One Man’s Hunt for an Prescription Inhaler – Why we Need Health Care Reform!
Binge Thinking time here on how we work healthcare and medicine in this country. I would like to start by relating a recent experience for me trying to fill a prescription. My son has been having a lot of trouble with his breathing in the last year. It reached a climax when he had to use my inhaler (Yes I have asthma as does my Father) to calm his breathing down. I took him to see his doctor and it was determined that he does have a mild case of asthma that we think can be controlled by using his own inhaler. With this in mind, my doctor prescribed one to my son and called it into our local pharmacy.
Of course, they sent it to our former one, Kroger, who we had left because they made a horrible mistake of sending one prescription to an old insurance company, which did not realize we were not under them anymore until 60 days later. We received a large bill in the mail from the old insurance company, seeking to be reimbursed. Of course, Kroger refused to help us in anyway and basically did not care. They got paid so why help a loyal customer get it cleared up. I was even told by Kroger Corporate that it was a shame I would not be shopping there anymore.
So, I groaned when I was told by the nurse she had sent it to Kroger. I swallowed, however, and took it because we were the last ones in the office and they were trying to close up. I went to Kroger the next day after they let us know it was ready. When I drove up to the drive through to get the medicine, I was told that our insurance had rejected the prescription and it would take up to an hour to get it cleared up. Fearing the worst again, I told them to forget it. I called my doctor and told them to please send it to Costco, our current pharmacy. They did.
Two days later, I went to pick up the prescription and was told it had already been picked up. Huh? I asked how that could be, because neither my wife and I had been there. I was told that there was another Matthew at another location with the same prescription so maybe we could pick it up there. I was baffled. How could there be another Matthew with the same birthday at another location with the same medicine. It didn’t make any sense to me, but I moved on. Too busy to argue the point.
The next day, I called the doctor again and explained the situation. They told me to drop Costco as a pharmacy because how could we trust them if they give prescriptions to someone else. I told them to send it to CVS where we had filled some prescriptions in a pinch. While all this was going on, my wife decided to complain to Costco about their screw up. We were told that it was a simple misunderstanding. The other Matthew at the other location was my son, but the doctor had called/sent the prescription to other location by mistake. They never gave our medicine to someone else. The next day, Costco calls me to let me know that my son has a prescription filled and waiting to be picked up at the other location. I ignored it. Big mistake!
Two days later, I went to CVS to pick up the inhaler for my son, who at this point had gone almost a week without it. When I got there, they said that the insurance was denying the claim for some reason. I groaned and expected to be told I would have to clear it up before I could get the medicine. To my surprise, she actually called Blue Cross Blue Shield for me and was told that because Costco had filled the prescription, they were not authorizing another one. CVS further surprised me by calling Costco and asking them to back out the order, which is what happened. This took about 30 minutes. At this point, I have to say that CVS gained a customer that day. They really went beyond the call of duty to help me.
I can think of several lessons to take away from this.
1. Never go back. Kroger was not very helpful at all and I was crazy to even try. Why they called us to come pick it up when it was not really ready is just another sign about how screwed up their pharmacy system is. Never again!
2. Costco needs to train their staff better and maybe put a little effort into helping their customers. Frankly, I don’t think the staff cared whether I got what I needed for my son at all.
3. The process of sending in prescriptions to pharmacies from the doctor’s office is super convenient when it works. A total nightmare when it does not. My doctor should have taken a little more time to ask what pharmacy I was using. I almost prefer the written prescriptions at this point.
4. Finally, as much as I like Obamacare, I think there has to be a better solution(I don’t use it myself). I think it has done a lot of good to help people who didn’t have health insurance before. I have thought the Republicans were crazy for trying to repeal the law so many times. However, I do see some of their points. Socialized medicine seems to water down medicine where everyone gets help, but none of it seems to be as good as it was when the government stayed out of it. Also, I have had my share of health issues over my lifetime and I know I am paying more now than I ever did for insurance. However, I am also paying more to the hospitals and doctors. Health care insurance is more expensive and covers less. How did that happen? As a country, we need to figure this out. Hopefully, Obamacare will be a good first step towards something a whole lot better than we have now.