WHY PHARMACISTS MATTER
I don’t think anyone knows what is going on or what will go on with healthcare in this country. I do know when I attempted to read over the new amended plan for my WGA health insurance everything we have had appears to be slashed. I need an insurance translator to explain it to me, but “out of pocket” and “not covered” seem to be the controlling narrative.
One of the big problems is the refusal of insurance companies to pay for any medications that you don’t order online from their designated clearing -houses.
This is problematic for many reasons. We can start with the demise of neighborhood pharmacist – an American icon and an essential part of our medical eco-system.
Pharmacists are important. You develop relationships with them. They know you, you them, if you have a good one, you trust them. If you stick with the same one, they know what medications you are taking and if you add new ones they can tell you how they will interact. You can get things quickly if needed.
We have gone to the same pharmacists for sixteen years, Mark and Irwin at L and H in New York. L and H may be on Lexington but you could plunk it in Omaha and it would fit in. I could not live without these guys, I mean that. I could live but not as well. They are compassionate; they are great at what they do. People rely on them.
I hate the idea that they could disappear.
I hate getting our meds from Express Scripts. Not only is there no human interaction, they dictate what, when and how much you get.
Often you run out before they deem you need more
The insurance companies punish you if you do not use their online med system. Pills that cost $30.00 with them they will make Irwin and Mark charge us $200.00 for. How is this affordable medicine for all? How is this fair to people who make their livelihood as pharmacists? And how is it fair to the people who rely on them?
In the beginning of the online Express Scripts crapola way of doing things, they said any medication you took on a regular basis they would not pay for unless you used their system, now they want you to get it all online. How is this going to work?
I do get some online, as it is punitively expensive for certain things. But I have also shelled out extra money to keep Irwin and Marty in my life.
Yesterday was an example of how the Express System does not always work at all. Glenn takes a pill for blood pressure, he was running low, too low to get through the week, and we are on another plane headed for LA. Express Scripts was supposed to send them but did not. So, thank God for Irwin and Mark, (I call him Marty and he calls me Trixie) they immediately filled it, I won’t tell you what they had to charge. And they hate doing it. At the same time, I needed a new asthma inhaler. Express Scripts told me they would not send me anymore until the end of December. Who died and told them how much of my inhaler I need?
I went by and picked them up, hung out, we talked about the new system and how much I hate it and the holidays and just the usual stuff we chat about. I paid for my meds and thankfully, I can afford to use them when I need to, and it always feels like money well spent.
But then an hour later I was at my plastic surgeon Jon Turk – for something else. I had him look at a little red spot on my nose that refuses to go away.
He said he thought it might be staph and I needed to go on antibiotics right away, or it could spread all over my face. This was at 4:30. I said call Irwin and Mark at L and H and tell them it’s me an I need it delivered tonight. I knew they would do it and they did.
I got my pills and cream by six and around seven the phone rang. It was Irwin. I think he must have been calling me from home. He said, “You know that other cream you got today, (OK, Retinol for all you inquiring minds), he said “ Tracey, don’t use that until your are through with your antibiotics and your rash goes away.” I mean, I’m sorry, who does that?
Your pharmacist. My pharmacist. Not Express Scripts.
There are places in the world where the click of a mouse and a UPS delivery work just swell and then there are places where we need human interaction, advice, long standing relationships. Places where were are not an online number or another entry in the database: Pharmacies in the perfect world are like Cheers, they are welcoming and everybody knows your name. I so hope they do not go away.