Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lead by Example

This is a story I heard from a good friend of mine who works for a Goofmart Pharmacy in another state. 

So the story goes that a lady wanted an early refill on her narcotics... to the tune of two weeks early. Neither the pharmacy manager or the staff pharmacist at the Goofmart Pharmacy in question would fill the medication. 

The lady complained to the corporate office. Phone calls made their way to the Pharmacy Director. He immediately called the store and told the pharmacists that they needed to fill the medication for the lady. After all, laws be damned, patient safety be damned, we're NOT going to entertain a customer complaint. No way, no how.

The pharmacists told the director they would not fill the medication. It was too early. And by the state law, they are not required to fill a medication they do not feel comfortable filling. There's probably much more to the story about why they wouldn't fill the medication. Most pharmacists, if not all pharmacists, want to help and please their patients. We don't refuse unless there's a good reason.

The Pharmacy Director, in charge of dozens of pharmacies in the state, drove to the pharmacy in question (a good 50 miles) and filled the prescription himself. Tons of work to do, people to manage, pharmacies with serious tech needs to ignore, Excel spreadsheets to comb over and find fault with, but nooooo, this Director was going to make sure ONE disgruntled customer obtained her early narcotic refill.

For those few readers that just don't get what the problem is here, let me explain it to you:

1. The director should have stood behind these pharmacists. I don't know the reason why they refused to fill the medication, but I have no doubt it was a dandy reason. We don't refuse service to patients without good reason.

2. The director should not have taken the time to take care of this personally. The director has a job, and that's directing. It's not filling. If he felt like it really had to be done, he should have sent a regional manager or one of his brown-nosers to do it.

3. This sends an entirely wrong message to the public. If you complain enough, you get your way with Goofmart Pharmacy whether your're right or wrong. This is yet another example of that "the customer is always right" drivel from the 1950s.

Friday, October 24, 2014

This is how it feels...

...when The Authorities promise us more tech hours for flu shot season and then don't deliver on that promise:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pin 3 to Ground

That's how we did it back in the day... All you had to do was connect pin 3 to the ground.

What on earth are you talking about, Crazy RxMan?

Free premium channels on the cable box! That's what I'm talking about. Years ago when life was simpler and cable was kind of new, the cable box converter had a weakness. You only had to pay for one premium channel. If you were smart enough to know how to solder, all you had to do was solder a wire from "pin 3" to the "ground" with a switch. When the unit was on, flip the switch and it fooled the circuitry into thinking all the premium channels were paid for and it would unscramble all of them!

But one thing you never want to do is do the same thing to your girlfriend's cable box without her parents knowing. One day my girlfriend's father, not a man of technology by any means, was not happy with the reception on a sports channel and called the cable company for service.

I wasn't there, but from what I'm told the conversation went something like this:

Cable guy: "Mr. Naper, come here!"

Mr. Naper: "Yes, what is it? Did you find the problem?"

Cable guy: "I know what's going on here. I'm taking the cable box with me and we will notify the authorities about cable theft."

Mr. Naper, a very religious man, by the way: "What are you talking about? You're crazy!"

Cable guy shows Mr. Naper the opened cable box (which I never bothered to put the screws back in) with my soldering job and custom switch install.

Mr. Naper: "I didn't do that. I don't know anything about that. What does that do?"

Cable guy: "Don't play dumb with me! You know what's going on here! This is how you steal cable!"

By this time, Mr. Naper had had enough and called for a son-in-law that was living with them at the time. 

Mr. Naper: "Ralph! Come here!"

Cable guy: "Are you responsible for this, Ralph?"

Ralph knew what was going on but played innocent and blamed it all on me. I was a safe person to blame it on because I was gone out of state by that time. Somehow between Ralph and Mr. Naper they were able to convince the cable guy that it was a teenager gone rogue. No charges were ever filed, but I'm a wanted man in that state, I have no doubt. Cable theft is serious.  

Many years later I attended Mr. Naper's funeral. He had a Will and in that Will he left all his loved ones many things. He even had something for me...  the old switch from the cable box and a hand written note... one sentence, which said:

"If you're going to alter someone's cable box, put the screws back in."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sometimes it just comes out

I'm in hour 10 of a 12 hour day. It's been a horrible day, just horrible. An annoying patient, on Medicaid, age 35, living at home with his parents, saunters by the pharmacy...

"Oh hello Crazy RxMan, my second favorite pharmacist..."

(Mickey is my pharmacy partner and apparently is his favorite pharmacist)

I couldn't stop myself... it's that DEMON again...

"Well hello Mike, my least favorite patient... how are you today?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Scheduling doesn't mean Scheduling

A recent email from the corporate office:

Pharmacy Teams,

Our scheduling department is getting overwhelmed with requests to cover regular staffing need shifts. Covering regular technician needs is not a responsibility of our scheduling department. The priorities of our scheduling department, in order:

1. Scheduling vacation needs for pharmacists
2. Covering sick call/emergency coverage for pharmacists
3. Covering technician approved vacations and FMLA

The email goes on to explain that it is your pharmacy's department job to staff the hours allotted for your prescription volume needs. If you need someone, YOU (the pharmacy) need to find someone by contacting the store manager for cross-trained employees, other Goofmart pharmacies, or interns in the area. Contacting the "scheduling" department is your last option with no guarantees.

Ironically, the last line of the email reads:

The most important thing is that we have enough staff to meet the needs of our patients/customers.

So let me get this straight...

"Scheduling" doesn't handle scheduling, at least not when it is the busy flu season. In that case, it's up the the busy pharmacy with extra flu shot volume to find someone to work if a technician doesn't show up.

So when I don't have a technician show up (like last week when I was buried with new prescriptions and had a long line of people waiting for flu shots) I'm supposed to take the time to call around to other stores to try to find someone myself, OR I'm supposed to call the front end store manager to ask for a cross-trained employee (which we don't have ~ and quite frankly, I've never heard of any Goofmart Grocery which has a cross-trained employee).

Why? Because our "scheduling" department doesn't handle "scheduling."

Shouldn't the flu season increase in volume be part of the "regular staffing" needs? After several years of giving flu shots, shouldn't the company have a clue that we need more technicians this time of the year? Isn't that a regular staffing need? 

What it really amounts to is that all the pharmacies are seriously understaffed and Goofmart looks at a situation like this as a revenue windfall on the backs of the pharmacists having to go it alone in the pharmacy. Patient safety be damned, man! We're talking money, you fool!

What a complete load of crap from a company run by imbeciles! Shame on you, Goofmart Pharmacy. Shame on you.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Things You DON'T Want to Hear... the PICK UP window after you've rung up their medications and they've paid...

"Oh, here's my new insurance."

"Oh, I have a manufacturer coupon for that medication."

"Did you put in my club card number?"

"Can I get these items here?" <pointing to a shopping cart with 20 or more items>

"What am I getting? Oh, I don't need this one."

"Can you also fill my Alprazadone? I'm out."

"Can I get a flu shot now?"

"Why was this medication so expensive? I've never paid that before!"

"This is a 90 day supply? I only wanted 30 days."

"I told you, NO SAFETY CAPS!"

"This is a 30 day supply? I wanted a 90 day supply."

"Which one is my Xanax? I need one RIGHT NOW! Do you have a cup of water?"

"You didn't put in my club card number? I'm calling the 800 number to complain."

"I also need to get some aspirin. I'll be right back." <leaves purchases and purse sitting on the counter while people are in line>

"Be sure to thank [the other pharmacist that had nothing to do with the filling of these prescriptions] for me!"