this wasn't you at all, but the person who dropped off their prescription three people ahead of you, and you'll start to have an idea why…..your prescription takes so damn long to fill.