Thursday, July 4, 2019

Where is the Crazy RxMan?

I'm still here.

Life has been extremely crazy even for a guy who calls himself the Crazy RxMan.

My hours as staff pharmacist were cut to 32 a week. Upper management thinks that chopping several pharmacists' salaries by 20% is perfectly reasonable. It's not ok. We have kids. Some of mine are in college. And most of us still have school loans. I pay more each month in school loans than most Americans pay for their mortgage.

So yeah, I wasn't happy about the change.

But I was told I was the only one out of 200 stores in our division that complained.

Meanwhile some that were cut left the sinking ship to find other positions with other companies in a market where it's already hard to find a pharmacist job.

The rest of us scrambled around finding positions in the company with 40 hours a week. I was lucky and transferred to another staff pharmacist position with 40 hours.

And just when you thought I hated Snootyville, now it's even worse. This location is 50% busier than my last location with only 20% more tech help. My plea for more tech help was quickly beat down. I was told we have plenty of tech help. We're just inefficient.


The phones are ringing. People are waiting at both windows. I'm trying to reprocess someone's prescription on GoodRx (for an amazing $2.08 savings) while waiting on hold to get billing information for another patient who doesn't think it's her job to have her billing information with her. And yes, she's a Medicaid recipient. Another waiter has come up to the window while another patient is there at the window to tell me "You have several people in line now" (like I didn't know that). One of the callers is the corporate office asking me why I haven't done this week's MTM list. The other caller is someone wanting to know what "Refill: 0" means on their bottle.

But it's not a labor issue. It's an efficiency issue.

I hate my job. I hate the company. I hate the people who kept opening more and more pharmacy schools and flooded the market with hundreds of pharmacists who are willing to work for 20-30% less than we made just ten years ago.

As pharmacists we no longer have any control. One bad complaint and you're on a list. A few more check marks on the list and then you're canned and replaced by a new grad willing to work 60-70 hours a week and get paid for 40 hours at a rate less than what we were making ten years ago.

We used to be respected. We had professional jobs. We used to be the most trusted health care professional. 

Not anymore. All we are now are monkeys that work and work and work with no break and no lunch and make tons of money for GoodRx and the PBMs. 

This is the dark ages for pharmacy. We seriously need to band together and do something to save what's left of our careers. 

But it may be too late.


Anonymous said...

I feel you. Healthcare is turning into a joke. Burnin gout/Killing the people who are supposed to: keep you safe/keep you healthy/help you/save you.

How could this turn into anything but a disaster??


Ms. Donna said...

Oh no. When we start losing pharmacists who is going to be the last line for medication errors>

Unknown said...

I am afraid that we no longer safeguarding medications to public with all the staffing cutting. Our profession does not have a united voice and state board does not do anything to help either. Unless there is a Congress person's kid dies as a result of medication then they will have a law to fix it until then we just do what we do. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is why are the salaries so low and the prices of your drugs so high. A couple of weeks ago there was a big protest drive of Americans over to London Ontario (that's in Canada) to buy insulin at 1/10 the price of what it cost in the States. IIRC, i think it cost $35 a vial here, but over $300 in the states.
On a lighter note, we Canadians are wondering how the Brits managed to lose the airports to you in 1776. Should have scrambled some of the fighter jets.

Anonymous said...

I heard similar complaints from my cousin who is a traveling RN. She has been one for 15 years. The last assignments have been for lower pay, longer hours, and more responsibility. If she doesn't accept them they are taken by brand new nursing school graduates, many from foreign countries. It is so bad she is looking for a permanent position and leaving her love of ICU, CCU, and ER care.

Anonymous said...

Unless some of these new "diploma mill" pharmacy schools begin to shut down soon, the profession is doomed. There are way too many pharmacists. Bottom line is shame on the authorities for allowing them to open in the first place.

Anonymous said...

It really is too late to change what is happening. As for a union or guild being of any help -- give up on that, too. The next step coming will be tying your benefits to your production (number of Rx filled) but making it impossible to meet production due to the ridiculous amount of crap they are adding for you to do on top of your already too-busy job. Bye-Bye health insurance. Oh wait, maybe you can be an independent contractor, get paid by the Rx, pay your own employee taxes, buy your own health insurance, AND do all the ridiculous amount of crap they are adding for you to do on top of your already too-busy job for free, because it is, after all, part of the job. MBAs -- you gotta love 'em.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Crazy! We're all depending on you to keep us sane in this crazy profession!

Anonymous said...

What you describe is exactly what happened to the medical transcriptionist profession. Overseas outsourcing and speech recognition drove our wages down below many states' minimum wages. Pay became connected to how many lines of text you could type/edit with 100% accuracy. Nobody cared that the providers were dictating so fast or sloppily that words all ran together and we would have to listen over and over again to make sure we got each word correct (and thus slowed our production and lowered our pay) or chose to dictate their operative reports while speeding down the highway with the tops of their sports cars down and so distracted that they flipflopped their site and side of surgery several times on the same patient, while we fought the sound of howling winds and highway noise to listen and listen again to make sure we caught and blanked each and every discrepancy for the provider to correct before signature. I could go on and on. I really am saddened this has happened to your profession as well. It has become all about the bottom line and I do not see that changing. I hope you will be able to look at parlaying your expertise and experience into a new direction before the stress takes you down.

Karen G said...

Crazy, this is a really awful situation for you and your professional colleagues. It's hard to believe the types and speed of changes to the industry(almost all of which are negative for pharmacists' quality of life and for the patients) in the past several years. Now this. I hope against hope that somehow things get better for you soon.

- A Faithful Reader

Kathy said...

Nurses. In the hospital environment, they have always been the last line.