Categories
RantUpdate

Porch Piracy, Pharmaceutical Perils, Mandatory Mailed Mayhem.

Or, “Another reason that I strongly prefer to pick up prescriptions at a local pharmacy of my choosing.”

In 2019, I shared a story with you all about having to go mail order for my prescriptions, or go to the local Walgreens. The situation has not particularly changed, because I need to launch a letter over the bow of my employer’s HR department so they get a proper understanding what damage mail order pharmacy can wreak upon their employees.

In December 2020, I allowed one of my prescriptions to be refilled by mail order, which as you’ll see shortly, is a mistake.

This is a medicine I take for my anxiety in the evenings, so that I can actually get to sleep in my own bed, as opposed to the living room or the local hospital because the panic wells up strongly enough to trigger cardiac symptoms. Express Scripts (hereafter known as Distress Scripts) shipped these pills to me with standard shipping. I never received the pills, however.

Why?

Porch Piracy, plain and simple. Our postal workers and parcel delivery agents are often stretched beyond their limits in these times. They don’t even have the time to ding-dong before they ditch the package somewhere on your property as of late, it seems.

So, my pills were dropped off at some point during the day, but I never got them.

I do hope that whomever walked off without them has a need for them, be it for self or for friend. But this means I had to call Distress Scripts and explain to the rep that picked up… twice… that I didn’t get the package.

It just feels like a system intended to frustrate all but the most obstinate of callers and get them to hang up.

This is something that could’ve been mitigated, of course, if I could have chosen a pharmacy that I wanted, because I’m a mile away from a HealthMart pharmacy, which is somewhere that I can get to relatively quickly and safely on my bicycle or my electric scooter, once it’s back in commission. A pharmacy trip that I could even complete on my lunch, if I needed to.

Since I work from home, currently, if someone were to ring my doorbell, I would be able to retrieve a package fairly quickly between work phone calls, meaning that exposure to porch piracy is minimized to a handful of minutes if the doorbell is rung so that someone here’s aware that a package has arrived.

Further, there’s usually someone that is home throughout the day, be it myself while working, the owner of this place, his partner, or at least one of my other housemates.

But, when no-one rings the doorbell, no-one at home knows the post has been dropped off unless they’re obsessively watching for an email from the US Postal Service, if a package is to be dropped off by them, and not even that for other carriers.

I’m supposed to trust my insulin and GLP-1 agonist deliveries to THAT, Distress Scripts?

I can’t sit in my living room all day to wait for a carrier. I have to actually work for a living, and my work is helping people get to their own medical appointments and needs on a daily basis.

People that get treated better on their state-funded medical program than I do on my commercial plan, to be blunt. They only get 30 day supplies, but they can use any pharmacy they want, and they even get rides TO and FROM the pharmacy of their choosing at no out of pocket cost.

I’d be happy with that setup. Really happy with that. I wonder why my state’s Medicaid program went with that… Perhaps because they understand the perils of creating pharmaceutical deserts

On the other hand: my commercial coverage does not offer anything for transportation, nor does it allow me a choice of pharmacies for the majority of my medicines.

It allows me to wallow in distress, figure out how to get to the farthest away pharmacy on an already limited bus system, spend extra time out and about when I could have just had a leisurely 23 minute round trip bicycle ride to get my meds and be home.

Or, better, a safe, handed off to a human delivery of my pharmaceuticals, every simgle time with HealthMart. End to end custody of meds that are important to my wellbeing, without a porch shaped questionmark added to the equation.

As long as Distress Scripts is allowed to do business the way they want, I’ll never have that surety as long as my employer uses them for prescription benefits.

Categories
Rant

On freedom of choice in pharmacies.

I’ll keep this one shorter than usual.

I advocate for the freedom to choose which pharmacy you can go to. Being told you can only use certain pharmacies does not encourage good care.

When a doctor prescribes a medicine for the patient to pick up ASAP, if they are locked into just one pharmacy chain and that pharmacy doesn’t have the medicine in stock, this presents a problem: That patient cannot get their medicine in a timely manner. Mail order doesn’t solve that problem: it exacerbates the hell out of it.

For maintenance medicines, I am only allowed to use mail order or Walgreens pharmacies, at the corner of Overworked and Burnt Out. All other medicines that are basically one-offs, I can still fill elsewhere, like at the local FredMeyer that saved my bacon in 2019 when I had that mail order fiascoin two parts, or the HealthMart pharmacy that I still get my non-maintenance medicines at and am on first name basis with half the staff.

I was prescribed a new medicine on Thursday, and, forgetting that the initial run was NOT a maintenance med, stupidly had it sent to Walgreens.

If this were the easy story, it’d have been sent to FredMeyer, and I’d be taking medicine today.

Nope, Walgreens did not have it in stock at all, and would need to order it. The communication of how long I would have to wait did not happen until I called them the next day and asked if it was ready. No, they’ll have it in stock in about a week, come pick it up on the 8th.

That is not acceptable. That’s nearly as slow as mail order.

Freddy’s will have it in on Monday. Three days faster than that national chain pharmacy, and with a day later start. FredMeyer to the rescue once more.

It’s pharmacy lock-ins that are dangerous for the consumer AND the pharmacists. When one health plan in the area has a lot of patients and mandates only one chain can be used, it dumps a lot of pressure on the shoulders of that pharmacy’s staff, and this means things can be missed, or fall behind, that care that I grew up with at a pharmacy is omitted for the sake of trying to not drown under the weight of concentrated work.

This is another reason that Pharmaceutical Benefit ManglersManagement companies shouldn’t be allowed to continue existing in this way.